If the U.S. is on the verge of losing in Afghanistan, should it try partitioning it?

If the U.S. is on the verge of losing in Afghanistan, should it try partitioning it?


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Baldtastic

Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
5,483
Londinium
The reports below are 1.5 years or more old.... So by now its more than $5 trillion which have been spent in Afghanistan and Iraq... That's about a quarter of the US national debt (or if one prefers its 2 full years of GDP of countries such as France or the UK), meaning the US is not only "losing" in Afghanistan its also losing at home.

Question: with over 100% of GDP as debt, how long can the US afford these wars ? Normally by now , a "cut loss" strategy should have kicked in

Report: Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan cost almost $5 trillion so far

https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2016/09/12/report-wars-in-iraq-afghanistan-cost-almost-5-trillion-so-far/

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-war-anniversary/iraq-war-costs-u-s-more-than-2-trillion-study-idUSBRE92D0PG20130314
Any reports on how much oil and other resources the US got out of Iraq and Afghanistan?

Perhaps we could finally put that meme-ad nauseam to bed??
 

Kotromanic

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
5,021
Iowa USA
Any reports on how much oil and other resources the US got out of Iraq and Afghanistan?

Perhaps we could finally put that meme-ad nauseam to bed??
There is a New York Times article (last week of June 2017) which reported that last summer's Afghan policy announcement from the POTUS was predicated largely on the value of copper "probable reserve" in the nation.
 

Shaheen

Ad Honorem
May 2011
2,566
Sweden
OK.

Also, I'm sorry for generalizing here.
Dont worry no offence taken

You can try drawing the borders in such a way that excludes as much Pashtuns as possible from Iran, though.

Also, if the Farziwans are surrounded by Pashtun-majority territory, then they should be put into the Pashtun state. Of course, they could move elsewhere if they want. Looking at this map, it doesn't seem worth it to annex a bunch of Pashtun-majority areas just because Tajiks/Farsiwans live in the cities in these areas:

The Farsiwans would end up as the Tajiks in Uzbekistan then. A persecuted urban minority. This is a cost and benefit situation. Is it worth splitting up countries which would then result in exposed minorities. We are into the hypothetical now and sure these Farsiwans could be moved (forcibly or voluntarily) to the Iranian Khorasan province or the new Tajik state in the north and they could do well there. However what if they want to stay in the land of their ancestors. It is a terrible predicament for such groups.

Uzbekistan is doubly-landlocked and manages to do just fine, though. Also, so does Liechtenstein--though I'm sure that you'll dismiss it due to it being a micro-state.

Also, are Uzbeks hostile towards Hazaras or merely neutral towards them?
Landlocked nations survive of course but often have to export import via air freight unless they have road connections to ports. Would this new Hazara state have these capabilities. Uzbekistan inherited a well developed infrastructure from the Soviets. Again NATO/US or whichever great power is overseeing the partitioning process would have to invest in the road and air infrastructure of a potential new Hazara state.

Wouldn't a better move for Afghanistan be to clean up its act and to encourage Pakistani Pashtuns who want to live under Afghan rule to move to Afghanistan, though?
The problem is next to no Pakistani Pashtun wants to move to Afghanistan. They are well integrated into Pakistani society having risen to the ranks of generals, presidents heck even dictators of the country. The city with the largest Pashtun population today is not Kabul or Peshawar, it is Karachi far from Pashtun majority regions, due to recent migrations. As for Afghanistan cleaning up its act, one would have hoped that pressure from NATO/US would finally make Kabul accept the border. Legally Afghanistan has accepted this border with the British (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Afghan_Treaty_of_1919). Post colonial nations under the uti possidetis principle of international law inherit legitimately the borders of their previous colonising nation. Afghanistan therefore has no legal claim to Pakistani territory. On top of that the people living in regions Afghanistan claims do not want to join Afghanistan. All Afghanistan has achieved through decades of irredentist policies is to antagonise Pakistan. Also when I say irredentist policies I mean the Afghan army invading Pakistani territory on several occasions thinking the local Pashtuns would rise against Pakistan in their favour.

Prime Minister Daoud (of Afghanistan) had long been an enthusiastic supporter of "Pushtunistan", an so on the basis of false intelligence concerning the implications of local tribal fights, twice sent several thousand Afghan troops to the Bajaur area (Pakistan). Afghan irregulars and army troops dressed as tribesmen entered the Bajaur in late September 1960, but were driven back by the Bajauri Pushtun themselves, who, although they often fight each other, resent intrusions from the outside, be they from the Pakistani or the Afghan area. A larger attack by Afghan regular troops (again dressed as tribesmen) occurred in May 1961 ...
Page 539, Afghanistan, By Louis Dupree

Many Afghans today will blame outside occupiers (Soviets or today the US) for the country's current mess but in reality the reason why Afghanistan is a mess today can be sourced back to its irredentist policies in the 1940-70s period. If it accepts the border today then the US/NATO would have Pakistan as an actual ally in that conflict rather than the "frenemy" that it currently is. A strong Afghanistan backed by NATO/US arms seeking to expand its borders at the expense of neighbours is not in Pakistan's interest. It always surprises me how shocked "experts" on this region become when they find out Pakistan is not fully supporting NATO activities in Afghanistan.


