Thursday, May 15, 2008

Replicating Russia's Rout ?

Russian Ambassador to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov says that no mistake committed by the Soviet Union in Afghanistan isn't being repeated by the International Community, and worse, the US and NATO led forces are making mistakes of their own. Kabulov was a young Soviet diplomat in 1977 and is considered an experienced resource on the situation in Afghanistan. He cites 3 major mistakes: Underestimation of the Afghans, perceived superiority over the inferior fighters, and distrust of their abilities to run their own affairs.

Kabulov admits to some satisfaction watching those who backed the mujahideen now suffering the same way, adding that the lack of knowledge of the social and ethnic structure and insufficient understanding of religion and tradition compounds the Alliance's woes. His words are being echoed by Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai, a mujahideen leader who admits to failure after the Soviet pullout but draws parallels with the 1980's war and the current international mission. He said the Russians were beaten because they were transgressors in their country, and opines that the Soviets tried to impose communism then. Today, the so-called democracy is being imposed, and he sees no difference on the ground situation then and now.

NATO commanders were quick to object to these assessments claiming everything was being done to prevent casualties, and that the military was making progress against insurgents. Ambassador Kabulov, who 2 years ago questioned the US on the establishment of a base in Afghanistan if the US claims that the Taleban no longer exists, also credits the Soviets with a working administration during their time, making the efforts more difficult now than it was in the 1980's.

The assessment by the Russian Ambassador comes at the heels of brewing tensions among NATO's Defense Ministers on the operations in Afghanistan. The emergence of divisions stemmed between nations doing much of the fighting (US, Canada, Britain, Netherlands) versus those alliance members with national caveats on their troops location or their ability to take part in combat missions (Germany, France, Italy, Greece, Spain). This was harmonized however, after a few hours over lunch with all ministers dismissing a crisis among themselves.

Ambassador Kabulov may be providing a well informed opinion and some serious thought towards the conduct of the operations in Afghanistan. Or, he could just be sour graping. But his admission of satisfaction at the suffering of the Alliance's soldiers betrays his intent. For a diplomat to express this sentiment reflects a low valuation on human life and regard for peace and order. It shows willingness to sacrifice both and to see its defeat for the sake of political vindication, and to increase the clarity of his pretentious posturing.



The Immortal said...

Ambassador Kabulov may have a political agenda and could be happy at the Alliance's errors, but what he is saying has some truth in it.

America and its NATO Allies are not winning the war in Afghanistan, not by any stretch of John McCain's and George Bush's limited imagination.

The government is a pawn administration of the US-NATO alliance, it cannot stand against those who oppose it without the intervention of the Alliance. America is being duped and it's only the fools who believe that they are anywhere near winning.

Anonymous said...

America, it appears, is incapable of winning a war, much less a war on two fronts. It's compulsion to go to war is indicative of its smugness about its power, capability and weapons. Bin Laden still broadcasts videos and they have not caught up with him. The war on terror is a failure, and the longer America continues, the deeper they will sink politically, militarily, and economically.

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Immortal,

A recent incident about a soldier who used the Koran for target practice nearly created a crisis among the Sunni tribe who have been cooperating with the Alliance in Iraq. This is one Example of Kabulov's statement about inadequate knowledge of religious veneration and tradition in the Middle East.

As far as the Afghanistan War is concerned, troops talking to the civilians in their bullet proof humvies with their guns cocked is not exactly a picture of pleasant civility; and this may have consequences for the battle for hearts and minds in the area. But there have been reports of acceptance by civilians of US military occupation since these provide stability to live normal lives.

There may be truth to what Kabulov says, but there is also some gains made in Afghanistan. How much of each is hard to determine at the moment. :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Anonymous,

Your statement closely resembles those expressed by Barack Obama on his recent counter attack against George Bush and John McCain.

The war on terror has been unpopular worldwide and to my mind didn't accomplish what it was launched for, in addition to the rising costs, casualties and cover-ups initiated because of it. :-) --Durano, done!