Afghan Peace Process

From Dr Hamid Hussain

My two cents of Afghan peace process.  It is based on my own limited perspective informed by regular travels to the region and interaction with many including Pakistanis, Afghans, Americans, Indians etc.  Many have been kind to candidly share their views and not ‘official’ narrative as well as hopes and aspirations of common people in streets and bazaars that they shared with me.

Hamid

Making Peace with Broken Pieces – Afghan Peace Process

Hamid Hussain

 “There is nothing further here for a warrior.  We drive bargains; old men’s work.  Young men make wars and the virtues of war are the virtues of young men; courage and hope for the future.  Then old men make the peace.  The vices of peace are the vices of old men; mistrust and caution.  It must be so”.   Prince Feisal (Sir Alec Guinness) to T. E. Lawrence (Peter O’Toole) in Lawrence of Arabia.

In the last few months, a new window opened in the seventeen years old war in Afghanistan. There was breakthrough with first serious efforts of direct negotiations between United States (U.S.) and main militant group Taliban.  It was President Donald Trump’s announcement of withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan that got the ball rolling.  He made this decision without consulting any other government agency. Pentagon, intelligence community and State Department view rapid withdrawal as a recipe for disaster.  Trump appointed former U.S. envoy to Afghanistan and an Afghan-American Zalmay Khalilzad nick named Zal to spearhead this effort.  Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar worked as intermediaries and a bridge between Taliban, Pakistan and Americans.

Negotiations between Taliban and Unites States is only one dimension of a complex conflict.  Taliban’s strategy is simple in its execution.  It used its committed cadre of fighters and support structure in Pakistan to escalate violence to a level to achieve two goals.  First to sow enough fear and uncertainty among Afghans that will undermine the efficiency and to some extent legitimacy of the government.  Another objective is to convince fellow Afghans that without giving them a share in power and economic pie, Afghans will never see peace.  Initially, behind the scene, questions were raised by Americans whether Taliban are a unified entity to work with.  Taliban responded by announcing a three days ceasefire during Eid festival.  There were no attacks all over the country proving their point that they have a firm command and control system and all fighters follow the leadership.  When United States announced troop withdrawal plan, Taliban thought that by directly negotiating they will get the credit and fulfill one of their objectives of forcing foreign troop withdrawal.  This will help them to carve out a much larger share in power after American withdrawal. Another factor was intense pressure on Taliban from Pakistan and Arab countries.  Agreeing to direct negotiations with Americans, Taliban placated both parties and if no agreement is reached, they can claim that they entered in negotiations with good faith and put the blame of failure at American doorstep. From U.S. point of view, there is a narrow window of about six months. Domestic troubles of President Trump will take a sharp turn with completion of special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s work.  In addition, presidential campaign will start in the fall of 2019 and these two factors will suck all the oxygen in White House.  Like many other foreign policy issues, Afghanistan will also recede in the background.  

Things are also moving very fast for Taliban.  Transition of an armed group from war to a political process is a challenging period.  Consensus among core leadership, sorting out friction between fighting commanders on the ground and political operatives of the movement and most importantly a convincing message to the foot soldiers about what is the meaning and concrete shape of victory.  Compromise is a completely different animal than total victory.  It is at this junction that armed groups split into factions.  There is some friction among senior members of Taliban leadership on policy issues.  One example will give a glimpse of these Byzantine intrigues.  In December 2018, Taliban shadow governor of Helmand Mullah Abdul Manan Akhund who was a strong opponent of negotiations with U.S. was killed in a drone strike.  Events moved very fast after his demise on the negotiations front that raises the question whether someone from inside tipped the Afghan or American intelligence.  His control of a large share of Helmand’s opium crop and his rivalry with Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhund adds to the confusion surrounding his death.   On the political front, some old hands like Tayyab Agha faded and Sher Muhammad Abbas Stanakzai has emerged as public face of Taliban in negotiations. He is facing his own challenges from political operatives and military commanders of Taliban movement.

