Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


David Miller: What Remains for Afghanistan?

David Miller Online
What Remains for Afghanistan and bin Laden?

According to General Tommy Franks, head of the US Central Command and the war effort in Afghanistan the noose around Osama bin Laden is tightening. General Franks claims that the bombing campaign is now becoming more focused and the arrival of British and US troops at the Bagram airfield north of Kabul would suggest that the mission to destroy al-Qaeda has entered a new phase. The question now is where would bin Laden go should his position in Afghanistan become untenable?

Given the high profile of Osama bin Laden it is unlikely that he would find refuge easily. According to the United States State Department, there are seven countries that harbour terrorist groups and figures in some capacity and if one was exploring options for the next location of the al-Qaeda hierarchy then these are the places you would look first.

Throughout the 1990’s, Iran was considered to be the leading state sponsor of international terrorism. Tehran was considered to be active in assassinations of leading dissidents around the world and supporters of groups such as Hizbollah who fought to destroy the Middle East peace process and who remain active around the world. Other states on this list included Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Syria, North Korea and Cuba. Afghanistan would have been added had Washington recognised the Taliban regime, while Pakistan was placed on the “watch list”.

Given the high profile of bin Laden it is unlikely that any of these states would be willing to offer him shelter. Iraq would be the most likely candidate, however it realises that should it do so, then the already active US air campaign over its skies at present is likely to increase dramatically and will no doubt involve Saddam Hussein’s regime in a full-scale war. The other countries are either trying to rebuild their relations with the US and the West, such as Libya and Sudan or are unrealistic choices for bin Laden due to geography, that is, North Korea and Cuba.

The best hope of protection Osama bin Laden has at this present time is geography along with the weather conditions in Afghanistan and South Asia. His best ally is the inhospitable terrain of the Afghan mountains and the numerous caves that are located there. Should the Taliban militia survive this offensive to become a rural guerrilla force then they too will seek to utilise these conditions. Unless the US and Western intelligence is one hundred percent accurate or there is a willingness to deploy troops into these areas then they will remain at large and a threat. There is a suggestion that bin Laden may try and relocate to Kashmir where there are groups operating who are loyal to his cause and once again he would seek to use the terrain to his advantage.

The point at which this war will end has yet to be determined with some commentators claiming that it will be with the capture or death of bin Laden and other saying it will not end until all al-Qaeda and terrorist groups are eliminated. Either way there is now discussion on the composition of a post Taliban government in Afghanistan, with Presidents Bush and Putin saying that it must be peaceful, inhospitable to groups such as al-Qaeda and cease its trade in illegal drugs. Unfortunately, the world’s powers may have little say influence in this regard.

Already there have been scenes of violence between the anti-Taliban factions and there are signs of the fractuous nature of this coalition. CNN reported over the weekend that the country is already being divided into fiefdoms based around a particular tribe or warlord and exerting any control over these groups or getting them to work together will be extremely difficult.

This is simply because the United States is not in control of events on the ground inside Afghanistan. It controls the airspace overhead and has newly won allies at the borders but inside the country itself the factions are calling the shots. The prime example of this was the fall of Kabul. The US expressed its wishes that the Northern Alliance hold off entering the city in order to give the United Nations time to put together a government. This edict was ignored and the city fell. The reason why is that those tribal leaders and warlords are no more welcoming of US or Western involvement in their affairs that the Taliban was. This arrangement between the US and the opposition forces is merely a marriage of convenience that offers no assurance of survival.

On the whole I am fearful for the future for Afghanistan. A working and effective government may be established in Kabul that brings stability to the nation but if recent history is anything to go by, this may be a hope instead of a reality. At present, the US and its allies are welcome guests in the country as they are helping to defeat the Taliban and al-Qaeda and are supplying the much-needed supplies to the opposition forces. However as time wears on and the common enemy is no longer, friends can easily become adversaries. After all that is the story of Osama bin Laden.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news