On Pakistan policy, credit where credit is due: the Obama administration has found the stones to respond to evidence of systemic and brazen bad faith on the part of our Pakistani “allies” and show their displeasure by witholding $ 800 million dollars in aid from Islamabad. There are already squeals of Pakistani unhappiness at this modest decrease of aid that all too frequently gets diverted to preparing to make war on India or, for that matter, on American soldiers and Marines. Former dictator General Pervez Musharraf, who cannot go back home to Rawalpindi for fear his brother officers will assassinate him, told a well appointed crowd in Houston that the aid cut “will be disastrous….if Pakistan is weakened, how will it fight terrorism?“.
On Afghanistan, it might be advisable for the new American commander, Lieutenant General John Allen, in carrying out his extremely difficult mission of “Afghanization” and “punitive raiding” the Taliban, to first ponder history and “Remember Herat“.
In 1979, before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the entire garrison of Soviet advisers in Herat was slaughtered, including the dependent women and children, by an angry mob that was aided by the local Afghan Communist Army units who, led by Ismail Khan, conveniently revolted and turned on their Russian allies. If British military history is more to Lt. General Allen’s taste, the Afghans massacred British garrisons in Kabul twice in the 19th century, Major Cavagnari’s in 1878 and that of Sir William McNaghten and Sir Alexander Burnes in 1841, though most of the British died to all but the last man on the retreat to Jalalabad in 1842.
The cape wearing, election-stealing, lotus-eater whom we thanklessly prop up, may be more incompetent than Nur Mohammed Taraki and less legitimate a client than Shah Shuja, but he has a demonstrated talent for inciting anti-western violence exceeded only by his enterprise in looting aid money. Is crazy Karzai above lighting a match to a tense situation the US military itself has already described as a “rapidly growing systemic threat“? Not in my view.
When the American drawdown begins in earnest, General Allen will need to watch the backs of his troops
Ahmed Wali Karzai, the notorious fixer and feared enforcer of the Afghan regime and the brother of President Hamid Karzai was assassinated today. The Taliban claimed credit, but AWK has too many enemies to be certain yet.