Thursday, August 4, 2011

Mistake After 9/11

Probably the biggest mistake we ever made in Afghanistan after 9/11 is that we continued to listen to Pakistan. Pakistan was perhaps the first country to send its condolences to the US after the attacks on 9/11. And just as quickly, they sent their envoy to the Taliban and asked them to surrender Osama Bin Laden! This is the same Pakistan that was responsible for creating the Taliban, secretly transporting Bin Laden into Afghanistan, and helping Al Qaeda build military training camps there. Pakistan, which never paid any serious attention to our interests previously, and in fact totally ignored US interests in the region, was now consoling us and was pretending to be the hero that was coming to our rescue after that tragic day. Imagine if it had been Iran that had aided Afghanistan's Taliban and Al Qaeda, in which case we probably would have bombed them immediately after 9/11.

Instead, we attacked Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with Al Qaeda or the 9/11 attacks. Pakistan was in large part responsible for 9/11, but we allowed ourselves to be misled by their feigned shedding of tears for our losses and their deceptiveness in acting as if they wanted to bring the people responsible to justice. We fell for it, and as soon as they saw our guards down, they began to deceive us even further. They began to tell us:

(1) Please don't attack the Taliban because there are lots of Moderate Taliban and we can work with them;

(2) Don't allow the Northern Alliance forces to come to Kabul and attack the Taliban, because the Taliban are Pushtoons, and therefore all of the other Pushtoons will join the Taliban; and

(3) Don't attack the Taliban because they are having a clerics meeting to discuss the possible surrender of Bin Laden.

And further, Pakistan, being the great "educator" that they are, told us that Afghanistan is made of tribes that are often enemies of each other. Taliban belong to the Pushtoon tribe, and their opposition belong to the Tajik, Hazara, and Uzbek tribes. As I stated earlier, Pakistan told us not to use Northern Alliance (United Front) forces to pursue the Taliban because then all Pushtoons would join forces with the Taliban. We bought that argument hook, line, and sinker, and we backed off pursuing the Taliban. That was probably our biggest mistake of all, because we had tens of thousands of Afghan forces ready to go after the Taliban, and we lost the initial momentum that we could have used.

Contrary to what Musharraf and Pakistan told us, Afghanistan is one country and one people. And in fact, even prior to the US joining the fight after 9/11, there were tens of thousands of Pushtoons fighting alongside Tajik, Hazara, and Uzbek against the Taliban. We did not use them, and the results were tragic. Because instead, we listened to our so-called friends in Pakistan and we played right into the hands of both the Taliban and the ISI. We gave them billions of dollars in aid that they continue to use against us, because they use that money to acquire weapons and to continue to recruit extremists. We need to turn our back on Pakistan and its deceptions once and for all.

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