Taliban initially agreed to travel to Pakistan to meet Pakistani officials.  However, when Afghan public opinion turned against them accusing Taliban being Pakistan’s proxies, Taliban declined to come to Islamabad citing travel problems. Signature on a piece of paper for American troop withdrawal is the easiest part.  Real landmines on the road to peace are agreement on ceasefire, transition, involvement of Afghan government in the process, buy in from Afghan power brokers and role of neighboring countries especially Pakistan and Iran. Even if this Herculean task is achieved, the real elephant in the room is who is going to subsidize the Afghan state?

Taliban will sign on any document as they think that after the departure of American troops, with dominant military muscle they will dictate their terms on Afghans opposing them. Some even argue that there is no need to negotiate and risk internal division as Americans are going anyway whether there is an agreement or not.  What happens after American withdrawal is anybody’s guess? Even if Taliban decide not to use violence, insistence on Shariat based constitution and restrictions on women and civil liberties now enjoyed by Afghans will bring them in conflict with many groups.  With such deep ideological divisions, instinctive use of violence is the next logical step that will plunge the country into another cycle of fratricide.

Anyone trying to read tea leaves in the muddy waters of Afghanistan has been disappointed time and again.  The issue is not limited to Taliban and United States but there are several regional and international actors who have a vote on this subject.  More importantly Afghan individuals, groups and factions will drive events. Currently, Afghan power brokers are in a state of rapid re-alignment.  Afghan government sees itself as a big loser as so far it has been excluded from the negotiations process.  Zal periodically briefs high Afghan officials on the pace of negotiations but it is not enough to allay their fears.  On the other hand, Russia also kept Afghan government out of the talks it sponsored in Moscow.  President Ashraf Ghani is trying to shore up his position.  On internal front, he has announced convening of a grand assembly of tribal leaders in March and bringing in his inner circle experienced street fighters who served as interior ministers and head of Afghan intelligence agency National Directorate of Security (NDS).  The list includes Hanif Atmar, Amrullah Saleh and Asadulah Khalid.  On external front, he is appealing to the Europeans for support.  However, on both fronts, he is vulnerable.  Tribal leaders will defect to who offers them more money and leave them alone in their tribal fiefdoms.  Europe is facing its own serious problems of Brexit as well as rise of right-wing political parties.  There is no desire to spend European treasure in the black hole of Afghanistan.

Political competition is rapidly evolving into a zero-sum game. One can now see evolution of factions that includes members of current government under President Ashraf Ghani, former President Hamid Karzai and his close confidants, members of old Northern Alliance and regional strongmen.  This gives option of defection to every Afghan player and history of Afghanistan is full of these volte face.  The most damaging effect of this exercise is erosion of nascent and already shaky national instruments of security.  Army, police and intelligence agencies are now riddled with fear, suspicion and mistrust.  Individual members of these organizations will drift towards sub-national identities for survival.

Any future national structure that will emerge after American withdrawal will be on very shaky grounds. The real wild card in this game is young generation of Afghans who grew up after 2001 especially in urban centers with access to information. Eighty four percent of twenty-seven million Afghans are under the age of forty.  Fate of Afghanistan will be determined by this group and time will tell if they organize to a level where they can pull their own elders from the brink of another cycle of civil war or pick a gun and join their respective political, ethnic or sectarian group.

There is lot of euphoria generated by photo sessions of gatherings in Qatar and Moscow.  However, one needs to be realistic and never lose sight of harsh and painful facts on the ground.  If we rewind the clock, we will see that a similar assorted set of Afghans was gathered in Taif; Saudi Arabia and had to be put in a prison for a night to agree to the mundane issue of who would be their spokesperson.  In another round, all were pushed inside the most holy building of their religion;Ka’aba where they swore that they will stop the bloodshed and signed on their most holy book Quran.  When they came back to their homeland, they brought the destruction that surpassed the punishment inflicted by Soviet Union on Afghans.  This is reality, rest is our own imagination.

