The bottom line is clear: Our vital interests in Afghanistan are limited and military victory is not the key to achieving them. On the contrary, waging a lengthy counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan may well do more to aid Taliban recruiting than to dismantle the group, help spread conflict further into Pakistan, unify radical groups that might otherwise be quarreling amongst themselves, threaten the long-term health of the U.S. economy, and prevent the U.S. government from turning its full attention to other pressing problems. -- Afghanistan Study Group

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Update for Saturday, August 29, 2015

I'm just going to focus on one issue today, but it's an important one. Former Afghan secret service chief Amrullah Saleh tells Der Spiegel that the Taliban insurgency is sponsored by Pakistan. Straight up. Here's an excerpt:

The Taliban have a reputation for brutality and mercilessness to defend. Their new leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor wants to prove that he can maintain these capabilities. All the major attacks require enormous military and financial resources. They are planned and executed with the aid of ISI, Pakistan's secret service. The aim of the attacks is to establish Mansoor as the new strong man. The violence is intended to show that the Taliban brand still exists, and the message as the same as before -- that the Taliban is united and powerful. . . .

The Taliban can only continue to fight in this way with help from the ISI [Pakistani equivalent of the CIA]. Mansoor will now be provided with the necessary resources in order to solidify his authority and keep opponents within his own ranks in check.
Meanwhile, there's this:

US President Barack Obama has proposed over $1 billion in civilian and military aid to "strategically important" Pakistan for fighting terror, economic development, safety of nuclear installations and improving ties with India among other objectives.

The budgetary proposals released by the state department after Obama sent them to the Congress show a more than six- fold increase in the foreign military financing (FMF) to Pakistan from $42.2 million in 2014 to $265 million in 2016.

I'll retire to bedlam.


anatta said...

why would the ISI sponser the Afghani Taliban .
I get Paki keeping the TTP Taliban at bay, but I don't see the connection.
Asking - not contradicting here

Cervantes said...

The Pakistani and Afghan Taliban are different organizations. The ISI wants to have influence in Afghanistan, in competition with India. The thinking is that if the Taliban can control sufficient territory and be a real military threat to the Afghan government, they'll have to settle on terms that give the Taliban a major role in govt. and possibly control over substantial areas of the border region; and the Afghan Taliban is essentially a proxy for Pakistan. This may seem silly, but in the context of regional politics it's how the ISI thinks. Don't forget they harbored bin Laden, presumably because they thought al Qaeda could be an asset of some sort.

anatta said...

that isn't "silly" but it's extremely twisted manipulation by the ISI.
So the ISI are actually willing to let the Afghan Taliban thrive - as a geo-political force to go up against India ( the Paki/India rivalry?)

Do you think the Paki civilian gov't feels the same, or is this an ISI adventure?

Cervantes said...

I think the ISI is the real power in Pakistan, in alliance with the military. I don't think the elected govt cuts any ice.