Two things:

1. Are you suggesting that Pakistan's support of Hekmatyar and later the Taliban was the result of Pakistan wanting to put loyal Pashtuns in power in Afghanistan so that they would not sponsor separatism among Pakistani Pashtuns?
Not really, the Pakistani government simply hoped that religious figures controlling Kabul would be more pliable to accept the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan as they would be less likely to be affected by ethnic driven policies. As stated above Afghanistan invaded Pakistani territory on several occasions. However Pakistani Pashtuns have never demanded independence from the country so that was not a major concern. There have been autonomist parties seeking devolution of power but Pashtuns as stated above are part and parcel of the Pakistani military establishment and government. Why would they want to leave then. The reason however why across the border Pakistan supported religious groups was in the hope that as fellow Muslims they would be more pliable to see Pakistan as a friendly or at least neutral country than a hostile one as the previous ethnic driven regimes had done.

2. That's why there would need to be some kind of treaty or multilateral pact that everyone in the neighborhood would be able to get behind.
Currently a number of countries in the region are part of same pacts and yet continue to remain hostile. Both Afghanistan and Pakistan are members of the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_Cooperation_Organization for example.

OK, but in a scenario where the Taliban is about to win in Afghanistan and Afghanistan ends up breaking up, wouldn't such Pashtun politicians be silenced pretty quickly?

After all, wouldn't the Taliban listen to Pakistani demands and thus silence such Pashtun troublemakers as soon as it could?
The Taliban is its own force today. People often mistaken Pakistani support for Pakistani control. This is far from the truth. Some of the key Taliban centres of operation are far away from the Pakistani border (notably so Kunduz). Also today the Taliban are far from only reliant on Pakistan. They have opened up offices in Qatar (a de facto embassy), have relations with Iran, Russia and other countries around. A decade or so ago maybe Pakistan could have brought the Taliban to the talking table. Today that is really not the case especially now that the Taliban know how weak Afghan government forces are and how reliant they are on NATO air support for success.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,423
SoCal
Please allow me to respond to everything that you wrote here:

Dont worry no offence taken
OK.

The Farsiwans would end up as the Tajiks in Uzbekistan then.
Are the Farsiwans the Tajik puddles in the north or the Tajik puddles in the west?

If they're the ones in the north, then Yes, apparently so.

A persecuted urban minority.
Are you sure that they'd be persecuted? After all, ethnic Russians don't appear to be overtly persecuted in Central Asia nowadays.

This is a cost and benefit situation. Is it worth splitting up countries which would then result in exposed minorities. We are into the hypothetical now and sure these Farsiwans could be moved (forcibly or voluntarily) to the Iranian Khorasan province or the new Tajik state in the north and they could do well there. However what if they want to stay in the land of their ancestors. It is a terrible predicament for such groups.
Would the Farsiwans prefer to live under Taliban rule, though? I mean, if it comes down to a choice between two bad options, I am unsure that living as persecuted minorities would be the inferior option (considering that the alternative could be to live under Taliban rule). Of course, I do think that countries in Central Asia and elsewhere should be pressured in regards to improving their treatment of minorities.

Landlocked nations survive of course but often have to export import via air freight unless they have road connections to ports.
A road connection to ports in Iran through Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan would not be too difficult to build, correct? After all, it makes the most sense to use Iranian ports due to their proximity and due to the likely hostility that the Pashtun state in the south and Pakistan are going to have towards this Hazara state. Indeed, one would think that Iranians would be willing to help their fellow Shiite Hazaras in regards to letting them use their ports.

Would this new Hazara state have these capabilities.
Eventually, I don't see why not.

Uzbekistan inherited a well developed infrastructure from the Soviets.
True, but they appear to have been able to maintain their infrastructure after the Soviet withdrawal (in contrast to Sub-Saharan Africa, where a lot of infrastructure went into decay and ruin after the Europeans withdrew from there).

I don't see why exactly the Hazaras wouldn't likewise be able to maintain such infrastructure if the West or China will build it in their country and will educate the smartest Hazaras on how to maintain this infrastructure. Heck, Westerners and/or Chinese could help maintain this infrastructure in the initial years after independence.

Again NATO/US or whichever great power is overseeing the partitioning process would have to invest in the road and air infrastructure of a potential new Hazara state.
Yep. However, this doesn't seem like an insurmountable task. After all, the Soviets were able to build infrastructure in Central Asia and China appears to have been able to build infrastructure in its western provinces.

Of course, the West and/or China should probably build this infrastructure themselves since there is the possibility that if the Hazaras are tasked with doing this they will simply engage in corruption and waste all of this money on something else. Indeed, corruption appears to be a serious problem in Afghanistan--something which I certainly don't see changing even if Afghanistan will break up.

The problem is next to no Pakistani Pashtun wants to move to Afghanistan.
Even if only 1% of Pakistani Pashtuns would want to do this, though, that's still 300,000 people. That number of people could help provide a more cosmopolitan atmosphere to Afghanistan.

