Libmonster ID: SE-361
Author(s) of the publication: E. M. RUSAKOV

Author: E. M. RUSAKOV

Looking for a way out of the Afghan impasse, Washington is trying to formulate and implement a new strategy that is somewhat similar to the Iraqi scenario. Its essence is a combination of military and political efforts to gradually transfer the burden of the war against the insurgent Taliban to the central government of Afghanistan.

The implementation of the new strategy of the United States and its allies in Afghanistan faces great difficulties associated not only with a difficult war with an experienced, cruel and fanatical enemy, but also with a difficult internal political situation.

The new program of Washington and the problems of the current Kabul government are discussed in the articles of Ph. D. E. M. Rusakov and S. Poya.

E. M. RUSAKOV

Candidate of Historical Sciences

KeywordsAfghanistannew US strategyMarjaKandahar

Speaking at the West Point Military Academy on December 1, 2009, US President Barack Obama identified three key words for a new strategy for Afghanistan: military efforts, including an increase in the US contingent of troops and especially the Afghan army and police; ensuring more effective civilian governance and an effective partnership with Pakistan.

This strategy was embodied, on the one hand, in the decision to send additional military reinforcements of 30 thousand American troops to the eastern and southern regions of Afghanistan, and on the other, in measures to strengthen the Kabul government and attempts to split the armed opposition, luring the "moderate" Taliban to the side of the central government. An important aspect of the new strategy was to involve Pakistan in an active armed crackdown on the Pakistani Taliban and the safe havens of al-Qaeda and the Afghan armed opposition in the Tribal Zone on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

BREAK, PASS, AND LEAVE

Obama acknowledged that in the past few years, the Taliban (DT), in an effort to overthrow the Afghan government with al-Qaeda, has gradually expanded the territories under its control, as well as increased terrorist attacks in Pakistan: "Although there is no immediate threat of overthrowing the government, The Taliban is gaining strength, and al-Qaeda is maintaining its safe havens near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border."

Noting that the additional troops will provide an opportunity to "seize the initiative and strengthen the capacity of Afghanistan to begin a responsible withdrawal of American troops from the country," the head of the White House promised that such a withdrawal will begin in July 2011 " taking into account the development of the situation, as is being done in Iraq." The goal is to convey to the Afghan government and people that "ultimately, they will be responsible for their country."

Obama supported Kabul's efforts to recruit Taliban fighters who "renounce violence and respect the rights of their fellow citizens."1


* The published article, as well as the articles by S. Poya " The problem with many unknowns "(No. 8) and B. V. Dolgov "The Islamist Challenge in the Maghreb countries" (No. 6) in the journal "Asia and Africa Today" (2010), was prepared with the assistance of the Russian Humanities Research Foundation. Project " The Globalizing Middle East and Russia's New Role in the Middle East Peace Process after the Caucasus Crisis "(N 09 - 03 - 00711 a / p).

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In March 2010, at a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Army General David Petraeus, then commander of the US Central Command, said that the timing set by the head of the White House for the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan means that then it will not be a "general flight", but "a process of deliberate reduction of troops taking into account the current situation"2. Before the withdrawal, it is planned to suppress the main centers of resistance of the Taliban, and transfer the territories whose security is ensured to the control of the local army and police.

Both the Americans and their allies emphasize that the immediate task of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, the backbone of which consists of American and NATO troops, is to break the Taliban and create a combat - ready government army, and the reintegration of the wavering Taliban is a kind of auxiliary operation.

When the Obama administration came to power, there were only 32,000 American services3 in Afghanistan, but in the spring of 2009, their number increased to 68,000 people4, and together with the additional American contingent (30 thousand), it will reach almost 100 thousand. This is almost 3 times more than before the current US president came to power.

According to rough ISAF data (figures change daily), by April 2010, there were 62415 Americans in their ranks. The number of other foreign troops, which amounted to 40139 people, 5 will increase by another 9 thousand 6, i.e. to about 49 thousand.

Thus, the contingent of the coalition forces will increase to about 150 thousand military personnel, i.e. it will increase by more than 2 times.

