By Air Commodore® Khalid Iqbal
It is not an active fighting season in Afghanistan. Holiday season and the cold weather have brought some compulsory rest for the field combatants. Now the fighting would pickup to its tempo somewhere in the spring. From then on, there won’t be much time for the draw down to begin. The open-ended statements made during the Lisbon Summit have since continued to add confusions to withdrawal methodology, its attached conditionalities and varied attendant interpretations by the US, NATO and other stakeholders.
A senior Republic Senator Lindsey Graham has recently called for permanent US Military bases in Afghanistan as part of the moves that would also give a signal to Pakistan that the Taliban are never going to come back. ‘We have had air bases all over the world and a couple of air bases in Afghanistan would allow the Afghan security forces an edge against the Taliban in perpetuity. Senator recently told NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’. There are many like Graham offloading their pearls of wisdom wherever and whenever convenient. Likewise, Adviser to three US presidents, Bruce Riedel, has recently stated to the BBC that 2011 is the year for Obama to break linkage between Islamabad and Taliban. Such neo-strategists are busy diluting the focus from withdrawal, thus making the Afghan scenario difficult to plot and predict.
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