Lessons from Afghan war
Sajjad Shaukat


Faced with a prolonged war against terrorism on global level, its defeat in Afghanistan, showing determination to withdraw forces from that country in wake of financial crisis and other related problems, the United States seeks to fight covert wars in some Islamic countries, which will especially include Pakistan.

Recently, after a long debate, the US debt crisis to avoid the default has been resolved. The solution included $ 2.4 trillion cuts over the next decade and the rise of the $14.3 trillion debt limit. Now, the default seems further away on temporary basis. Financial experts opine that the US would miss payments on its bonds and default, which will result in dire consequences, particularly for America including other countries. US has also ignored the interests of creditors. Besides other most developed countries, the US could be in serious trouble, if China does not extend more loans by buying US treasury securities. America currently owes 800 billion dollars to the China.

Meanwhile, on August 4, the US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned of dire consequences, if the Pentagon is forced to make cuts to its defence budget. Notably, defense spending represents about half of the federal government’s discretionary spending, while the military’s budget has increased by more than 70 percent since 2001. Russian Prime Minister Putin stated on August 2, that the US and its people “are living beyond their means like a parasite.” In fact, America has suffered due to an endless war against terrorism. Since 9/11, the total cost of global war against terrorism is more than 7 trillion dollars.

On July 7, 2011, a writer, David DeGraw wrote, “When Obama launched his re-election propaganda campaign to trick the public…that he intends to end the Af-Pak War, he disclosed that the war on terror has cost $1 trillion over the past decade.” But a recent study by the Eisenhower Research Project revealed that the cost of the war on terror is greater than Obama has claimed.” US was spending $12 billion a month in Iraq and is spending over $10 billion per month in Afghanistan. However, the total cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may exceed $6 trillion—apart from other related expenditures at home and abroad. In this regard, the war on terror is a war against the American people. As President Eisenhower had remarked, “Every dollar spent on war is a dollar not spent on education, food, health care etc.”

It is mentionable that the Muslim militant organisations, fighting against the US-led imperialist powers through ambush rocket attacks and suicide bombers have broken the myth of old model of power. In this respect, most of the western defence analysts have admitted that new brand of Islamic radicalism cannot be eliminated by military forces, equipped with sophisticated weaponry which has badly failed. Since 9/11, various suicide attacks in various countries show that the Muslim activists are giving a greater setback to world economy which protects the interests of the US-led western countries. On the other side, despite various steps taken by the US in connection with the Islamic militants since 9/11 such as heavy aerial bombardment, ground shelling, arrests and detentions—technical intelligence, US intelligence agencies, especially CIA failed in destroying Al Qaeda’s terrorist network in the Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Uzbekistan, Nigeria etc. because American enemy is invisible. It proves that Al Qadea has franchised as a perennial different war in the concerned countries indicates.

Notably, on July 22 this year, Al Qaeda-type, the twin terror-attacks in Oslo which killed 92 persons were arranged by a Norwegian right-wing fundamentalist Christian who called for a Christian war to defend Europe against the threat of Muslim domination. In this respect, Western media pointed out the existence of Christian extremists. It is surprisingly mentionable that while learning no lesson from the flawed policies of the ex-President Bush, President Obama has been acting upon the similar strategy so as to eliminate the Muslim radicals. Setting aside the US defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Obama administration which already continues with its agenda of secret war in Pakistan through bomb blasts, suicide attacks, targeted killings etc. as arranged by the CIA, Indian RAW, and Israeli Mossad collectively, it has planned a covert war against Pakistan which will include Karachi, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where these secret agencies are assisting the insurgents and their agents with money and weapons. The course of drone attacks will further be extended to other regions beyond Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Unveiled on June 29, President Obama’s counterterrorism strategy is focused on what poses the “most direct and significant threat to the US–Al-Qaeda and its affiliates…America’s best offense would not always be deploying large armies abroad, but delivering targeted surgical pressure against these groups.” In this context, a report had confirmed on July 16 that the coming CIA chief Gen. David Petraeus will implement the covert war in Pakistan. Besides similar threats and pressure of the US other high officials, on August 1, Admiral Mike Mullen stated, “Unless they (Pakistan) move against terrorists like the Haqqani network, it could affect relations between Washington and Islamabad.”

As regards the Haqqani network, Pakistan has already made it clear that army is engaged in other tribal areas, so it cannot attack the militants of North Waziristan. The contradictory statements of the US high officials which still continue, shows American duplicity with Islamabad. In this connection, a deliberate campaign regarding the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear assets, location of terrorists’ safe-havens in the country, blame game against Pak Army and its intelligence agency, ISI, cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan keeps on going. While, in the recent past, aerial and ground shelling by the US-supported NATO forces inside Pakistan’s border, cross-border attacks by heavily- armed militants who entered Pakistan from Afghanistan and targetted the infrastructure of our country’s various regions have continued intermittently.

Under the pretext of Talibanisation of Pakistan and unrest in the country, which has collevtively been created by the CIA, RAW and Mossad, US India and Israel have been destabilising Pakistan to ‘denculearise’ the latter. For this purpose, the US seeks to shift Afghan war to Pakistan after the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan. On August 6, NBC TV channel disclosed that the “US has a contingency plan to seize Pakistan’s nuclear weapons…if it fears they are about to fall into the wrong hands.” Knowing the US real intentions, Pakistan’s civil and military leadership has flatly refused to act upon American undue demands. And Islamabad sent home 120 US military trainers. In response, on July 10, America withheld $800 million in military assistance to Pakistan. Islamabad has rejected American pressure to do more against the militancy without bothering for public backlash in wake of the strained relations with Washington. If US continues its covert war in Pakistan and in some other Islamic countries, both Iran and Pakistan might stand together to thwart the US strategic designs. In that worse scenario, a vast region from Pakistan to Somalia and Nigeria to Iraq will further be radicalised, bringing about more terrorism, directed against the Americans. In such adverse circumstances, American worldwide interests are likely to be jeopardised in these countries including whole of the Middle East where the US has already failed in coping with the Islamic militants directly or indirectly—and where anti-American resentment is running high in wake of the violent protests against the pro-American rulers. Besides, instability in Pakistan will also envelop India by which the United States wants to counterbalance a peace-loving country like China.

These negative developments will further reduce the US bargaining leverage on hostile small countries like Iran, North Korea, Venezuela etc. Although at present, other NATO allies supported America for attack on Libya, yet in case of targeting Pakistan, most of the US allies could leave the US war against terrorism, and a greater rift will be created between the US and other NATO members in wake of the competing debt crises, while people of other European states held the US responsible for the global financial crisis. Nonetheless, if after fighting the different war for ten years, America has leant no lesson, its internal problems will give a greater blow to the US economy vis-à-vis other most developed countries, besides making it vulnerable to other external setbacks, ultimately reducing the US role as sole superpower.