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America's Anxiety Bodes An Ill-omen For The Unity Regime

22 March 2016

By Dr Hameedullah Zabuli

It appears that America – like the Soviets before them – has lost all faith in her internal Afghan allies. America had made its timetabled withdrawal from Afghanistan contingent upon the Kabul security forces' ability to check Taliban gains.

They invested billions of dollars in the security apparatus of the Kabul administration and personally took charge of training its forces. For years American reports on the security situation of Afghanistan reflected a conviction in ANSF's abilities. However, recently the America military particularly the top-brass within the Pentagon has lost all faith in the ANSF. They openly doubt the regime's ability to counter the insurgency and speculations are spreading regarding the imminent collapse of the Kabul regime.

Speaking at a Senate hearing last week the Australian Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, said there had been unexpected developments in Afghanistan that had put local forces under increased pressure. This same person – speaking at an Afghan press conference – reiterated his concerns regarding the deteriorating situation of Afghanistan and doubted the ANSF's ability to defeat the Taliban.

He added that Oruzgan province – which was managed by the Australians for eight years – was largely under insurgent influence and that the Taliban had the freedom to move about in those areas at will.

Similarly the U.S. National Intelligence Director James Clapper told a Senate committee last week that the Kabul ‘government' faces persistent hurdles to political stability, including eroding political cohesion, assertions of authority by local powerbrokers, financial shortfalls and countrywide sustained attacks by the Taliban. He also warned that Afghanistan was at a ‘serious risk of a political breakdown during 2016'.

Both Clapper and John Campbell – the outgoing US commander in Afghanistan – expressed skepticism regarding Afghan reconciliation. Clapper also suggested that after initial infighting over leadership succession, the Taliban had again become a unified force under its new leader Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour.

The U.S.'s ever changing policies and contradictory statements regarding Afghanistan betray their anxiety concerning the Kabul regime's ability to hold its own. The U.S. military's current attempts to prolong their presence in Afghanistan also reveal their lack of faith in the Unity regime.

The Kabul regime has consistently downplayed statements of U.S. officials regarding their failures because they are oblivious to the gravity of the situation they are facing and their looming collapse.

The Americans on the other hand fully grasp the gravity of the security situation in Afghanistan and perhaps also understand that success in Afghanistan is a forlorn hope. Yet they insist on further bloodshed simply because they do not want to have another Vietnam in their annals. What they fail to understand is that their defeat in Afghanistan is many more folds in comparison to Vietnam. In Vietnam they simply lost the South while in Afghanistan they lost their hyper-power status and were relegated to a regional powerbase.
 

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