The consequences of announcing a timeline for withdrawal in Afghanistan

Rick Moran
Not surprisingly, both ally and enemy have taken stock of President Obama's mettle and found it wanting in Afghanistan.

President Karzai, realizing the old adage, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em," is now negotiating with the Taliban in order to "bring them into the political process." Since there is no way to achieve any kind of permanent "victory" before Obama cuts and runs from Afghanistan next year, the Afghan president has recognized reality and is apparently prepared to share power with those whose goal is to re-establish an Islamic state in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, this development has set off alarm bells both in Afghanistan and here at home because of the tribal and ethnic problems such an alliance would represent.

The Los Angeles Times:


Unconvinced of the United States' staying power in Afghanistan, Karzai is seeking a rapprochement with the Taliban movement, with the ultimate goal of drawing it into the political process. But his overtures have raised alarm among those who fear such a result could realign power along ethnic lines.The Taliban movement is drawn almost solely from Afghanistan's largest ethnic group, the Pashtuns. And leaders of the country's other significant minorities - Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras - are worried they may be left out in the cold as Karzai moves to woo insurgents and consolidate his base of support among fellow Pashtuns.

"I think Karzai feels that his power is not 100% stable anymore, and for that reason, he needs to reach out to the armed opposition," said lawmaker Shukria Barakzai. "That seems to be the motivation."

It is a change in strategy for the Afghan leader who, last summer, sought reelection by trying to forge alliances across the ethnic spectrum. But massive election fraud tainted his victory, and in his weakened state, he has found himself unable to deliver on campaign promises.

Some of those allies are now distancing themselves - or breaking outright with the Afghan leader. This month, the influential Hazara politician Haji Mohammed Mukhaqiq, a onetime backer, delivered a blistering condemnation of Karzai at a rally, calling his presidency illegitimate.

Just what Afghanistan needs at this moment in history; and ethnic conflict. It's just one more unintended consequence of Obama's shortsighted and dangerous decision to announce America's withdrawal a year ahead of time and not based on any developments on the ground.



Not surprisingly, both ally and enemy have taken stock of President Obama's mettle and found it wanting in Afghanistan.

President Karzai, realizing the old adage, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em," is now negotiating with the Taliban in order to "bring them into the political process." Since there is no way to achieve any kind of permanent "victory" before Obama cuts and runs from Afghanistan next year, the Afghan president has recognized reality and is apparently prepared to share power with those whose goal is to re-establish an Islamic state in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, this development has set off alarm bells both in Afghanistan and here at home because of the tribal and ethnic problems such an alliance would represent.

The Los Angeles Times:


Unconvinced of the United States' staying power in Afghanistan, Karzai is seeking a rapprochement with the Taliban movement, with the ultimate goal of drawing it into the political process. But his overtures have raised alarm among those who fear such a result could realign power along ethnic lines.

The Taliban movement is drawn almost solely from Afghanistan's largest ethnic group, the Pashtuns. And leaders of the country's other significant minorities - Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras - are worried they may be left out in the cold as Karzai moves to woo insurgents and consolidate his base of support among fellow Pashtuns.

"I think Karzai feels that his power is not 100% stable anymore, and for that reason, he needs to reach out to the armed opposition," said lawmaker Shukria Barakzai. "That seems to be the motivation."

It is a change in strategy for the Afghan leader who, last summer, sought reelection by trying to forge alliances across the ethnic spectrum. But massive election fraud tainted his victory, and in his weakened state, he has found himself unable to deliver on campaign promises.

Some of those allies are now distancing themselves - or breaking outright with the Afghan leader. This month, the influential Hazara politician Haji Mohammed Mukhaqiq, a onetime backer, delivered a blistering condemnation of Karzai at a rally, calling his presidency illegitimate.

Just what Afghanistan needs at this moment in history; and ethnic conflict. It's just one more unintended consequence of Obama's shortsighted and dangerous decision to announce America's withdrawal a year ahead of time and not based on any developments on the ground.