Monday, January 21, 2008

Afghanistan For Dummies: Afghanistan Cannot Be Won

I've written on the status of Afghanistan before, discussing the population distribution, the border, the people, evidence, and Pakistan's role. I argue that due to the Pashtuns, a 40 million tribal group along the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and their support of Taliban and insurgent fighters, NATO, thus Canadian forces are in a defensive position in Afghanistan, as the fighters in Pakistan are continuingly flowing into Afghanistan. And as battles cannot be won defensively, never attacking at the enemies source, or stopping them in one shape or form, the mission in Afghanistan cannot be won.

So the crux of my argument is in two parts. The first is to illustrate that the flow of these fighters and insurgents from Pakistan are supported by the millions of Pashtuns. The second is to illustrate that they come into Afghanistan from Pakistan. Luckily, Peter McKay has done the first part for me:

"Minister of Foreign Affairs The Honourable Peter Mackay told the
Committee:

'While many efforts are being made, there is one reality that can't be denied, and that is that 40 million Pashtuns are estimated to live along the Afghanistan Pakistan border. It is from this tribal group that the Taliban insurgents who are attacking our troops derive most of their support […] Moreover, it is estimated that some 30,000 Pashtuns move, effectively unhindered, back and forth across the Afghanistan border every day.'"

- Page 31 from the CANADIAN FORCES IN AFGHANISTAN, Report of the Standing Committee on National Defence, Chair Rick Casson, MP, JUNE 2007, 39th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

So we have the previous top Conservative Foreign Affairs official in the Canadian government supporting my argument. I take it on this first point, I need no further proof. This does not however by itself prove my argument.

Though I proved the first premise, I have not proved the second. I have yet to show that Pakistan will not attempt to stop this flow of insurgents and their supporters. For if I do, and as I've already shown that the Taliban and insurgents draw their support from a large population, then the mission in Afghanistan is clearly a defensive battle and thus cannot be won.

Now due to recent comments by Stephane Dion, Leader of the Opposition, suggesting just as Peter McKay did, that these fighters are coming from Pakistan; the Pakistan government responded in the following article:

In its statement, the Pakistan government took issue with the suggestion that it has done little to stem the flow of Islamic militants back and forth across its border.

"Pakistan is a peace-loving country and has joined the international community in the war against terrorism as an equal partner. The contribution made by Pakistan in this regard has been recognized throughout the world," the statement said.
So the question isn't even if Pakistan will attempt to stop the flow of insurgents and fighters into Afghanistan, because apparently they already are. Now it doesn't matter why Pakistan is not sealing its border with Afghanistan, it could be from difficulties or just plain not wanting to; what matters is Pakistan is not doing it. Is it because it is too difficult? Well the above statement from Pakistan suggests they are not having any difficulty. And if it is too difficult, NATO could help, however this is not possible; for in the same statement Pakistan said:
"We have, at the highest level, made it clear that Pakistan will not allow any foreign forces to operate within its territory under any circumstances.

"The sovereignty of the state will not be compromised at any level as the government and people of Pakistan are fully capable of handling their security matters themselves."
So at this point I see the second premise of my argument proven. Pakistan is failing to close it's borders. Pakistan has maintained they are doing the job, we know they are not. Pakistan has refused any help, suggesting they can handle it themselves, we know they either can not or not willing to.

I conclude that as the flow of fighters and insurgents come unhindered from Pakistan and are supported by millions of Pashtuns, NATO is fighting a defensive battle and cannot be won.

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