The War in Afghanistan - Tough Decisions Ahead

The war in Afghanistan is now 8 years old and the United States is nowhere in beating the hell out of Al Qaeda. It is a dangerous war where the enemy is every where and has safe sanctuaries in Pakistan. It is thought that Osama Bin Laden is in the Frontier region of Pakistan and perhaps a few people in the Pakistan establishment may even know where he is.

Thus the United Sates is fighting a war with one hand strapped to the back. It does not help that the President has little or no knowledge of military operations. Hence the case of General Stanley McChrystal gets a bit curious.

The general was brought to the Afghan theater a year back to try and finish the Islamic militants. But some how he and the President Obama did not click and the generals penchant for airing his views and opinions against the civilians has landed him in deep soup.

Obama has some hard decisions to take. He has to put a general in charge of Afghanistan who understands the enemy and can fight them at their own game. Generals who talk more and don't deliver must be shown the door.

In addition Obama has the tough decision to take against the sanctuaries in Pakistan. These are the life blood of the Al Qaeda and what Pakistan thinks is its strategic depth against India. This war cannot be won till these havens in Pakistan are destroyed. The various training camps in Punjab and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir have also to be obliterated.

We should not forget that the mighty Soviet army had to bite the dust as the Islamic insurrection fueled from the safe havens of Pakistan with overt United States and Pakistan support made life difficult for the Soviets. There is no change in the situation, only the Soviets have been replaced by the USA. There is no doubt that in their zeal to defeat the Soviets the American at that time thought it fit to support the Moslem insurgent groups like Al Qaeda and Taliban albeit with different names. In real terms it is the raising of the monster Hydra and it will be tough going for the US Army.

The European powers allied with NATO in Afghanistan are already developing cold feet and would like to make an exit as early as possible. Even the UK with 10,000 troops may find it difficult to continue in case the causalities rise and victory is not in sight.

Obama has inherited a legacy of a conflict with a resurgent Islamic militarism. His choices are limited and there is a need a for bold decisions. Will he be up to the task
By Madan G Singh

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