Pakistan's new government will face either restraining 28 million militant Pashtuns, of which Musharraf as a dictator couldn't do; or restrain roughly 120 million Pakistanis who want democracy. Thus either Afghanistan will continue to be a losing battle, in all probability more so, or Pakistan itself will become a nation in civil war.
We have to leave Afghanistan by 2009.
With President Musharraf barely holding onto his government through military rule, the implications for Afghanistan are dismal for foreign troops. Pakistan was the root for over 50% of military supplies for US troops in Afghanistan.
There is a large tribal group, the Pashtun people; they have no leader, and are heavily decentralized. They are strongly conservative even in comparison with Middle Eastern standards; they obide by a strict code of conduct called the Pastunwali. This tribal group numbers in the 42 million, in Afghanistan out of it's population of 32 million, 14 million are Pashtuns; In Pakistan, of the 150 million, 28 million are Pashtuns.
Taliban is a school of thought that originated and was developed from the Pashtun society. Though all Taliban are Pashtun, not all Pashtuns are Taliban. The problem lies in the Pashtunwali, which declares an attack on any Pashtun is attack on them all. Through the initial conflict was between NATO and the Taliban, it has grown to Pashtuns in the region as well. Pashtuns have flocked from Pakistan as well to join in the fight.
This problem has it's origins in the Durand line which was drawn by the British in 1893 as an attempt to divide the large tribe, it failed. The Durand line was drawn between what is now Afghanistan and Pakistan. From then on, the border has been ignored, and people may cross between Pakistan and Afghanistan without going through any check points.
With NATO in Afghanistan fighting a defensive battle, never being able to stop the flood of Pashtun fighters from Pakistan, I advocated withdraw by 2009. I proposed NATO could stay if it's authority was extended into Pakistan, or if Pakistan cracked down on the militant Pashtuns; however I said that would cause greater conflict as Musharraf had a tenible hold at best.
Now President Musharraf has put Pakistan in a state of emergency. Most have speculated it will be the end for Musharraf as he has lost the United States as an ally. If this is the case, the government that forms will most likely be more democratic, and that will prove to be weak in maintaining and securing the western region the Pashtuns inhabit. If the government that forms is a military-oriented government similar to Musharraf's Pakistan will be in ruins, as the majority of the country is pro-democracy.
Pakistan's new government will face either restraining 28 million militant Pashtuns, of which Musharraf as a dictator couldn't do; or restrain 122 million Pakistanis who want democracy. Thus either Afghanistan will continue to be a losing battle, in all probability more so, or Pakistan itself will become a nation in civil war.
Monday, November 05, 2007