Saturday, November 03, 2012

U.S. Needs Muslim Allies (esp. to deal with Afghanistan): Sensible piece by my colleague Husain Haqqani

Excerpts from "Why the U.S. Needs Muslim Allies" in WaPo, Nov. 1, 2012:
"Using drones to find and kill al-Qaeda leaders already known to U.S. intelligence will not end the war, either. Eventually, the United States will have to find Muslim allies who help limit the influence of ideas or organizations that turn some young Muslims into terrorists. Washington has made few efforts toward that end, depending on friendly autocrats or whoever manages to get elected instead of working to strengthen modernizing democrats who share Western values. Governments in the Muslim world would also have to deny terrorist groups the havens they enjoy now and shut down the organized recruitment and training of future terrorists.
"Taliban leader Mohammad Omar is frequently reported to have said, “Americans have the watches, but we have the time.” By announcing the deadline for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, the Obama administration has effectively told al-Qaeda and the Taliban how long they have to wait for the Americans to depart.... 
"Time is needed to raise an effective Afghan national army able to secure the country....
"Consider also that the impending U.S. withdrawal provides little incentive for Pakistan’s military to revisit its ambitions in Afghanistan. Although the Taliban increasingly threaten Pakistan, the Pakistani military and intelligence services continue to make distinctions among groups of Taliban and jihadis and considers some of them strategic allies. Pakistan is still clinging to hopes of greater influence over Afghanistan with the help of various Taliban factions after the withdrawal."

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