Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Why Isn't Obama Making His Decision on Afghanistan?

 The Asia Times Online reported on Nov. 6  a possible reason why Obama hasn't made his final decision on Afghanistan.  It the report is accurate, perhaps he was awaiting the results of various negotiations.  Then there was Fort Hood and now he's in China.  Just a possibility. 

ISLAMABAD - Abdullah Abdullah, who this week withdrew from the presidential election runoff in Afghanistan, thereby handing victory to the incumbent, Hamid Karzai, did so under pressure from the United States, Asia Times Online has learned.
In exchange for the pullout of the non-Pashtun Abdullah, Pakistan's military has agreed to actively mediate between Washington and the Taliban over a reconciliation plan that will allow the US to exit from Afghanistan, as it is doing in Iraq, with a semblance of success.
A senior Pakistani diplomat involved in backchannel negotiations on Pakistan, Afghanistan and US relations told Asia Times Online on the condition of anonymity that the deal over Abdullah, whom Islamabad considers to be pro-India, was made during the three-day visit to Pakistan last week of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Apart from other senior officials, Clinton met with the chief of army staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kiani, and the director general of Inter-Services Intelligence, Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha. It was agreed that all US-led negotiations with Abdullah, which included offering him the position of chief executive officer of Afghanistan, would stop, and Karzai would get full backing for a second five-year term.
It was also acknowledged that Washington's political leadership, like the Pentagon, now accepts that the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan is best tackled with contact between the Pakistan armed forces and the Taliban, and not by the political governments of the region.
Clinton's visit came at a crucial time as Pakistan is engaged in a battle against the Pakistani Taliban and other militants; if it fails, there will be a cascading effect in the whole region and a sure defeat of American interests in Afghanistan.(the rest can be read here.)

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