Obama's new strategy in Afghanistan clearly reflects the conceptual differences in the approach of American Democrats and right-wing Republicans to foreign policy. While both parties do not give up the" leading role " of the United States, especially in military affairs, the former prefer so-called multilateral diplomacy with an emphasis on partnership with allies and local authorities, as well as with the UN, and conservatives like to act in the spirit of "unilateral diplomacy", without bothering to "clack" with anyone. neither was. Which they did in Iraq until it became clear that the US was at an impasse. Bush had to resign the most notorious figures, such as the elderly head of the Pentagon, D. Rumsfeld, and the US Deputy Secretary of State, the UN-hating J. Trump. Bolton.

In the preface to the national security strategy unveiled in May 2010, Obama emphasized that in dealing with the threats of the beginning of this century, "America cannot bear the burden on its own shoulders alone." 7

The document notes that the United States should, along with strengthening traditional alliances, " create deeper and more effective partnerships with other key centers of influence - China, India, and Russia, as well as with growing powers such as Brazil, South Africa, and Indonesia."8

THE "GOOD" OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

Almost immediately after the West Point speech of the head of the White House, a bargain began between Washington and Kabul, resembling the division of the skin of an unkilled bear.

Speaking at a joint press conference with US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in Kabul on December 8, 2009, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, in response to the White House's plans to gradually transfer responsibility for the security of his country to the Afghans, put forward a counter-proposal to provide training and equipment for the Afghan army, as well as to take it on maintenance for the coming 15-20 years, because Afghanistan does not have its own resources for this purpose. He promised that the Afghan national security forces will take control of key areas in the next 2 years, as they are doing in Kabul, "in the hope that within 5 years it will be possible to ensure security throughout Afghanistan." 9

The Pentagon chief responded to Karzai's call for an international coalition, primarily the United States, by promising to continue combat operations and provide financial and other assistance to the Afghan security forces.

But he placed the emphasis in a different way, not binding himself to the timing of the transfer of responsibility for maintaining security to the Afghan side and emphasizing the gradual and rather high dynamics of this process. At the same time, it is planned to conduct military operations of the coalition forces together as the Afghan army strengthens, and then transfer the main burden of combat operations to the Afghans, leaving the coalition forces with a "supporting" role: "This is very similar to the scenario of our actions in Iraq, and we would like to implement it here, and the sooner the better." 10.

The new strategy of the US administration was further developed and supported by the international community at the conference on Afghanistan held in London on January 28, 2010, which was attended by foreign ministers from more than 60 countries, including Russia and China, as well as the then Prime Minister of the United States, H. Brown, and the President of Afghanistan, H. Karzai.

The Conference supported the gradual transfer of responsibility for ensuring security in Afghanistan to local authorities, so that within the next 3 years the Afghan National Security Forces (NSSA) will assume a leading role in most operations, and within 5 years - full responsibility for ensuring security in the country.

It was planned to begin the process of transferring the main burden of the war with the Taliban to the NSA, with the" supporting role " of coalition forces, in late 2010 and early 2011. For its part, the international community has expressed its readiness to help strengthen the combat capability and increase the size of the Afghan National Army (AHA) to 171.6 thousand troops by October 2011, and the Afghan National Police to 134 thousand people.11 In order to increase combat capability

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It is planned to send an additional contingent of military instructors from among experienced officers of the US army and some other NATO countries to the Afghan security forces.

Karzai said that training and equipping the Afghan army and police will take 5-10 years, and the government will need funds for their maintenance for 10-15 years.12

The conference participants decided to provide additional economic assistance to Afghanistan in the amount of $1.6 billion, thus increasing its total volume to $11 billion. They also intend to assist the Afghan Government in developing a roadmap for the country's new economic development plan. It will focus on accelerating progress in agriculture, developing human resources and infrastructure through capacity-building and structural reforms. The international community aims to train 12,000 local civil servants in key positions in provincial and county governments by the end of 201113.

In April 2010, at an informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers, criteria were developed for the transfer of responsibility for ensuring security in a number of provinces in the north and west to the Afghan authorities as early as November 2010. They provide for a qualified local police force, a stable civilian government, and "signs" of reconciliation with the Taliban.14

THE PROCESS STARTED, BUT...