U.S. is currently spending $42 billion a year in Afghanistan.  Everyone including Taliban are benefiting from this largesse.  Once this tap is closed and American restraints on local and regional players is removed then everybody and his cousin will rush in and I’ll leave it to the imagination what it means? Machiavelli gave us warning about such situations that “in a divided country, when any man thinks himself injured, he applies to the head of his faction, who is obliged to assist him in seeking vengeance if he is to keep up his own reputation and interests, instead of discouraging violence”.

Rivalry between Saudi Arabia and UAE on one and Qatar on the other side also had an impact on Afghan dialogue process. Initially, venue of talks was in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. When Saudi Arabia and later UAE pressured Taliban to also include Afghan government in the process, Taliban deftly used Arab division to its own advantage.  They declined to attend meetings in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.  Qatar quickly filled the gap by arranging meetings in Doha pitching to the Americans that Doha already has Taliban office and not insisting to Taliban to include Afghan government.

United States found it more useful and productive to use Arabs to work on Pakistan rather than attempting old formula of direct incentives and arm twisting. Pakistan is in a very difficult economic situation and therefore more vulnerable diplomatically. An element of self-interest is also involved. They have realized the grave danger of proxy war and its negative fallout for Pakistan with a quick American withdrawal. Now Pakistan is doing everything for free for Americans as they see this exercise as self-interest.  Saudi Arabia and UAE and to a lesser extent Qatar have picked up the tab.

Current civilian government of Prime Minister Imran Khan has ceded foreign policy as well national security to the army.  This is what army brass has been advocating for decades telling the politicians to concentrate on economy and governance and leave the national security and foreign policy to the army.  The prayers of generals have been answered.  Afghan policy and negotiations with Americans are dictated by a general principle accepted by army brass, articulated by late General Muhammad Zia ul Haq and quoted in John Persico’s biography of CIA Director William Casey.   In 1983, Zia told Casey that ‘being a friend of the United States was like living on the banks of a great river.  The soil is wonderfully fertile, but every four or eight years the river changes course, and you may find yourself alone in a desert’.

If Afghanistan is faced with another round of violence, the winds of instability will invariably start to blow east of the Durand Line. This will have significant social, political and economic fallout for Pakistan.  2019 is different than 2001 and Pakistan has certain advantages as well as new vulnerabilities in 2019.  Now, Pakistan army is in control of border area.  Regular army and paramilitary force Frontier Scouts (FS) are manning border posts, control all major population centers as well as roads.  Thanks to American financial support a decade ago, FS is equipped and trained and manning defensible positions.  Army’s decision to fence the border seems now very prudent as it may provide some firewall. On the negative side, army was blindsided by deep anger among tribesmen. Sudden emergence of a grassroots organization Pushtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) gave voice to grievances of not only tribesmen but large number of young Pushtun students and professionals found a voice.  Poor handling by army and some irresponsible statements from some PTM members widened the gulf and now a lot is needed to bridge the gap. In fact, Pushtun youth of both Pakistan and Afghanistan who advocate non-violence can be the bridge of peace between two countries.  Expectations should be modest and a reasonably functioning central Afghan government that allows some economic activity and keeps violence below a certain threshold that it does not affect day to day activities then people should be satisfied with this outcome.

The most clear and present danger is covert wars staged from Afghanistan.  Everyone is angry and blames others for their misfortunes forgetting their own role in the blood-soaked saga of the last four decades.  If everyone succumbs to their basic instincts, then they will see covert operations as a cheap option to address their pressing security concerns.  The possibilities for destruction are endless and can be done very cheaply.  It takes years to build a school or a hospital and train staff with large human and economic investment.  However, you can bring down the whole building in less than five minutes using explosive costing less than $100.  A bullet costing few pennies can take the flame of life from a teacher or a doctor that took two decades of education.

