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India is one of the reasons for the US debacle in Afghanistan

Posted by yourpakistan on February 19, 2010


Pakistan army chief has offered to train the Afghan army. This is part of a list of demands – not all of them made public – that seek to correct a basic American mistake: While courting Pakistan as an ally, Washington secretly empowered India.Until last month, Washington was hoping that India’s relatively cheaper soldiers will come handy where the Europeans won’t, and that a bungled Afghan project could be continued on, well, a leaner budget.

Washington is now in the process of correcting this mistake. And not because of any real change in heart. It’s just that Islamabad is reasserting itself.This has sent alarm bells ringing in New Delhi. And within the pro-Indian media in Washington.Exhibit A: an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Let India Train the Afghan Army, written by Indian analyst Sumit Ganguly on Feb. 14. The op-ed could have been written in the national security adviser’s office in New Delhi. The talking points might as well have originated there.Mr. Ganguly basically begs Washington to consider the Indian army for a role in Afghanistan. Not doing that, he warned, would amount to ‘a grave strategic error’. The op-ed actually ends with these three words.The Indian analyst sounded almost desperate with his pushy sales pitch [Example: India’s army enjoys ‘an optimal “teeth to tail” ratio, specifically trained in counterinsurgency operations’].Unknown Object
But there are genuine reasons why Mr. Ganguly’s idea is a bad one.India is one of the reasons for the US debacle in Afghanistan. Back in 2002, self-styled Indian experts on Pakistan and Afghanistan convinced Washington that India can provide better intelligence on extremist groups than the double-dealing Pakistanis. Washington listened. The Bush White House and Pentagon were more than happy to buy Indian theories on who to deal with inside Afghanistan and how to keep Pakistan at bay.Partly due to this (ill) advice, discredited Afghan warlords were brought on board. Indian intelligence agents were given a lot of space in Afghanistan. New Delhi used this space against Pakistan. Not all of the terrorism inside Pakistan over the past five years is the result of Taliban and al-Qaeda.Indians misled the Americans not just on the ground in Afghanistan but also in the corridors of Washington’s think tanks. Indian experts offered provocative ideas on how Pakistan is ripe for a redrawing of borders along alleged linguistic and ethnic fault lines, a la Iraq. Bush-era Washington listened eagerly as Indian experts promoted the idea of using these fault lines as a negotiating card with Pakistan to secure its cooperation. This is how a separatist insurgency in Pakistan’s Balochistan province was born in 2005.
Needless to say, Indian involvement backfired. Spices are not good in every dish. As the Indian fingerprints became clearer, a feeling grew among Pakistanis that Washington took Pakistan for a ride since 2002. Never before in the half-century of US-Pakistani relations has anti-Americanism been this high in Pakistan. It’s totally unheard of. Now Washington is realizing its mistake and adjusting its Afghan policy accordingly. The United States must not be distracted again. No one in Washington is really enthusiastic about the Pakistani offer to train the Afghan army. You will not see Wall Street Journal publishing an op-ed advocating Pakistan’s viewpoint anytime soon. But this festering anti-Pakistanism in the US media should give way to a new way of looking at Pakistan, America’s demonized ally. Source – Ahmed Quarishi
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