In the 1990s, the most zealous neoconservative "hawks "like the aforementioned Bolton poured a lot of dirt on the UN and its peacekeeping and peace enforcement operations, and especially on post - conflict"state building". But after the occupation of Iraq in 2003, the Bush administration ultimately had no choice but to take it seriously. However, having learned from the bitter experience of the Balkan wars and especially the death of American special forces in Mogadishu in October 1993, the Pentagon, using a certain autonomy in combat training, has not missed this stage of conflict resolution in the framework of the "anti-insurgency strategy"since the 90s.

According to the classical canons of the UN and the conflictological theory, "state-building" occurs at the last, final stage of the conflict after political settlement or successful "peace enforcement".

In today's Afghanistan, everything is mixed up, including the sequence of stages of "coercion".

After defeating the Taliban in 2001, coalition forces, with the help of the international community, managed to form an interim Afghan government fairly quickly, and then hold elections and elect a legitimate president, which was Karzai. But it and its representatives on the ground were largely responsible for the aggravation of internal political instability.

American " Afghans "and politicians now often complain that the coup in 1978 (the April Revolution) and the" Soviet occupation " destroyed the country's state institutions. But one gets the impression that corruption in Afghanistan on such a scale as it reached under the current government did not exist either before the coup d'etat of 1978, or after it, when the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan was in power, especially under the incorruptible and competent leader Najibullah, or under the Mujahideen who seized power in 1992, or under the government of the United States. the Taliban movement that overthrew them.

This is not only and not so much about bribery, but about merging with the criminal world and the drug mafia, about arbitrariness, murder, etc.And people preferred the "motorcycle justice" of the Taliban and the absence of schools and hospitals to complete impunity of the official authorities.

US General Stanley McChrystal, commander of ISAF until his recent ouster, described corruption as a "deadly cancer" that "seems to pose an even greater threat than armed insurgency, although it is more relevant, more obvious... Ultimately, it is up to the Afghans themselves to root out corruption... But we must help them. " 15

Brigadier General Larry Nicholson, commander of the 2nd U.S. Marine Expeditionary Brigade, which together with the Afghans drove the Taliban out of the Marja region, bluntly stated that the local population threw out the rotten local apparatus of the Kabul government a few years ago and voluntarily sided with the Taliban.16

The "liberators", especially representatives of the Kabul government, were met very unfriendly by many residents of Marja. Without concealing their affiliation with the Taliban or even their leaders, they pointed the finger at those officials whose unflattering actions had turned the local population to the other side of the barricades.

In other words, in a number of areas, the decisive factor in strengthening the Taliban was not terror, not zapu-

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So, not "late-night letters" to people who are seen in some contacts with representatives of the government or coalition forces, but indignation at the policy of the authorities.

According to General Nicholson, now his subordinates have to convince the local population that the current Kabul government has broken with the "shameful past" and intends to become a "white and fluffy", honest and fair "servant of the people": "We all understood from the very beginning that the main thing in a counter - insurgency operation is the people who are responsible for it. a choice has to be made. Every day we compete with the Taliban for the trust and support of the population... As important as tactical operations are, physical displacement of the Taliban is very modest compared to psychological displacement. " 17

An applied version of Obama's new policy in Afghanistan is a new political and military tactic, which sets 3 tasks: "clean up, gain a foothold, restore". I.e., at the first stage - "clear" settlements from militants, at the second-hold these cities, "gain a foothold", and, finally, help the Afghan authorities "restore " their functioning, establish normal governance and development in order to ensure the loyalty of the population to the Kabul Government.

U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Political Affairs Michelle Flornoy noted that, in addition to increasing the number of American troops, the situation is being corrected by changing tactics to reduce civilian casualties, strengthening partnerships to strengthen the NSA, and increasing the use of civilian means to solve economic and political problems on the ground18.

McChrystal issued an order that military personnel should focus on "protecting civilians" from the Taliban and from their own mistakes, fire fewer live shots and more warning shots, "fraternize" not only with" comrades in arms " from the AHA and the police, but also go to the "people".

Already at the stage of "holding" under their control, the military personnel of the coalition forces also have to engage in "state-building", helping the Kabul authorities and provincial reconstruction teams under the coalition forces to create anew and in an improved version the institutions of state power on the ground.

