About 40 miles north of Paris is the lovely town of Chantilly, a town known for horse training. This luxury town is now witnessing the imminent defeat of America throughout the AfPak region. How is this so? America has a presence in the region but remember the old military saying ‘if your not at the table, you’re on the table.’ America is being cut-up in Paris.
Chantilly is housing entire Afghan factions seeking an end to 33 years of war. Where is team Obama?
Officially, the event has been hosted by think tanks, foreign governments and NGO’s, we’d be right to place a spy inside if only to measure the seriousness of the Afghani factions. Note: NATO officially pulls out of Afghanistan in 2014.
This all started when one of Hamid Karzai’s brothers met with a representative of the Taliban in Mecca, Saudi Arabia 18 months ago. Since then, meetings have been arranged in Maldives, Japan and the United Arab Emirates. In March, team Obama held secret talks with the Taliban, but they walked out when Obama wouldn’t agree to releasing five Mullah’s from Gitmo.
In Chantilly are three of the four major Afghani factions that dominate the region, plus the government in Kabul. We’re outnumbered here and without a voice!
Two former senior officials of the Taliban government that was toppled in 2001 are representing the Sunni radical movement. Northern Alliance warlords Muhammed Yunus Qanuni and his former presidential advisor Ahmad Zia Massoud are both ethic Tajik’s and are representing affinities of tribes north of Kabul. Representing the ruthless Islamic Party ‘Hizb Islami’, a Pashtun group whose leader is Ghairat Baheer, held once by the CIA in a secret prison in Afghanistan and a blood relative to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Representing the Afghan High Peace Council is Haj Muhammad Muhaqeq.
Hazara Shiite and numerous Uzbek factions, all of whom helped the US in 2001.
The Chantilly event has been labeled secret with the media kept at a discrete distance (try not to laugh.)
A bit of realism is often missing today from the bed wetting belt way caucus, so if realism has any currency these days I’d like to note that these factions DON’T have the final word on Afghanistan. This is because they cannot project power. They aren’t even sovereign Nations. Any honest assessment of Afghanistan must acknowledge a very disturbing truth about this region: the Afghani’s have always depended on rival foreign powers with conflicting views/interests of the countries proper orbit. Prior to this Westphalian analysis, Afghanistan must be seen from within the Mughal Empire and then only nominally.
The Taliban cannot exist without Pakistan. PERIOD. Pakistan hates Chantilly if only because it grants autonomy to participants, something the US could exploit. If its worth anything, Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told the press Monday that ‘the future of Afghanistan must be resolved in Kabul.’ We’d agree if only to recognize that Islamabad’s influence would never grant regional autonomy to Kabul. Make no mistake, the Pakistani’s haven’t lost any time recruiting an Axis of Beijing-Arab ascent to thwart both NATO and the West. I haven’t even gotten around to explaining the truck loads of Iranian cash given to Karzai. More on that another time.
Hekmatyar’s Hizb Islami has grown dangerously close to Iran. It is Pashtun and Sunni and fiercely ideological. This happened because the CIA stopped financing. With the vacuum left from a weak American President, we must anticipate how Russia, India and Iran will influence its own intrinsic interests, especially given that its there neighborhood. We should anticipate that Russia and Indian interest converging, both fear a rising militant Taliban. The Saudi’s have recently found time to appease India in giving over Sunni militants to New Delhi.
The ones to watch are the Uzbekistani’s and Tajikistani’s, both are getting finance in towns in nearby Turkey.
How to make sense of this proxy? A bit of history will do.
Afghanistan should be thought of as a buffer state separating rival India and Russia, even though historically the threat of the ‘Great Game’ or the ‘Tournament of Shadows’ was Persia and England. The players have changed but the ideology and geography is the same. Historical attempts to orbit Afghanistan outside its traditional buffer ‘role’ has always led to war. The Russian’s know this, as do the Saudi’s when in 1990 the House of Saud financed the Taliban with help from Islamabad. Each time a rival orbit began, factions outside the Afghani periphery sought to destroy the central government.
Without the United States taking the lead in retiring Afghanistan to its traditional role as a buffer state, no real peace is possible.
Is Afghani neutrality possible?