PRESIDENT OBAMA yesterday announced a ‘comprehensive new strategy for Afghanistan Pakistan’.
He deliberately linked the two countries together, to try to show that there could be no victory in Afghanistan until the war was spread into Pakistan and millions of Pakistani workers taken on and defeated.
Speaking ‘clearly and candidly’ Obama admitted that after ‘more than seven years since the Taleban was removed from power yet war rages on and insurgents control parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan.’
‘And, most painfully, 2008 was the deadliest year of the war for American forces.’
But more is to come. ‘Multiple intelligence estimates have warned that Al-Qaeda is actively planning attacks on the United States’ homeland from its safe haven in Pakistan.’
So it is the ‘enemy’ inside Pakistan that is going to have to be dealt with.
Again, ‘The future of Afghanistan is inextricably linked to the future of its neighbour Pakistan.’ The message is that unless the war is waged and victoriously concluded in Pakistan, the US faces more 9-11s.
Yet again, Pakistan may be several thousands of miles away, but ‘For the American people, this border region has become the most dangerous place in the world.’
Again and again Obama stressed the war must be expanded, emphasising: ‘So I want the American people to understand that we have a clear and focused goal to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan and to prevent their return to either country in the future.’
How is the job going to be done? ‘America must no longer deny resources to Afghanistan because of the war in Iraq. To enhance the military, governance, and economic capacity of Afghanistan and Pakistan, we have to marshal international support. And to defeat an enemy that heeds no border or laws of war, we must recognise the fundamental connection between the future of Afghanistan and Pakistan which is why I’ve appointed Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, who is here, to serve as special representative to both countries and work closely with General Petraeus to integrate our civilian and military efforts.’
Holbrooke has the required CV for the job. He is the US diplomat who organised the war to smash the Yugoslav Federation.
Obama stressed that ‘Pakistan needs our help in going after Al-Qaeda. . . And that’s why we must focus on military assistance on the tools, training, and support that Pakistan needs to root out the terrorists.
Holbrooke is to be the enforcer since ‘Pakistan must demonstrate its commitment to rooting out Al-Qaeda and the violent extremists within its borders.
‘We will insist that action be taken, one way or another, when we have intelligence about high-level terrorist targets. . . Pakistan’s government must be a stronger partner in destroying these safe havens, and we must isolate Al-Qaeda from the Pakistani people.’ Here Obama implies that the US will see to it that a ‘weak’ Pakistani government is removed.
He added: ‘These steps in Pakistan are also indispensable to our efforts in Afghanistan which will see no end to violence if insurgents move freely back and forth across the border.’
21,000 more US troops plus 3,000 British troops are on their way, or about to be sent, to the border areas with Pakistan, where no doubt they will be engaging in hot pursuit operations ‘to go after insurgents along the border.’
‘An Afghan army of 134,000 and a police force of 82,000’ are to be raised ‘so that we can meet these goals by 2011.’ Faced with a new Vietnam type war in central Asia workers in the UK must support the Afghan and Pakistani masses by organising industrial action to stop the war and bring back to the UK all British troops. There is not a moment to lose.