Bearing in mind that the head of the Pentagon often complains about the "creeping militarization of US foreign policy," Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, even publicly complained that American soft power agencies, in particular the US State Department, do not keep up with the military in the civilian phase of operations.19

Assessing the situation in Afghanistan at a press briefing in late April 2010, senior Pentagon officials, who wished to remain anonymous, noted that the growth of the Taliban's influence had been stopped, but it was premature to say that the initiative had been seized. The situation is in an unstable equilibrium and can swing in any direction 20.

HELMAND PROVING GROUND AND KANDAHAR TOUCHSTONE

Moshtarak , the first military operation under the new strategy for Afghanistan, took place in February 2010 in the Marja district of Nad Ali District in southern Helmand province. It was the largest operation since the 2001 ousting of the Taliban by coalition forces in Afghanistan and the largest joint operation between the coalition and Afghan forces.

What was the scale of Operation Moshtarak?

In the number of forces involved. However, it was quite modest: although the foreign media flashed figures of 14-15 thousand foreign and Afghan servicemen, in fact they were 3 times less. According to General Nicholson, 2.5 thousand Marines, army units (400 military personnel) and US army aviation units (helicopters) participated directly in the operation in Marja. AHA soldiers and officers, as well as 600 Afghan police 21.

The Marja district, which has been dominated by the Taliban and drug lords for years , is a kind of symbol of the long-term impotence of the coalition forces and the NSA.

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It is located about 40 km southwest of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province. Although the area is quite extensive (200 square kilometers), it is sparsely populated (less than 50 thousand people), and its current dusty center (either a village, a small town, or a central estate) under the same name is mud houses, a bazaar, shops and a mosque.

The eastern bazaar in this semi-village, which became the largest population center in the country under the control of the DT, served as a command post for the Taliban and a nest of drug lords and international drug cartels.22 The Taliban appointed their own "mayor", established a court and a tax agency that collected tribute from numerous heroin production enterprises.

According to the UN, it is a little-noticed place with its surroundings - the world's largest producer and supplier of opium poppies and heroin to the world market, as well as one of the most important sources of funding for the Taliban.

In April 2008, US Marines attacked a bazaar in Garmser, south of Margi, which was then the main hotbed of militants and drug lords, shot down about four dozen rioters and seized 92 tons of opium poppies. And ... left.

The militants, who were still nomadic half a century ago, loaded their trucks with weapons and bags of leftover drugs and safely moved to the Loi Charahi bazaar in the Marjina district. In May 2009, British troops, together with the Afghan army, smoked them out of this bazaar, the command post ... gone again.

And the caravan of militants and drug dealers again moved to another bazaar nearby, which became their new haven and the main object of operation Moshtparak23.

The 30-day combat operation began on the night of February 13. One of its distinctive features was the massive use of transport helicopters to transfer troops and capture key points, while attack helicopters provided air cover for landings.

The Taliban resorted to a favorite tactic, avoiding a head-on clash with large forces. The main detachments left again, leaving ambushes and other pockets of resistance of small groups of militants and stuffing a huge number of improvised mines and other explosive devices, traps on the roads and in Marja itself. In essence, the Taliban fought rearguard battles, covering the withdrawal of the main forces.

In the first 3 days, there were 34 clashes, mostly small skirmishes with skirmishes, then they subsided, and after a little over 10 days they almost completely disappeared. The militants disappeared among the local population. Casualties on both sides were estimated at dozens of people.

This is the" stronghold " of the Taliban and drug lords that the coalition forces could not overcome for years. And since this is the most "grandiose" combat operation since 2001, it raises the sacramental question of what ISAF has been doing so far.

Were they protecting themselves and the Afghan government in Kabul? And at the same time, billions of dollars of international aid, which was stolen without a twinge of conscience? Why did this "stronghold" last so long? Local residents were left wondering: "Why can't you take control of Marja?"

The question is, of course, rhetorical. The US military cites a lack of forces. And there is a great deal of truth in this.

In the end, it all came down to the" dizziness of success " that clouded the heads of the top administration of J. Bush-son. After accepting at face value an easy victory over the Taliban in Afghanistan with the help of the Northern Alliance in 2001, under the pretext of fighting "international terrorism", it decided to settle scores with Saddam Hussein and take the keys to the world's richest oil storehouse in the Persian Gulf (except Saudi Arabia).

