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Afghanistan Updates for Sept-Oct 2018 - Arindam Mukherjee

Afghanistan Updates for Sept-Oct 2018

Old Uncle is back! Not as your object of laughter mind you. Uncle is back in the story following some solid moves on the Eurasian chessboard.

So what’s happening? Well, Uncle is getting a new Joint Commander. For a tango jam with the newly appointed, West-indoctrinated Afghan, HamidullahMohib, who is now gonna be Ghani’s right-hand-man.

And why did that happen? Because Ghani fired 4 trusted aides recently. Security Advisor Hanif Altaf, Defence Minister Tariq Bahrami, Interior Minister WaisBarmak, Intel Chief Stanekzai. Guys who were thought eminently suited to thrash out the future of Afghanistan amidst a nasty and an ongoing war.

And why did Ghani do that? Because Ghani went crying to Uncle to express his anguish about the upcoming Russia Summit on Afghanistan where the Taliban has been invited as a participant. So Uncle probably said cool old buddy! We are surely gonna help you balance out the power-game. First fuck those Commie loving bastards.

And why did Ghani go to Uncle? Because Russia and China and Iran are ok to discuss about the future of power-sharing in Afghanistan… with the Taliban.

And why would they be interested to deal with Taliban anyway? Because Taliban has established themselves as participants in Afghan governance. They are a national power now. And Russia and the rest of nations surrounding Afghanistan are keeping a close watch. And since they have close to nothing personal here they are prone to viewing this dispassionately; which is clearly a not-happening equation with Ghani… and to some curious extension for Old Uncle too – who for warped geopolitical reasons had decided to create ‘good-Taliban’ once upon a time not long ago… and now that he has ‘better’ Taliban in the shape of ISIL it is time to wash hands off old accomplices.

So Ghani – the culprit-in-chief here – felt bad because you were inviting him as well as his rival to your party. And instead of trying to find out the rationale behind, he went straight to your global-rival in a tit-for-tat mode. He has his balls in a hedge-cutter after that, but then, I am sure he knew what was at stake here.

Quite unwittingly, he has presented Uncle with a move that Uncle has used adroitly. Moscow summit won’t be as heavyweight as expected as long as Ghani doesn’t make it. And it doesn’t look like he would, as of now. Ghani, perhaps realizing his quandary, apparently had a chat with Lavrov, pleading with him to postpone the talk.

Meanwhile some plane dropped some bombs somewhere in North Afghanistan – a Taliban controlled territory. Now this fits and sits snug. Uncle – with a sudden good hand – has wasted no time. Northern Afghanistan – chiefly Tajik/Uzbek/Hazara in its nature, is traditionally anti-Taliban. A northern area, with a Taliban overlord, thus, is any tactical planner’s wet-dream for destabilization. And North of Afghaistan it is, from where the ISIL would find it easier to fan out along the geography.

Uncle has done one more thing. Buoyed by this recent Ghani idiocy, he has upped stake with Pakistan by refusing that 300 million aid. I would call that to be stretching your luck. Because if push comes to shove, Pakistan – though desperately in need of legitimacy more than money – can do without the former. They are masters in that. Just money; China is there. It is imperative for China to stabilize Pakistan. So anyway, Uncle has refused money probably hinging his strategy on Ghani.

I would watch this round over the next few months of course. Because you know, these bloody politicians are not old-school. They are completely useless for The Great Game. And Ghani - no pedigree anyways – is gonna buckle under this kind of pressure. Sooner or later. What happens then is anyone’s guess.

 

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