U.S. using Saudi and Emirati connections in the border territory to support Baluch of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran to run covert operations in southern areas of Iran.  Israelis will invariably join this party in view of recent close cooperation with Saudis and Emiratis in security and intelligence fields.  Angry Afghans giving shelter to Pakistani Taliban as well as Baluch militants to pay back Pakistan in its own coin.  Iranians using it as a staging ground to thwart Saudi encroachment in its backyard in Baluchistan.  Russia attempting to create a cordon sanitaire in northern Afghanistan to keep the winds of chaos away from vulnerable Central Asian Republics as well as its soft underbelly in Chechnya and Dagestan.  India preferring to fight the battle inside Afghanistan to prevent establishment of safe havens of Kashmiri militants and avoid the re-run of the bad movie of 1990s.  China’s ill thought policy of mass incarceration of Uighur Muslims and attempts to completely erase their Muslim identity has opened a very fertile soil for trouble.  Uighur orphans can find many step-fathers in the killing fields of Afghanistan that can keep China busy chasing shadows for decades.

If restraint is not shown then in this zero-sum game, everyone will suffer in the long run even of they achieve some temporary success.  Former CIA director Richard Helms quoted in Bob Woodward’s The Secret Wars of CIA very correctly pointed that, “Covert action is like a damn good drug.  It works, but if you take too much of it, it will kill you”.  Everyone engaged in this exercise needs only to care about the welfare of their own people and not doing a favor to the other party.  They will need wisdom of Solomon, patience of Job and mercy of Jesus to change the trajectory of history from violence to peaceful co-existence and need to reflect on Liddelhart’s definition of success, “Victory in the true sense implies that the state of peace, and of one’s people, is better after the war than before”.

‘It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.’   General Robert F. Lee

Hamid Hussain

[email protected]

February 23, 2019

For a good summary of the background to all this, see here:

Dr Hamid also sent the following prelude (the Christine Fair interview is Omar’s idea  don’t blame Dr Hamid for it )

This is a prelude.  Look at these pictures carefully and then watch first few minutes of the video clip link from Lawrence of Arabia.  Close your eyes for few minutes and then read the article that will follow.

“There is nothing further here for a warrior.  We drive bargains; old men’s work.  Young men make wars and the virtues of war are the virtues of young men; courage and hope for the future.  Then old men make the peace.  The vices of peace are the vices of old men; mistrust and caution.  It must be so”.   Prince Feisal (Sir Alec Guinness) to T. E. Lawrence (Peter O’Toole) in Lawrence of Arabia.

Hamid

Sir Alec Guinness delivery of the above quote is masterpiece; watch first few minutes of the clip

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZdLM2ENld8

8 Replies to “Afghan Peace Process”

  1. I hope Iran and Russia get totally involved in Afghanistan like in Syria.

    Ideally it is India which should be sending troops and giving visible military and diplomatic support to the Afghan government. But it does not have the will or wherewithal do do it. Indian dreams of Great Power are pipe dreams when they can’t intervene in Afghanistan in a high profile way. Any Great power worth it’s salt should have no inhibitions in overseas military involvement to protect it’s interests.

    1. VijayVan, Brown Pundits podcast is likely to see several Afghan leaders interviewed. Please assemble any questions you have for them.

      It is strange that almost no press outlets anywhere in the world is willing to seriously interview Afghan MoD, MoI or interact with them. Well Brown Pundits at least, is willing to interview them.

      India has the wherewithal to help Afghanistan win the war. Especially since China, Japan, Turkey, Germany, Italy, France, UK, Canada, Australia, Jordan, UAE are willing help in significant ways.

      If the BJP wins the 2019 elections, India will help a lot more. India’s levers of help move glacially slow. This is a general Indian dysfunction.

      If India sent only two thousand of her best officers and NCOs to teach at the Marshal Fahim National Defense University, and another 500 of her best engineers to maintain, repair and upgrade existing ANSF equipment, that would be enough. India does not even need to send that many. Since many additional Chinese, Jordanian, UAE, Turkish, European, Canadian and Australian personal would likely join India.