Again, as after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1988, the country has largely fallen out of Washington's sight.

In the 1990s, Americans turned a blind eye even to how their closest ally, Islamabad, nurtured the Taliban movement with the help of numerous parties and organizations of Pakistani Islamist extremists.

And no matter which side of the Afghan-Pakistani border bin Laden is currently on, they have become and remain his closest associates, sometimes even surpassing him in some ways. The Pakistani trail can be traced back to most of the terrorist attacks committed by Al-Qaeda and its associates around the world, including in the United States itself, from the 90s to the attempted terrorist attack in the very center of Broadway in May 2010 (terrorist F. B. Smith). Shahzad was trained in a camp in North Waziristan in the Tribal Area*). According to UK government figures, 70% of terrorist attacks carried out worldwide over the past decade were planned in Pakistan24. It is significant that the trail of the Afghan Taliban outside Afghanistan and, to some extent, Pakistan is not traced.

In recent years, there has been a cat-and-mouse game in Afghanistan between coalition forces and the Taliban. The former "liberated" a particular area, but as soon as the" winners " left, the latter again took control of it.

In Marja, as in many other areas temporarily cleared of the Taliban, the Americans also had to convince the local population that they would not leave until security was provided with the help of the Afghan army and police. However, in April-May 2010, the militants reappeared in Marja, intimidating and killing local residents they did not like at night.

According to Florna, the ISAF-NSBA partnership in Marja is "the first large-scale attempt to fundamentally change the nature of cooperation and a testament to the changes that the new strategy has made. The preparation for the Helmand operation involved an unusually high level of civil-military planning and cooperation with


* For more information about the Tribal Zone, see: Panichkin Yu. N. Restless Border / / Asia and Africa Today, 2010, N 3.

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with Afghan partners at all levels "" 25.

During the operation, titanic efforts were made to advertise the role of the Afghan army in combat operations. The code name of the operation itself is symbolic - Moshtarak ("Together"). However, the symbolism is ambiguous: this word is from Dari-the language of the northern Tajiks, not the Southern Pashtuns. But it reflects reality: while" together " is obtained with the Northerners, and with the Pashtuns-not very.

There were reports that almost the leading role in the operation was played by the Afghan army, and parts of the coalition mainly performed the function of supporting the armed forces of Afghanistan.

A more restrained assessment of the nature of the interaction was given by Marine Commander Nicholson. He called it "affiliate". But he stressed that if during the operation in July 2009 in the area of Gireshk north of Lashkar Gah there were 10 Marines for every Afghan soldier, then after the capture of Margi, this ratio became 1: 3, along with an increase in the combat capability of the Afghans. Now the general inspires his dumbfounded subordinates: "We are not able to win this war... but we can help the Afghans win. " 26

At least, the American military leaders clearly outlined a course for the most active involvement of the Afghan security forces in combat operations against the Taliban and in maintaining order in the liberated areas. In Marja, the Afghans were assigned such an important and painful element of the "clean-up" as the search of houses and other objects.

Most attention was paid to the political aspects of the operation. Even before it began, contacts were established with elders and tribal leaders. It was announced in advance, partly to exert psychological pressure, partly to persuade the civilian population to leave the center of Margi, or at least not to leave their homes during the fighting.

The US military continues to try to establish relations with tribal authorities, including involving tribal militias in the Afghan police on their recommendation. They even began to communicate with local mullahs, trying to gain their trust. It should be noted that the possibilities of using this tactic by Soviet troops in Afghanistan were limited due to the" socialist " nature of the then Kabul regime. And how could it be done by advisers from among the party workers?!

According to McChrystal, Helmand will become a model, a "basic model" for further operations, including in the longest and largest - in the neighboring province of Kandahar.

The operation in Marja has raised hopes among Americans that an additional 30,000 soldiers and officers will help "clear and hold" Taliban-controlled areas by Obama's mid-2011 deadline. By then, the ratio of forces will be such that for each coalition soldier there will be 2 Afghan soldiers and policemen. And the coalition is going to support the Afghan allies with firepower, minimizing its participation in the fighting.

