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Us Policy Towards Afghanistan.

Us Policy Towards Afghanistan.

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Published by Praveen Kumar
This artical will be relevent for those who wants to get knowledge abional affairs.out internat
This artical will be relevent for those who wants to get knowledge abional affairs.out internat

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Published by: Praveen Kumar on Nov 26, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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In his statements and speeches since Sept. 11, U.S. President George W. Bush has been carefulto distinguish the members of Osama bin Laden's
al Qaeda
organization and the Taliban, fromthe people of Afghanistan and Muslims of the world.Still, with military action in Afghanistan expected soon, it is necessary to look hard atAfghanistan's past two decades of turmoil and seek to learn lessons from that past. And whilethere are many factors leading to the dismal situation of Afghanistan today, it also is the case thatmissteps in U.S. foreign policy are, in part, to blame. U.S. policy toward Afghanistan, Russia andthe region during the 1980s helped, at least indirectly, nurture the growth of anti-American andfundamentalist forces now controlling Kabul, and indeed, even some of the terrorists now beingsought by the United States for the Sept. 11 attacks against New York and Washington. In planning for intervention in Afghanistan now, the Bush administration must work hard to avoidthe mistakes of the past.
U.S Covert Operations in the Afghanistan War 
With the 1979 invasion of Soviet troops into Afghanistan, the war between anti-communist rebelforces and the Soviet-backed Afghan government was well underway. The number of Soviettroops in Afghanistan reached 100,000 by early 1980. Anti-communist guerrilla forces, jointlycalled the
(Islamic warriors), actively fought both the Soviet troops and the pro-SovietAfghan government led by President Babrak Karmal.From the Soviet invasion onward, the United States sought ways to back the anti-Soviet forces.By 1983, the CIA was purchasing assault rifles, grenade launchers, mines, and SA-7 lightantiaircraft weapons, totaling 10,000 tons, mainly from China. The Reagan administration hadthem shipped to Pakistan, a country that at the time was working closely with Washington.Then, in a move that marked a turning point in the relentless war, in 1985, President RonaldReagan made a secret decision to escalate covert support to the
. Soon after, the CIA began to supply an extensive array of intelligence, military expertise and advanced weapons tothe Muslim rebel forces. They included satellite reconnaissance data of Soviet targets inAfghanistan; Soviet plans for military operations based on satellite intelligence and intercepts of Soviet communications; covert communication technology for the rebels; detonating devices for tons of C-4 explosives for urban targets; long-range sniper rifles; a targeting system linked to aU.S. Navy satellite; and wire-guided anti-tank missiles.
Furthermore, amidst intensifyingdebate within the CIA over the extent of U.S. involvement in the war, Reagan made the decisionto equip the
with sophisticated U.S.-made Stinger antiaircraft missiles. American-trained Pakistani officers were sent to Afghanistan to set up a secret
Stinger trainingfacility, which was complete with a U.S.-made electronic simulator. By 1987, the CIA wassending a steady supply of 65,000 tons of arms to the
While it funneled equipment, intelligence and money to the
, Washington maintainedits armchair supervisory role in the war by entrusting Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligenceagency (ISI) to handle direct contact, operations with, and training of the
. In all, theUnited States provided over $2 billion in weapons and money to seven Islamic
 factions in the 1980s, making this last Cold War battle the largest covert action program sinceWorld War II.Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev announced the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1988. Withthe Soviets out of the picture, however, the victorious
focused next on fighting theAfghan "puppet government" now headed by Mohammad Najibullah, who had replaced Karmalin 1986. Najibullah fell from power when the
finally captured Kabul in the spring of 1992. But the guerrilla factions proved unable to unite, and began another arduous power struggle amongst themselves. Afghanistan thus became a fragmented country of severalindependent zones, each ruled by different warlords. These political divisions exacerbated theschism already present between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, and between the many tribal andethnic groups that reside in the country.
Backfiring of U.S. Policy
Then emerged the Taliban. They came together in Pakistan in late 1994 as a militia of PashtunIslamic fundamentalist students. These students had received training in Pakistan's religiousschools attended by refugee men who had formerly fought as the CIA-backed
