Matters of deadlines


The US announcement of the near completion of withdrawal of foreign troops by the year 2014 from Afghanistan issued by the US President in company of NATO leaders in Portugal at least defines the passing away of a painfully long war-era for the people of Afghanistan. Although, there is an inevitable span of three long years to reach the end of the process, but the setting of a deadline is in itself decisive in nature.

It should be noted, however, that goals and targets should be time bound or else they lose their significance and ultimately meander away from what they were initially purported to achieve, as in the case of the protracted war in Afghanistan, which has failed completely in terms of bringing peace into the region with its centre of gravity shifting along with an ambiguity of purpose. It becomes indecipherable at times who the real target is Taliban, Al-Qaeda, Pakistan Army, ISI, LeT, the Haqqanis or the entire Balochistan province or maybe even Pakistan for various reasons. The indecision of the US policymakers and analysts in adopting a clear strategy and by shifting the centre of the war, despite being fully trained in counterinsurgency warfare unlike their Afghan counterparts, have accepted that Afghanistan is Vietnam reincarnated, albeit tacitly.

The marking of a deadline, however, is indicative of an ultimate end of the US invasion and the worsening of security situation subsequently. The prospects of the return of peace in South Asia, though a farfetched idea at this precise moment, for those who have either fought the war or have been affected by it is linked with a definite deadline and presume that this marks the dismantling of terror networks robbing the terrorists of their reason for blood spilling with the Afghan Army and police in the training to take control.

It is an enigma that nine long years into the war and the ANA is not fully trained to manage the Afghan security situation. Yes! This brings back old memories Allama Iqbal too had asked a question when the Indian Army was projected in a similar manner. Now I venture to ask; who is responsible for the present state of things? Is it due to some inherent incapacity of our martial races, or to the slowness of military training? The military capacity of our martial races is undeniable. And so is that of the Afghans who have to their credit the defeat of one superpower and of the other in the process.

What then hinders them from taking responsibility of their own burden? The problem relates to the management and logistical requirements, and a US disregard for the reality in the field as most weapons provided to them are hard to maintain due to weather conditions. Apparently, the training they receive is dampening the fighting spirit of the Afghan men, fighters by instinct.