Obama’s Options In Pakistan

May 20, 2009 at 11:40 am | Posted in Afghanistan, Lifescape, Military Operations, Muslims, US-Af-Pak Affairs, War | Leave a comment
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Image by Army.mil via Flickr

In 2007, a Guantánamo military commission reviewed prisoner No. 008, also known as Abdullah Gulam Rasoul, a designated enemy combatant, who stated at the review that  he had “never been America’s enemy and I never intend to be.” and transferred him to Afghanistan’s government, which set him free.

This spring, under the name Mullah Abdullah Zakir, he has resurfaced as one of the most vicious and effective Taliban commanders in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand Province, where thousands of recently deployed U.S. troops are now arriving to join the battle.

As a parable of the United States and its enemies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Rasoul’s case has a familiar, circular quality. The miscalculations across five Administrations are by now generally understood: near-unequivocal support for anti-American militias during the nineteen-eighties; averted eyes as Pakistan pursued its covert nuclear ambitions; the abandonment of Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal; the failure to recognize the menace of Al Qaeda during the nineteen-nineties; erratic investments in Pakistan’s democracy, economy, and civil society; and, most recently, a war in Afghanistan after 9/11 which did not defeat Al Qaeda or the Taliban but chased them into Pakistan, where they regrouped and have proceeded to destabilize a country now endowed with atomic bombs.

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