General Petraeus in March 2010, at a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, said that the operation in Helmand province is only the beginning of a major campaign to retake Afghanistan from terrorists: "This campaign will last 18 months, and it will be hard before it gets easier. It is unlikely that we will see the kind of fighting that we saw at the height of the Iraq campaign, but 2010 will be a challenging year. " 27

Central to this campaign is Kandahar, the second largest city in Afghanistan and the capital of the province of the same name.

Kandahar has always occupied a special place in the combat reports of the Soviet troops in Afghanistan as a snake's nest. This" spiritual fiefdom " of the Afghan Taliban was their headquarters until 2001.

The situation in the city is even more complicated than in Marja.

It is a patchwork where even the outskirts can be in the hands of the Taliban, and the city itself is more or less under the control of the government and coalition forces.

The operation in Kandahar began, as in Marja, with a preparatory civil phase that includes both negotiations and "State-building", i.e. attempts to "revitalize" and strengthen the remaining government authorities. We have to build bridges both to local tribal leaders and to the influential head of the provincial legislative assembly, the brother of Afghan President Ahmad Wali Karzai, who represents the interests of the powerful Kandahari clan.

In addition, the US military conducts targeted operations by special forces to eliminate Taliban leaders and collect intelligence.

According to the latest data, the most active military phase has been postponed to autumn.

WASHINGTON UPDATES

The US military's" amateur efforts " to establish contact with tribal leaders and elders, and even direct financial flows directly to them, have been met with hostility by the Kabul Government and its representatives on the ground.

Karzai's visit to Washington in mid-May 2010 helped to more or less smooth out tensions on this and a number of other issues and introduce some significant clarifications in the implementation of the new US program for Afghanistan.

It seems that, at least at the level of promises, an agreement has been reached on the timing of the transfer of control and responsibility for ensuring security throughout the country to the Afghan government no later than 2014. Moreover, Karzai said that even then the country's army and police will be maintained at its own expense.

Now the number of AHA has increased to 120 thousand military personnel, within 3 years, together with the police, it will reach the level of 300-350 thousand. For their part, the Americans intend to prepare by the end of 2010 an updated declaration on the long-term strategic partnership between the two countries, which, according to Obama, will remain for a long time, yes-

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as soon as both he and Karzai step down from the presidency 28. In short, from now on, Washington will not abandon Afghanistan to its fate after the withdrawal of its troops.

New emphasis has also been placed on the Kandahar operation.

In an effort to reassure Kandahar residents who fear more civilian casualties during the planned major military operation, Karzai even called it a "process", promising to personally participate in it: "This process means improving public administration in Kandahar and its surrounding areas, attracting more efficient resources, more active and energetic intelligence, and only after that then, when and where it is necessary and in coordination with the local community, - military operations... There is no front line in this area. Here the enemy is terrorism, murder. Rather, it is not a physical, but a psychological presence of terrorists and the Taliban.

And Mrs. Clinton stressed :" First of all, people need to understand that this is not Marja... In Marj, the Taliban held power... and Kandahar was a large, vibrant city... But there are pockets of rebels committing various violent acts... They can't take power in Kandahar, but they intimidate people... It won't be a big, massive campaign. These will be pinpoint strikes... We learned a lot in Iraq. " 29

Adjustments to the Kandahar "process" can also be made by the Taliban. Usually avoiding direct clashes with large coalition forces, May 19, 2010 they carried out a daring raid, accompanied by rocket fire, on one of the largest US military installations in Afghanistan - Bagram air base. Now the US military does not rule out that the DT may get involved in a real bloody battle in Kandahar.

ARE THERE ANY CHANCES OF SUCCESS?

Implementing the strategy outlined by the White House is a very difficult task. But perhaps not hopeless.

Recall that after the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan in 1988, Najibullah held out for almost 4 more years, and the last six months without any support from Moscow. Although not only the Mujahideen turned against him, but also almost the entire world - Muslim states, the United States and NATO, and China. Pakistan has played a particularly destructive role, engaging in subversive activities using the almost open border with Afghanistan in the Tribal Area.

Recall how most experts, including many American ones, predicted that the Americans would get bogged down in Iraq, and the country would collapse. Nevertheless, at least life in Iraq is improving, foreign companies, including Russian ones, have begun to develop the country's oil wealth, and foreign troops are being withdrawn. In a speech at West Point Academy, Obama recalled his decision to withdraw combat troops from Iraq by the end of the summer of 2011, and all other units by the end of 2011.

