There is no way the Americans are going to be able to carry out a full scale war against Iraq and at the same time maintain the same kind of pressure on the Al Qaeda network in countries as diverse as Indonesia, Philippines, and Pakistan, as well as in Europe.
The Pashtuns are angry at the Americans because, one, they’re still being bombed, and two, they perceive that the Americans are backing the Tajik faction, which controls the army and security forces in Kabul.
People like myself were saying the Taliban would be driven out very swiftly from the north of Afghanistan, but given that their main support base was in the Pashtun belt, there would be greater resistance there. That didn’t happen.
The Bush administration thought that once there is a democracy, everything else will fall into place. If today you speak to the architects of the 2001 Afghanistan Conference in Bonn, they will tell you that instead of being fixated on elections.
Despite all the dire predictions made in 2001, the Afghans have given the international community, its aid workers and soldiers a large window of opportunity to repair the damage done by 25 years of war.
And China is not keen that the U.S. should be so close to its borders over a long period of time. Certainly, if the U.S. is going to be there for a long time, it’s going to exacerbate regional tensions.
There will not be enough soldiers to ensure the security of the country. But will the US still be permitted to kill terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan with un-manned drones? That could worsen the situation in the neighboring states and they could view Afghanistan as a threat.
The strategy for peace-building in Afghanistan is economic aid, reconstruction, international security forces. On those lines, the U.S. has been extremely slow. And it has even blocked expanding security forces from Kabul to other cities.
You need intelligence and special forces. And, most importantly, you need to resurrect Afghanistan from what is literally the graveyard of countries and transform it into a normal country, which the Afghans want.