The cost of a peace deal in Afghanistan -

The cost of a peace deal in Afghanistan


My second article from Afghanistan is about Afghans opposed to President Hamid Karzai’s Western-backed efforts to reconcile with the Taliban.

This movement is, I believe, consequential, and may present Afghanistan’s international allies with a biting dilemma.

“After a lot of effort and many, many hundreds of millions of dollars, you may reach that peace deal,” Mahmoud Saikal, a former Afghan deputy foreign minister who is now organizing against Karzai, told me. “But you will have lost the Afghan people.”

A deal struck by Karzai, in other words, may trigger intense opposition among Afghans — especially the liberal and democratically inclined — who fear the rights they’ve gained over the last ten years will be bargained away. Then whose side will we be on?


The cost of a peace deal in Afghanistan

  1. “…. especially the liberal and democratically inclined ….. ”

    Impossible to know what’s best. There are no good answers, it seems, only bad and worse ones. As long as locals desire enlightenment type society – then we should support them – but I don’t want to impose too much liberal ideology on Afghans.

    I don’t like Canadian society because it is ruled by tin pot dictators who don’t know what they are doing and I can only imagine what people of Afghan think of the tin pot dictators we send to Afghan to turn their society into ours. 

    From what I understand, Afghan has always been primitive country but they did have peaceful civil society until mid 1970s. If we can get Afghan back to peaceful, and respectful of differences, society of 1970s that would be enough. 

    I have been reading sources on Afghan culture and it does not make me overly hopeful. I often find US Military studies to be quite helpful because armed services always seemed to like to be prepared, know conditions on ground before they go in and they have not been written for politicians to present as pr. 

    “What my friend said is simple: in Afghanistan, “culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

    Translation: You can craft the savviest military strategy ever. But unless God intervenes, deep-seated culture will surely defeat your tactical smarts.”

    Before getting into whether or not there are tribes, it’s worth saying definitively that there are some groups in Afghanistan—a very large percentage of Afghans, in fact—that are not tribal at all. Talking about “tribe” in relation to these groups makes no sense (or about as much sense as talking about “tribes” in France, for instance). These totally non-tribal groups live mostly in the central, western, and northern areas of Afghanistan.

  2. We will know how advanced peace talks are with the Taliban when
    President Karzai, baggage in hand and having appointed somebody to lead a
    “transitio­nal government­”, boards a US military plane after waving goodbye to his countrymen­.
    And, it appears, that date isn’t far off — probably within 18 months, if not less because of the US 2012 presidenti­al election.
    The only question that then remains is whether the US and Nato forces will abandon Afghanista­n just as quickly after Karzai leaves.

  3. The one thing we should have learned from Afghanistan is never to do that again.

    However, we’re already in Libya.