Many American experts note that the current US administration is focused on the main terrorist enemy - Al-Qaeda. In this way, the current head of the White House differs from the neoconservative Bush administration, which included in the list of international terrorists all those who were particularly disliked by it, from Hamas and Hezbollah to Saddam Hussein and other representatives of the notorious "axis of evil".

Obama bluntly said that the war in Iraq diverted attention and resources from al-Qaeda, and "the situation in Afghanistan worsened" because there were only 32,000 American troops there. He stressed that US security "is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is the epicenter of violent extremism practiced by al-Qaeda.

It is from there that the 9 September 2001 attack was carried out, and it is there that new attacks are being planned. " 30

The tactic of transferring the main burden of combat operations to the Afghans was quite successfully applied by the Soviet troops, since 1985 They switched from active combat operations mainly to supporting the actions of the Afghan troops with Soviet aviation, artillery and sapper units. Soviet military personnel were mainly stationed in large cities and bases serving as strongholds. At the same time, the Mujahideen were incomparably more numerous than the Taliban, not counting their active large-scale foreign support.

Another important factor. Unlike in Soviet times, Washington not only denied Pakistan the ability to interfere in Afghanistan on a large - scale scale, but also forced it to fight against Pakistani extremists-the "fifth column" that provided comprehensive assistance to the Afghan Taliban, and now has become the main ally of Al-Qaeda. In connection, in particular, with the attempted terrorist attack on Times Square, the United States has increased pressure on Pakistan to conduct a military operation against the Pakistani Taliban in North Waziristan. This was discussed during McChrystal's meeting with the Commander of the Pakistan Army A. P. Kayani in May 2010 31

Finally, it is necessary to clarify the common thesis with references to "history "( usually referred to by politicians who do not know much about history themselves) that the freedom-loving Afghan people cannot be "conquered". This thesis is popular among Afghan and non-Afghan scholars. The Taliban also remembered him, rejecting Obama's new program. "Throughout the history of Afghanistan, the Afghans have not been conquered by deception, cunning, force, increased troops, or the military might of foreigners. And so the direction of additional reinforcements of American troops and others is so-

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political changes will not affect the current situation, "the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan said in a statement.32

This is true, but not the whole truth. You can't" conquer " it, but you can negotiate. In the end, even the British in the late XIX-early XX centuries. it was possible to somehow settle relations with the most recalcitrant Pashtuns in the Tribal Area, giving them self-government. Moreover, for 40 years (1879-1919), a certain British control over Afghanistan's foreign policy was maintained. 33 Of course, now we are not talking about "control", but the international community can influence not only the central government in Kabul, but also other political forces, including in the provinces.

In general, the new US strategy and the international community's efforts to resolve the situation in Afghanistan seem quite logical.

But, as always, from plans to their implementation - the distance is huge. And the main factor is time. So, retired American General McCaffrey, believes that to create conditions for the withdrawal of American troops, "building" a capable Afghan state with its own security forces-it will take from 3 to 10 years, $300 billion. and thousands of American service members ' lives 34.

A sensational statement was made by the director of the Afghan Intelligence Service, Amrullah Saleh, who was dismissed for "negligence" in connection with the attack on the Loya Jirga of Peace and Reconciliation in early June 2010. According to him, Karzai lost faith in the ability of the Americans to defeat the Taliban and, under the flag of reconciliation, entered into a backroom bargain with their irreconcilable elite, also counting on a deal with Pakistan.35

We can add that all the efforts of the coalition forces can be negated by the cancer of corruption, which, like the mafia, is "immortal".

The situation was further complicated by the scandal with the architect of the military strategy in Afghanistan, McChrystal, who was removed from his post by Obama on June 23, 2010, in connection with the general's unflattering remarks about the White House, expressed in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine. The new Commander of ISAF was appointed Commander of the US Central Command, D Petraeus. Although Petraeus is superior to McChrystal in many ways, such as his standing in the U.S. Congress, changing horses at a ferry is risky.

It will be discussed in the next article.