      Germany publicly announced an open ended long term large scale commitment to Afghanistan. NATO announced a commitment until 2024. [Both of these announcement unfortunately might be seen by Trump as in defiance of him. Another thing India can help smooth over with Trump.]

      A major push by India (and very importantly India letting China in) would likely be enough to persuade Trump to give the ANSF a clear chance at winning the war.

      Trump is angry that other countries are not contributing enough. Trump doesn’t yet understand the way parts of the US establishment have been sabotaging other countries helping Afghanistan.

      India could also help bring the Russians and Iranians into Afghanistan.

      Trump can’t do it because most Americans already see Trump as Russia’s and Putin’s poodle. But India could do it. And Trump could follow India’s lead without appearing like an American traitor and Putin asset. To give Trump political cover all Russian assistance could flow through Indian command and control. [Although my preference would be that they flow through UN NATO Resolute Force command and control for the convenience of the Afghan Government.]

      India is Israel’s closest and best ally. Russia is Israel’s second closest ally. Germany is Israel’s third closest ally. [The US has become increasingly unreliable from an Israeli perspective.] India, Russia and Germany can convince Israel to back open and direct Iranian assistance to Afghan MoI and/or Afghan MoD. India could also directly assume full responsibility for an Afghan supply line through Iran. All Iranian direct help to Afghanistan could operate through the Indian chain of command.

      Trump could then follow the Indian lead and let Iran in. [Trump is afraid of being called an anti semite.]

      The Chinese have offered a massive training and equipment program for the Afghan National Security Forces under Indian and US command and control for over four years.

      India can publicly and unambiguously embrace the Chinese offer. If India did, then Trump could jaw bone the US establishment into accepting the Chinese offer too. India can give Trump the political cover that Trump needs.

      Another option would be for India to ask Israel to help Afghanistan (through Indian command and control if needed). Afghanistan would likely be deeply grateful for Israeli support and give Israel global legitimacy in the muslim world.

      India has the ability to act globally and decisively. Such action would win India gratitude from the Afghan people. India has no better long term ally than Afghanistan other than maybe Vietnam (which needs to be discussed another time). Indian decisive action would also win India friends in Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Turkey, UAE, Malaysia, Indonesia, and among moderate muslims the world over.

      This action would also win the BJP popular support among Indian muslims. The BJP could phrase this as supporting moderate muslims against Islamists. Let the Afghans, UAE, Jordan, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia work the major Indian muslim organizations and persuade most of them to openly and enthusiastically support this policy. This would also fitted with a BJP policy to support the freedom of art and thought of moderate Indian muslims at home.

      India is a force multiplier. Every dollar of Indian help is likely to be matched by $9 in help from allies. This is why Indian help is so decisive.

  2. Its really surprising as to how much all this “war” stuff overwhelms the public consciousness and how much more does a American/Pakistani person knows about it than an average Indian does. Its so exhausting to worry about a country not your own. I mean i feel even our ex military types have that much knowledge/interest on so many interest groups/ countries/proxies etc. It does keep Afghanistan as sort of in international headlines which it would perhaps have not been on its own “work”.

    I think Indians on average are naive/disinterested in comparison to Pak folks on all these “war games” stuff. Dont know if its a good or a bad thing.

    1. It’s a good thing that India hasn’t gotten sucked into the Afghan mess. The fact that Pakistan got sucked in (or forcefully involved ourselves) has only had negative consequences for the country. But then India doesn’t share a border with Afghanistan and was not going to be impacted by the violence in that country in the same way as Pakistan.

      The quest for “strategic depth” has done more harm than good to Pakistan and only made the Afghans hate us. Proxy wars are not good for anyone.

      1. Kabir, let me quote from what I wrote in a comment below:

        “India trains more Afghan National Security Officers “INSIDE INDIA” than the number of 4 year officers the entire country of Afghanistan trains inside Afghanistan.”

