The NATO stratagem
The Frontier Post
February 3, 2012
The NATO command in Afghanistan could be excused. After all, over all these years it has fought the Afghan war not on the battlefield but mostly on the airwaves of the embedded western corporate media. And now that the pay time has come, it has nothing spectacular on its slate to show its peoples back home for the enormous treasures they have spent on its upkeep. Throughout, it in fact has only fiddled with its war in Afghanistan, not fought it in reality.
As the US-led invaders, hardly a little over 6,000 under the ISAF command and barely 12,000 under the American command, descended on the Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, the Soviet Afghan war veterans were mirthfully amused at this puny force for as difficult a country as their invaded land and were no lesser stunned by the attackers’ hubris that it reflected so pungently.
The Soviet invaders, some 200,000-strong had come riding on a formidable war machine backed up by powerful air support. As an ally, they had an equally strong Afghan army and air force, both trained and equipped by them lethally. And yet the Soviet invaders had to kiss humiliation of defeat at the end at an indomitable Afghan resistance’s hands. No different was it going to be for the US-led invaders of Afghanistan, had the Soviet veterans predicted then. And their prediction of years ago is now imminently coming true palpably. The Soviet invaders had at least the control of major cities.
The US-led NATO occupiers cannot lay claim even to this much credibly after ten years of their invasion. Lately, they are making so much of the Kandahar "triumph". But the American intelligence community itself in its latest Afghan war assessment terms this "victory" as at best "tenuous". And their once-shrilly-touted Mirjah showcase success of the troop surge has turned out to be such a damp squib that none of them now even talks of it.It is not just that Afghanistan’s south and east are restive, out of the US-led occupiers’ control and under the Taliban’s and other insurgent groups’ sway. Even the rest of the country is under the thumb of former mujahideen commanders, on whose sweet will are dependent both the occupiers and Kabul regime alike, not vice versa.
While Ustad Atta Mohammad Noor is a jealous overlord of the northern Balkh province, its capital city Mazar-i-Sharif and its periphery are held by Uzbek strongman Abdul Rashid Dostum who had fought along the Soviet invaders against the Afghan resistance and now brooks no meddling with his fiefdom. And whereas the western province of Herat is largely Tajik-origin warlord Ismail Khan’s sultanate, the central highlands region of Hazarajat stands parceled out between ethnic Hazara strongmen. By every reckoning, the US-led invaders’ occupation of Afghanistan has been such a huge collapse in every manner that their commanders will have no face to show their peoples if the reality is told in all truthfulness.
The NATO’s Afghan war is no tale of heroic deeds and impressive soldiering, as been brought home by the embedded media to the western publics. It has been a shameful story of its trepidation and spinelessness. And it has been a narrative of the most devious kind of deceit and deception right from the outset. As the ISAF knights were cooling their heels in their Kabul redoubt and the American warriors in their Bagram nestle immovably for years, fattening their bellies with endless pints of beer and rolls of hamburgers, they kept crying that Taliban had fled and settled in safe havens in Pakistan from where they launched attacks on them and Afghan territories.
Neither they themselves explained nor their bosses back home or media or even their people asked them critically why had they not corralled and nabbed the fleeing Taliban rumps in the first place, and if at all they were coming from Pakistan to attack them and the Afghans what were they doing in their nestling places and not moving out to intercept them and decimate them. No questions were they asked and their fictional stories of heroic deeds and brave fighting were lapped up pridefully by their folks back home just like that.
It was years later, in late 2005, that they condescended to move out of their redoubts, amid a lot of reluctance, and wrangling and bickering among themselves, to take on the Taliban and other insurgent groups who had lethally regrouped in their erstwhile strongholds in the Pakhtun-dominated southern and eastern Afghanistan unshakably. Yet so delusional were they all, both the pamper-wearing Tarzans and their folks, that when the British army moved out to the Helmand region, a puffed-up British defence secretary squawked blithely that his men would capture the restive province without firing a shot.
Over six years down the road, the British army is nowhere nearer even distantly that objective. The leaked NATO report of the ISI’s collusion may give some leeway to the NATO armies to delude and beguile their own peoples, greatly perturbed over their disgraceful fall in Afghanistan. But the pulsating ground realities it too would not be able to change, as couldn’t earlier the similarly misleading BBC documentary. For, up against the US-led occupiers are not just Taliban. It is the Pakhtun nationalism that is pitted against them. And this formidable force has now come to be joined in by disgruntled elements of the Afghan minorities.