1 Official website of the White House. The White House Press Office. December 01, 2009. Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation on the Way Forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Eisenhower Hall Theatre, United States Military Academy at West Point, West Point, New York - http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-ad-dress-nation-way-forward- afghanistan-and-pakistan

2 Official website of the US Central Command. United States Central Command. Daniel Lisa. Petraeus to Senate: Success achievable in Afghanistan. 16.03.2010 - http://www.centcom.mil/index2.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1835&pop=1&pa ge=0&Itemid=40〈=en

3 Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation on the Way Forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan...

4 Official website of the U.S. Department of Defense. Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs). DOD Background Briefing with Senior Defense Officials from the Pentagon. April 28, 2010 - http://www.defense.gov/Transcripts/Transcript.aspx?TranscriptID=4617

5 ISAF official website. International Security Assistance Force. Key Facts and Figures. Troop Contributing Nations. April 16, 2010 - http://www.isaf.nato.int/images/stories/File/Placemats/Apr-16-2010-placemat.pdf

6 United States Central Command. Miles Donna. Policy chief 'cautiously optimistic' about Afghanistan. 5.05.2010 http://www.centcom.mil/en /news/policy-chief-cautiously-optimistic-about-afghanistan.html

7 Official website of the White House. National Security Strategy. May 2010. White House. Washington - http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/rssviewer/national_security_strategy.pdf

8 Ibid., p. 3.

9 U.S. Department of Defense. December 08, 2009. Joint Press Conference with Secretary Gates and President Karzai from Kabul, Afghanistan - www.defense.gov/Transcripts/Transcript.aspx?TranscriptID=4522

10 Ibidem.

11 Afghanistan: The London Conference. 28 January 2010. Communique - http://afghanistan.hmg.gov.uk/resources/en/pdf/Communique-final

12 Gordon Brown and Hamid Karzai's interview with Radio. 28.01.2010 - http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/9view-Speech&id-21644120

13 Afghanistan: The London Conference...

14 New York Times. 23.04.2010.

Miles Donna. 15 McChrystal urges troops to serve as role models. 2.03.2010 - http://www.centcom.mil/en/news/mcchrystal-urges-troops-to-serve-as-role-models.html

16 U.S. Department of Defense. DOD News Briefing with Brig. Gen. Nicholson from Afghanistan. March 04, 2010 - http://www.defense.gov/Transcripts/Transcript.aspx?TranscriptID=4575

17 Ibidem.

Miles Donna. 18 Policy chief 'cautiously optimistic' about Afghanistan...

Kruzel John J. 19 Mullen urges more 'soft power' in Afghanistan. 3.03.2010 - http://www.centcom.mil/en/news/mullen-urges-rnore-soft-power-in-afghanistan.html

20 DOD Background Briefing with Senior Defense Officials from the Pentagon. April 28, 2010.

21 DOD News Briefing with Brig. Gen. Nicholson from Afghanistan...

22 New York Times, 27.12.2009.

23 Operation Moshtarak: Prepairing for the Battle of Marja. Jeffrey Dresler Backgrounder. 11.02.2010. Institute for the Study of War - http://www.understandingwar.org/files/Operation_Moshtarak_1.pdf

Zakaria Fareed. 24 Why Pakistan keeps exporting jihad. Newsweek, 10.05.2010.

Miles Donna. 25 Policy chief 'cautiously optimistic' about Afghanistan...

26 DOD News Briefing with Brig. Gen. Nicholson from Afghanistan...

Daniel Lisa. 27 Petraeus to Senate: Success achievable in Afghanistan. 16.03.2010...

28 U.S. Department of State. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State. Remarks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in a Moderated Conversation. U.S. Institute of Peace, 13.05.2010 http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2010/05/141825.htm

29 Ibidem.

30 Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation on the Way Forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan...

31 New York Times, 8.05.2010.

32 Statement of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (Taliban): Regarding 'Obama's New Strategy'. 2.12.2009 - http://www.nefafoun-dation.org/miscellaneous/nefa_talibanobamasurge 1209.pdf

33 Diplomatic Dictionary in 3 volumes. Ed. Gromyko A. A. et al. T. I. Moscow, Nauka Publ., 1986, pp. 54-55.

34 http://www.upi.eom/Top_News/Analysis/2010/02/11/Outside-View-Vietnam-1963-and-Afgh anistan-2010/UPI-31351265910248/

35 New York Times, 11.06.2010.


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