I once in a while watch the program GPS on CNN which is hosted by Fareed Zakaria. He interviews influential world leaders. Yesterday, he interviewed Imran Khan of Pakistan, leader of one of the opposition parties there. I have heard the name before as he became well-known when he married Jemima Goldsmith of Britain in 1990s, a wealthy socialite, and he was in the news quite a bit.
As Fareed Zakaria interviewed him, I was impressed by Imran Khan's assessment of the situation with regards to Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Insurgency. Is it possible that Barack Obama is wrong on Afghanistan?
It is not a winnable war. Swat Valley and the North Western Territories have been no-man's land and rogue areas for centuries. No one has ever been able to subjugate these people. The British failed and it brought down USSR empire. Why does Obama think he can succeed?
I have heard that it is one of world's roughest terrains. I once drove around Cape Breton on Cabot Trail and I was scared stiff as a minor mistake and I could have ended up in the ocean - a several hundred feet fall. I am told that compared to Swat and frontier territories in Pakistan, Cabot Trail is a picnic. And there is no ocean that you may have a chance to survive in the water.
Imran Khan was asked what he would do if he was running the Government of Pakistan and if he was advising the US. His assessment was blunt and realistic. He said Afghanistan must have never been invaded to start with because you cannot win. He suggested that efforts should have been made to alienate Taliban from Al-Qaeda as the Taliban were not involved in 9/11 in any way. He said that was the sole way to end the insurgency in that area. He said he would negotiate with the Taliban because fighting them brings out the extremists and it is a no win situation.
He said that the latest peace-treaty with tribal forces and Pakistan was inevitable. Pakistan had no choice. It does not have the financial or military resources to defeat these forces. Where the USSR failed, how can Pakistan succeed? The only choice is to negotiate and marginalize Al-Qaeda and other extremist group. It looks that may be the only solution. Maybe Obama will learn in due course.