Otherwise, though, I agree with your point here.

They are well integrated into Pakistani society having risen to the ranks of generals, presidents heck even dictators of the country. The city with the largest Pashtun population today is not Kabul or Peshawar, it is Karachi far from Pashtun majority regions, due to recent migrations.
I already knew that. :)

Of course, the countryside around Karachi has very few Pashtuns, correct?

As for Afghanistan cleaning up its act, one would have hoped that pressure from NATO/US would finally make Kabul accept the border. Legally Afghanistan has accepted this border with the British (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Afghan_Treaty_of_1919). Post colonial nations under the uti possidetis principle of international law inherit legitimately the borders of their previous colonising nation. Afghanistan therefore has no legal claim to Pakistani territory. On top of that the people living in regions Afghanistan claims do not want to join Afghanistan. All Afghanistan has achieved through decades of irredentist policies is to antagonise Pakistan. Also when I say irredentist policies I mean the Afghan army invading Pakistani territory on several occasions thinking the local Pashtuns would rise against Pakistan in their favour.
So, what about making a continued NATO commitment to Afghanistan conditional on it accepting the current Afghanistan-Pakistan border?

Also, what's interesting is that, if Afghanistan were to actually succeed (virtually impossible, I know) in annexing the Pashtun-majority areas of Pakistan, Afghan Pashtuns would be outnumbered 2 to 1 by Pakistani Pashtuns in their own country. Indeed, is that really a good thing to want?

Page 539, Afghanistan, By Louis Dupree

Many Afghans today will blame outside occupiers (Soviets or today the US) for the country's current mess but in reality the reason why Afghanistan is a mess today can be sourced back to its irredentist policies in the 1940-70s period. If it accepts the border today then the US/NATO would have Pakistan as an actual ally in that conflict rather than the "frenemy" that it currently is. A strong Afghanistan backed by NATO/US arms seeking to expand its borders at the expense of neighbours is not in Pakistan's interest. It always surprises me how shocked "experts" on this region become when they find out Pakistan is not fully supporting NATO activities in Afghanistan.
OK.

That said, though, isn't Pakistan also worried about Indian influence in Afghanistan? Basically, I heard that Pakistan doesn't want to be encircled on two sides by India.

Not really, the Pakistani government simply hoped that religious figures controlling Kabul would be more pliable to accept the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan as they would be less likely to be affected by ethnic driven policies. As stated above Afghanistan invaded Pakistani territory on several occasions. However Pakistani Pashtuns have never demanded independence from the country so that was not a major concern. There have been autonomist parties seeking devolution of power but Pashtuns as stated above are part and parcel of the Pakistani military establishment and government. Why would they want to leave then. The reason however why across the border Pakistan supported religious groups was in the hope that as fellow Muslims they would be more pliable to see Pakistan as a friendly or at least neutral country than a hostile one as the previous ethnic driven regimes had done.
OK; understood.

Currently a number of countries in the region are part of same pacts and yet continue to remain hostile. Both Afghanistan and Pakistan are members of the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_Cooperation_Organization for example.
That's a good point, actually.

The Taliban is its own force today. People often mistaken Pakistani support for Pakistani control. This is far from the truth. Some of the key Taliban centres of operation are far away from the Pakistani border (notably so Kunduz). Also today the Taliban are far from only reliant on Pakistan. They have opened up offices in Qatar (a de facto embassy), have relations with Iran, Russia and other countries around. A decade or so ago maybe Pakistan could have brought the Taliban to the talking table. Today that is really not the case especially now that the Taliban know how weak Afghan government forces are and how reliant they are on NATO air support for success.
OK.

Also, are you suggesting that the U.S. should simply pack up its bags and withdraw from Afghanistan?

In addition to this, are Russia and Iran supporting the Taliban merely to hurt the U.S., or is there something deeper to this?

Finally, I hope that you would be willing to answer my question about a hypothetical Afghan entry into World War I and the consequences thereof.
 

SSDD

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
3,900
India
It is wrong to assume Afghanistan today is in bad shape because of their irredentist Movement. Afghanistan was pretty strong up to 1970s. It started as Pakistani leaders understanding future vulnerability against India, sought to get strategic depth. Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan provided them many proxies using them Pakistan hoped to have a subservient Afghanistan.

As early as 1950s Ayub Khan offered to have a union of Afghanistan and Pakistan, to have strategic depth.
 
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sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,249
Sydney
.
I suspect " the" Taliban is less an organization than a shifting galaxy of local allegiance
with a strong component of Pashtun from Pakistan crisscrossing the border pretty much at will

their main support is the duplicitous Pakistan junta whose policies as vague , opportunist , deeply involved in the opium trade and acting as the spearhead of radical Islam as a political fig-leaf
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
6,040
Portugal
Imperialism at work?
Yes, in its ugliest form.


EDIT:

I think computer games, the so called great strategy wargames contributed much to this lines of thinking. And we see this everyday at the forum.

People play those games, which are games, and ultra-simplified models of some reality and think that they can be transported to reality.
 
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