‘US plans for longtime presence in Afghanistan’
Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:47AM
So as far as the history is concerned, I think everybody knows that Afghanistan is the key to the regional issues, the region political scenario. It plays an important role in geopolitics there and right from controlling the regional affairs to the Chinese affairs, these were the bigger pictures.”US President Barack Obama says Washington is watching with “deep concern” a hike in the so-called “green-on-blue attacks” on US troops in Afghanistan. The number of insider attacks or the so-called ‘green-on-blue’ attacks, in which Afghan security forces turn their weapons against foreign forces occupying their country, has increased in 2012. At least 40 US-led soldiers have been killed in such attacks so far this year. The increasing number of US military casualties in Afghanistan has caused widespread anger in the United States and other NATO member states, undermining public support for the Afghan war. According to the website icasualties.org, over 300 foreign troops, mostly US personnel, have lost their lives in Afghanistan in 2012. A total number of 566 US-led forces died in Afghanistan in 2011. However, 2010 remains the deadliest year for foreign military casualties, with a death toll of 711. Insecurity continues to rise across Afghanistan, despite the presence of about 130,000 US-led forces in the country. Press TV has conducted an interview with the president of the Society for International Reforms and Research, Syed Ali Wasif, from Washington to shed more light on the issue at hand. Wasif is joined by strategic affairs analyst Syed Yariq Pirzada from Pakistani capital city of Islamabad and freelance journalist Finian Cunningham from East Africa on Press TV’s News Analysis program. What follows is a rough transcript of the interview. Press TV: Mr. Wasif in May 2012, let us just remind you, US President Barack Obama said that the US goals in Afghanistan were within reach and he made those comments eleven years after the war. The question is how many more years are needed for the US to achieve its goals in Afghanistan? Wasif: Well, this statement was just an election ploy and nothing else. Those who are watching the situation in Afghanistan and in the neighboring countries and on the international politics, they know what is going on in Afghanistan. How long will it take? It is basically a failed attempt by the United States to conquer Afghanistan; that is it. But having said that, I think that the United States, looking at the scenario of the 90’s, won’t leave Afghanistan before, I think, 2018. So this is the scenario which I see today, because the goals have not been met; the number of casualties is rising day by day. The discontentment in the Afghan public is increasing day by day. The corruption in the government of Afghanistan is rampant. The people are not satisfied with both the Taliban and the American forces. So, I think that we are witnessing a changing scenario in the months to come. Press TV: Mr. Wasif you talked about a changing scenario about what the main objective of the US war on Afghanistan was. A lot of people have been concluding that in fact that the US had planned the Afghanistan war even before September 11. Basically what do you think the US war was initially about, when it started and what does that say about how long this war is going to continue? Wasif: Well, as a preamble to my answer to this question of yours, I think that I should give a bird’s-eye view about the stakeholders in Afghanistan and after that I will come to the answer. You see, in Afghanistan, the forces active in achieving their objectives in different directions, at times they are 180 degrees apart from each other. You will see Pakistan’s ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence), the Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the Russian FSB, the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and of course the Afghan intelligence agencies as well. These are the stakeholders there in Afghanistan pursuing their national interests.
Having said that, now if you see the United States’ goal to occupy Afghanistan seems to be simple, and that is to keep Afghanistan as a watchdog in Central Asia and especially in the affairs of Iran and in Pakistan. This was the main objective first.The second thing was… and one thing which I forgot was, kind of a Saudi influence in Afghanistan by encouraging the terrorists, the Taliban there and other terrorists by financing those terrorists in Afghanistan to destabilize Afghanistan. This is the problem. One more thing is the division between the north and the south in Afghanistan, or to be more precise, between the Persian speaking, the Tajik speaking, the Uzbek speaking and the Hazaras there on one hand, on one side, and the Pashtuns on the other. And within the Pashtuns we have two groups there. Those are the Gulbuddin [Hekmatyar]-controlled groups and the Taliban. The United States’ goal basically, in today’s scenario, seems to control Afghanistan to deter any threat... in case there is a showdown between the US forces and Israel in the [Persian] Gulf region; this seems to be imminent today. So as far as the history is concerned, I think everybody knows that Afghanistan is the key to the regional issues, the region political scenario. It plays an important role in geopolitics there and right from controlling the regional affairs to the Chinese affairs, these were the bigger pictures. Press TV: Mr. Wasif, as your last comments in under a minute, do you think that we are going to see a Soviet-style finish for the American forces in Afghanistan? Wasif: Not at all. It would be naive to think that it is going to be a Soviet-style withdrawal from Afghanistan. Americans are more cunning than the Russians, so they have long-term planning before they leave Afghanistan they will create a mess there in order to destabilize Afghanistan and, you know, they would have a kind of argument to stay there, at least in the bases there if not on the streets of Afghanistan. So I think that it is, you know, naive to think that it is going to be a Vietnam or Soviet-style withdrawal from Afghanistan; not at all. MY/HSN