        India could transform the whole momentum of the war in favor of Afghanistan with donations of:
        —D30s
        —Mi35s
        —collaborating with China is a major way (which India is very institutionally resistant to do)
        —upgrading and repairing Afghanistan’s existing fleet of D30s, Mi17s (including any donated by China), Mi35s)
        —sharply expanding the number of officer and NCO training seats coordinated by the Marshal Fahim National Defense University (in close collaboration with China, Turkey, UAE, Jordan, France, UK, Germany, Italy, Canada, Australia, Netherlands, Malaysia, Indonesia)

        Turkey views the Marshal Fahim National Defense University as her own baby (even now all the four year graduates from the Marshal Fahim National Defense University’s NMAA spend part of their training inside Turkey). Turkey helped write the rule of conduct, engagement and doctrine of the Afghan National Army. It is critically important that India fully involve Turkey in everything India does in Afghanistan and properly respect the Turks.

        Turkey is one of the world’s greatest, most powerful, most important and most indispensable nations. Turkey rightly expects to be treated as such.

        Of course India, China, Japan, Europeans (including Turks, Canada, Australia, UAE, Jordan should demand that the US continues to contribute the ANSF in a major way. Especially donating many more:
        —C130 transportation aircraft (and training Afghans on how to maintain them . . . very stupid American regulations have gotten in the way of Afghans getting trained) [Afghanistan has 4, of which only 2 are usually operational. Afghanistan could use 10 operational C130s.]
        —A29 attack fixed wing aircraft (Afghanistan has ordered 26, or and end state of 25 accounting for one that crashed in combat, but could probably use 100)
        —contribute towards the expansion of the number of officer and NCO training seats administered by the Marshal Fahim National Defense University
        —in general help the Afghans wade through an ocean of regulations that gets in the way of Afghans getting trained on US military platforms and prevents Afghanistan from getting advanced US military equipment (that US allies such as Pakistan can easily buy)

        I am sure the irony is not lost on you Kabir. Pakistan–which I am sure you would agree does not like America–is a “US ally” and allowed access to all sorts of advanced US training and weapons. While Afghanistan–which is far more pro American and vastly more committed to fighting Jihadi Islamism–gets very little access to advanced US training and weapons.

        Why do you think this is?

  3. Isn’t an Afghan peace process going on for the past 20 years? Or is it past 200 years? Or is it 2000 years…?

    1. This is an unfair question Scorpian Eater. The Pakistani Army has been trying to destroy Afghanistan for a long time. This is not Afghanistan’s fault. Afghanistan has the sovereign right to be friends with whoever they wish, be that India, Iran, China, Russia, Europe, Turkey, America, Japan or Australia. The Pakistani Army wants to rule Afghanistan through the Afghanistan government.

      The Afghan Peace Process is interpreted by many Afghans as a partial Afghan surrender to Pakistan and allowing Pakistan to partly rule Afghanistan in return for a reduction of violence.

      Many Afghans are okay with this. It depends on what terms of surrender the Pakistani Army offers. Most of the over 45,000 brave Afghan National Security Force heroes who have died in combat over the 51 months ending December 2018 were killed by the Pakistani Army or her proxies. Many Afghans would say that this negotiation is mostly over two things:
      —peace negotiations between Afghanistan and Pakistan
      —intra Afghan negotiations about what Afghanistan should give Pakistan in return for “peace”

      The Quetta Shura in particular is viewed as controlled by the Pakistani Army. For 2.5 years a dead Mullah Omar ruled the Taliban. He gave interviews with the media, released public statements, negotiated with Obama (including negotiating the Bergdahl deal), and maintained command and control over many of the main Taliban militias in Pakistan and Afghanistan [technically he was the world emir and all the global Al Qaeda franchises reported to him through their respective chains of command].

      It turned out that he had been dead. The Pakistani Army had been ruling through a dead man. The new Taliban “chief” Hibatullah Akhundzada was selected by the Pakistani Army.

      ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

      Isn’t is interesting that the main “Taliban” demand in the peace negotiations is dissolving the hated Afghan National Army? This has been Pakistan’s main goal since 2001.

      President Bush opposed a strong Afghan National Army for fear that this would kill the peace process with the Pakistani Army and cause them to retaliate with terrorist attacks around the world.

      Obama continued this policy until November 30, 2009. Then he made a public speech saying that it was now the policy of the UN, NATO and America to strengthen the Afghan National Army.

      In mid 2010 Obama changed his mind; blocking and reversing the McChrystal Petraeus plan to strengthen the Afghan Nation. He felt that without doing this the peace process with Pakistan would not work. He was also afraid of Pakistani retaliation.

      In particular the Pakistani Army has opposed the creation and expansion of the Marshal Fahim National Defense University (formerly called the Afghanistan National Defence University) since 2001.

      The UN NATO forces in Afghanistan [and for that matter Turkey, many European countries, India, and a large faction within the US Department of Defense] consistently pleaded to expand the university to give Afghanistan a real officer and NCO corps. The McChrystal 2009 Counter Insurgency report recommended expanding the number of officers admitted to 4 year academy to 3,000 per year. Currently it is 600 men plus less than 50 woman per year.

      At least Afghanistan “HAS” an officer training program, albeit tiny. Afghanistan’s planned development of the NCO corps was blocked by President Obama [in the cause of “peace”]. The vast majority of Afghan NCOs only get 4 weeks of training. Which is massively insufficient.

      Just to point out how ridiculous this is . . . India trains more Afghan National Security Officers “INSIDE INDIA” than the number of 4 year officers the entire country of Afghanistan trains inside Afghanistan.

      Neither India nor Pakistan would every mass commission uneducated NCOs in their own armies with only 4 weeks of training. [Keep in mind that India and Pakistan recruit high school graduates wheras Afghans recruit people with far, far less education.]

      The entire country of Afghanistan only has less than 100 operational artillery pieces (both Bush and Obama felt that Pakistan would be threatened if Afghanistan had more). All D 30s. The number has fallen over the past dozen years from wear and tear.

      India has more than 600 D-30s sitting in storage unused. China may have more than a 1000 old D30s sitting mostly unused. Plus China very inexpensively manufactures and exports more advanced updated D30s.

      Naturally Bush and Obama felt that India and China donating D30s to the Afghan National Army would provoke the Pakistanis and end the peace process. So that could not be permitted.

      China’s offer of 600 used Mi17 helicopters (the entire Afghan Air Force only has 22 operational Mi17s) was similarly blocked.

      This could easily turn into a 100 page rant. So I will stop.

      It is enough to say that President Bush and President Obama have sabotaged the Afghans and prevented them from militarily winning their war with the Pakistani Army.

      +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

      India has been far too slow to get more involved in 2017 and 2018 when President Trump finally gave India permission.

      To China’s credit China tried to offer to equip and train the Afghanistan Air Force and Afghanistan National Army in 2017 and 2018 in a major way under both American and Indian command and control. But India and the US DoD rejected this Chinese offer.

      I blame PM Modi for this. President Trump would probably have been in favor if it was presented to him properly. But the people around Trump did not want President Trump to seriously consider it. I also blame these people in the Trump administration.

      +++++++++++++++++++++++

      As an interesting aside, all 600 four year National Military Academy of
      Afghanistan male cadets complete part of their course work in Turkey.

      Turkey, India, United Arab Emirates, Jordan all play a major role in the training of the Afghan National Army.

      United Arab Emirates and Jordan play a major role in the training and advising of the Afghan National Army Special Forces.

      Even now Turkey, India, the UAE and Jordan could all be persuaded to significantly increase their involvement in training the ANSF. One of the reasons they don’t is that they are not sure America really wants it; and they are not willing to defy the United States for the Afghans.

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