Obama’s plan and its inference on Pakistan

President Obama finally disclosed the long awaited plan by the new US administration in December at the United States Military Academy at west point. President Obama revealed the new war strategy for Afghanistan where the future us Engagements were laid out so that the US can have a successful end to a lengthy and costly war.

On the whole the new plan is narrowed and limited to what the US efforts in future will be in Afghanistan. The main US strategy is to break apart and defeat Al-Qaida through adopting a threefold approach, military, civilian and successful partnership with Pakistan. Under the military strategy the Obama administration

The main US strategy is to break apart and defeat Al-Qaida through adopting a threefold approach,  military: civilian and successful partnership with Pakistan

will  be deploying 30,000 troops in the southern parts of Afghanistan Helmand and Kandahar. These troops will be stationed in Afghanistan for a timeframe of eighteen months after which troop’s withdrawal will begin from July 2011. The troops are sent for improving security situation in Afghanistan, which according to General Mcchrystal has reached beyond havoc. However, it is yet to be seen that to what extent President obama has also asked the north Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies and other countries for their cooperation in fighting xtremists.

President Obama reassured Americans that the plan serves their interest and their sacrifices are worth as they focus on two important issues: The US interests in Afghanistan and region: and the raised cost of resources. Obama wants rebuild a balancing economy, lost due to past wrong Policies. They are not ignoring the additional costs of wars they are involved in. A rough estimate of the new war plan is said to cost $30 billion for just military part this year. On withdrawal part president Obama left the troops withdrawal pronouncement unclear in terms of the total number of troops who would leave and how many would stay and whether the withdrawal pace would be gradual or speedy etc. Obama administration has left some control with Gen. McChrystal over the composition and amount of whatever resources required for implementing new plan. Though, how the huge amount of resources will be used is not revealed yet.

The Obama administration hopes to build transitional grounds with their military efforts to arrive at the civilian stage of strategy. While the set timeframe and “no blank check” without expected deliverance serves the future civilian approach of new plan, which is to push the Afghan government and officials in realizing their responsibilities instead of dully depending on the U.S, who will not fight an endless war. It also raises questions with “what if” that particularly is in the minds of people of Pakistan. Attaining success on the civilian side in Afghanistan seems to be a utopian idea and is too soon to predict mainly within the planned timeframe, especially when the institutional and governmental instability with corrupt framework is known every where!

The new plan also did not reveal on how the US will be handling the civilian ineffectiveness and governmental challenges in Afghanistan. Keeping in mind the past governance, it create doubt about President Karzai and his government’s abilities in handling the pressure and coming up with such policies that could lead towards resolving the problems in Afghanistan. It is also questionable whether Afghan government and sub-national governments could match with those of the US efforts and demands in arriving at the solutions. Therefore, it indicates less concern and commitment and uncertainty on part of the Obama administration towards both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Among the crucial challenges that Afghan civilian officials needs to address is to ensure security and demolish Taliban and Al-Qaida. Although, there have been talks going for reconciliation of Taliban along with the military efforts but what if time limit dampens these efforts. Taliban have also threatened to dismantle peace process if foreign troops fail the leave Afghanistan. Taliban insurgents fired back at US decision of increasing troop’s deployment in Afghanistan with more fierce death. Particularly, when Taliban are aware of the fact that the US will not stay in their country forever, and it is Taliban who will live in Afghanistan once the Us withdraws. They might drag the war and grab the opportunity when it arrives to regain their lost autonomous status. To gain such beneficial positions it is possible that the reconciliated Talibans can rejoin with the extremists in the post US situation for their survival.

Fighting insurgency cannot be achieved in limited time, chiefly when it has spread across the border and

Pakistan needs to have more clarity on the implementation methods of the new US policy. President Obama left the troops withdrawal pronouncement unclear in terms of the total number of troops who would leave and how many would stay and whether the withdrawal pace would be gradual or speedy etc.

in the region. If the US is not in Afghanistan then it will add more pressure and instability on neighboring Pakistan. It is already known that whatever happens in Afghanistan, Pakistan would be affected by it. Therefore, the third factor of Obama’s war strategy to have a committed partnership with Pakistan, which was too narrow in the past, raises agitation among Pakistani’s. Pakistan needs to have more clarity on the implementation methods of the new US policy. With no mention of porous border security and Pakistan’ concerns when more troops will be deployed in the volatile southern parts of Afghanistan, there are apprehensions that it might increase cross-border infiltration of insurgents escaping into Pakistan from Afghanistan.

On the one hand the Obama administration soothes Pakistani Government and society with long effective partnership while on the other it once again delivered the hard stance to Pakistan on providing the alleged safe havens to extremists. The US objectives of cutting down their resources in Afghanistan are for pressurizing and targeting Pakistan. There are doubts among the US administration on Pakistan’s ability to target insurgents and handling the situation at home. The speech left unclear the extent to which their future involvement in Pakistan will be. It is important to understand that how far Pakistan’s security and autonomy will be compromised when the US alleges that Al-Qaida home is Pakistan and not Afghanistan. Just few days after the appraisal of  Pakistan efforts in countering insurgents in Sawat and south Wazirstan by President OBama, it was again asked to do more. These developments are causing anxiety in Pakistan.

The US administration also holds an option of changing the tactics, if by July 2011 they fail to reach their goals. But the question is what those other ways could be? How much pressure and apprehension it will build on Pakistan, especially when the new plan is unclear the policy makers in Pakistan needs to be alert and come up with rational decisions that can check on the possibilities of witnessing more drone attacks in its already vulnerable parts of NWFP and Balochistan. As of now the US has talked bout withdrawing ground troops while marines and its air force with drone attacks remains, which would be more damaging. Steps are needed to stop illegal border crossings to control the future domestic setbacks.

An alarming situation in the post-US Afghanistan could arise for Pakistan in form of increased Indian involvement. This will create more troubles for Pakistan as chance of Karzai administration aligning with India once again would complicate Pakistan-India relations and develop strong foothold of India in Afghnistan. From Afghan soil India can easily continue to create disturbances in Pakistan. These future developments would severely affect the already weakened economy and political instability of Pakistan leading to growing domestic restlessness.So far, the Obama administration’s new war strategy is

And alarming situation the pst-US Afghanistan could arise for Pakistan in the form of increased Indian involvement. This will create more troubles for Pakistan as chances of Karzai administration aligning with India once again would complicate Pakistan-india relations.

Mainly unchanged expect for it has shown clarity on their exit point from Afghanistan. The policy reflects more of a Pakistan policy than an Afghanistan one, as more US engagements in Pakistan are expected. Basically, what the US is hoping, is to have an Iraq like solution of a gradual transition starting from provincial to national level where security control can then be transferred to Afghans and then the US would then be more focused to pursue its agenda in Pakistan.

Asad Gorsi
Braodcast Engineer

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s