. Indeed,a man who played a significant role in the advent and growth of the Taliban movement wasMullah Mohammed Omar, the current chief of the Taliban and former fighter under a CIA-trained commander. Garnering power and support during a peak of political fractiousness, theTaliban captured Kabul in 1996, declaring themselves the legitimate government of Afghanistan.They appealed to many Afghans with their promises of peaceful rule. As a result, some of the people trained under CIA command in the 1980s turned into loyal fighters for the Taliban.Armed and inflamed by religious zeal, the Taliban spread throughout Afghanistan declaring toend the civil war, corruption and lawlessness. As they rose in popularity among other PashtunAfghans, they also intensified in violence that displayed their Islamic extremism. The traininggrounds that the CIA maintained and operated during the anti-Soviet war soon became campsand safe havens for militant terrorists, among whom was Osama bin Laden. Indeed, when theU.S. launched cruise missile attacks at a camp near Khost in 1998, it was discovered that thetraining camps were being occupied by Pakistani military intelligence to train the Harakat-ul-Ansar, an Islamic guerrilla organization identified as a terrorist group by the U.S. StateDepartment.By the time the world recognized the oppressive nature of the Taliban, both the United Statesand the United Nations had long ceased taking interest in Afghanistan. U.S. economic andmilitary assistance to Afghanistan decreased dramatically after 1989, and no provisions weremade for rebuilding the nation, demobilizing fighters or organizing relief aid. When the
took over Kabul in 1992, the UN Development Program (UNDP) in Afghanistanrelocated to Pakistan, annulling what minimal rehabilitation assistance the agency had planned.The leadership vacuum facilitated the growth of the Taliban, who continued to recruit men from
 both its own ideological circles and from
factions throughout the late 1990s.
Today,they rule more than 90 percent of the country, imposing on the Afghan people their rigid Islamiclaws, edicts that are regarded internationally as blatant violations of human rights.And, ultimately, the destructive persistence of the Taliban, the group's link with bin Laden, andthe consequences
Two Decades of Humanitarian Crisis
Afghanistan was devastated by the anti-Soviet war. More than 1 million Afghans died, millionswere injured, and more than 5 million became refugees in neighboring countries. In addition tothe human toll, economic and ecological damage proved enormous and lasting. More than 5million mines were still scattered across 2 percent of the Afghan land in 1992, and the millionsthat remain today are a serious peril to Afghans, as well as to any foreign ground troops that mayenter the country in the months to come of its extremist rule became part of American history onSept. 11Moreover, the Afghan people have endured four years of severe drought, which has thrust aquarter of the population into a state of chronic food shortageUN humanitarian agencies did much to alleviate the situation, wrestling with the Taliban whoattempted to block foreign aid from flowing into the country. On Sept. 12, however, the UNWorld Food Program (WFP), as well as a score of non-governmental organizations &$8212; allof which served as a lifeline for millions of Afghans &$8212; withdrew from Afghanistan inlight of anticipated U.S. retaliation, leaving behind 5.5 million hungry people. According to theWFP, about 15,000 tons of stockpiled food remained in the country at the time of the group'sdeparture, enough to last only two weeks. Those two weeks have already come and gone sincethe announcement, and the clock is ticking.OBAMA¶S ADMINSTRATION STAND FOR THE ISSUE:Following two high-level policy reviews on Afghanistan in 2009, the Obama Administrationasserts that it is pursuing a well resourced and integrated military-civilian strategy intended to pave the way for a gradual transition to Afghan security leadership beginning in July 2011. The pace of that transition is to be determined by conditions on the ground, as determined, in large part, by a formal DOD-led review of the Afghanistan situation in December 2010. The policy isintended to ensure that Afghanistan will not again become a base for terrorist attacks against theUnited States. In order to reverse security deterioration in large parts of Afghanistan since 2006,each of the two reviews resulted in a decision to add combat troops, with the intent to createsecurity conditions to expand Afghan governance and economic development. A total of 51,000additional U.S. forces were authorized by the two reviews, which has brought U.S. troop levelsto about 104,000 as of September 4, 2010, with partner forces holding at about 40,000. At thesame time, the Administration is attempting to counter the perception in the region, particularlyamong Pakistan, India, the Afghan insurgency, and within the Afghan political establishmentthat U.S.involvement will be sharply reduced after July 2011. That perception may, among other 

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