Archive for the ‘Afghanistan’ Category

Inclusivity: Vital for negotiations in Afghanistan

By Heela Najibullah

As a student in peace studies, any initiative to curb violence through peaceful means is a subject of interest for me. But yesterday, the news that the U.S. government has agreed to engage directly in peace talks with the Taliban caught my attention for three reasons in particular:

1) Who are the actors participating in the negotiations – is the U.S. an actor in the peace talks, a negotiator, a mediator or all the above?

2) What are the roles of the Afghan government and the people of Afghanistan in this transition?

3) Why was the U.S.’ willingness to negotiate met with an attack on U.S. soldiers by the Taliban, putting the group’s long awaited objectives to negotiate with the U.S. directly in jeopardy?

While analyzing the current situation surrounding the reconciliation process in Afghanistan and peace talks with the Taliban, instead of feeling optimistic for potential peace in my country, I became highly concerned.

Why? Read the rest of this entry »

Against a third world war – constructively

By Johan Galtung

From Grenzach-Wyhlen, Germany

The probability of a devastating Third World War is not zero, but very far away from 100%. Let us explore why.

The worst case scenario is a world war between the West–NATO, USA, EU with Japan-Taiwan-S. Korea–on the one hand, and the East—SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization), Russia, China, Central Asia, with the observers India, Pakistan, Iran. With 4 vs 4 nuclear powers, and West vs Islam as a major theme.

In the center is the explosive mix of a divided territory, and a divided capital, by a wall.

We have been there before: the Cold War, Atlantic and Pacific theaters; 3 vs 2 nuclear powers, and West vs Communism as major theme.

In the center was the explosive mix of a divided Germany, and a divided capital, by a wall; and a divided Korea, by a zone.

And yet no direct, hot war, except by proxies; Korea, Viét Nam. Why? Read the rest of this entry »

The last opportunity for peace in Afghanistan

By Jonathan Power

In Afghanistan the coalition of Western armed forces has lost 3,000 soldiers during its 10 years of war. In comparison the Soviet Union lost 15,000 during its 9 year long war between 1979 and 89. The Soviet Union politically had not much to show for it and it is a safe bet to say that the US and their NATO allies, unless they pull their finger out, will not have much on the political front to show for it by the time they complete in 2014 the withdrawal that has already begun.

As did the Soviet Union the US and NATO will leave behind better roads, schools, health clinics and the rest. In fact the last few years there has been a remarkable increase in Afghanistan’s growth rate with infant mortality falling fast and the number of children being educated rising rapidly but politics has a habit in Afghanistan of short-changing humanitarian gains.

But does this have to be so? Read the rest of this entry »

Getting out of Afghanistan

By Jonathan Power

There is an old Soviet joke from the time of the Red Army attempted occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s: “The past might be unpredictable, but the future is certain”. The Americans and other NATO countries might reflect on this. Obviously the French with their love of word play have and are pulling out their substantial number of troops before the end of the year. Read the rest of this entry »

US-Pakistan-Afghanistan – A global perspective

By Johan Galtung

Washington, Carnegie Endowment, 18 April 2012

Ladies and gentlemen,

First, thanks to the American Muslim Association Foundation for organizing a forum on this controversial topic in the heart of Washington!

You have given me the global perspective on this panel, taking into account much space and time; kind of einsteinian. Seeing the world from above, five trends are talking as backdrop, context, for the theme: the fall of the US empire; the de-development of the West; the decline of the state system in favor of nationalisms from below and regionalisms from above; the rise of the Rest; and the rise of China.

And then, spiraling down toward the ground, Read the rest of this entry »

Way to end war in Afghanistan

By Jonathan Power

After the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979 and got totally bogged down there was a joke circulating in Moscow. “Why are we still in Afghanistan? Answer: We are still looking for the people who invited us”.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, architect of US policy in Afghanistan when he was President Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor, was convinced Afghanistan would become the Soviet Union’s Vietnam. In fact the Soviet Union’s Vietnam has become America’s Afghanistan.

There is truth in both these cynical observations. And there are lies, distortions and self-delusion built into the narrative. Only Russia has been more or less honest. Under President Mikhail Gorbachev it decided to cut its losses and withdraw and was open about the reason it did so.

Today the debate in the US is contorted. Read the rest of this entry »

Afghanistan: The war turns pathological – Leave!

By Richard Falk

The latest occupation crime in Afghanistan is a shooting spree on March 11 by a lone American soldier in the village of Balandi in the Panjwai District of Kandahar Province of Afghanistan. 16 Afghan civilians, including women and children, were shot in their homes in the middle of the night without any pretense of combat activity in the area.

Such an atrocity is one more expression of a pathological reaction by one soldier to an incomprehensible military reality that seems to be driving crazy American military personnel on the ground in Afghanistan. The main criminal here is not the shooter, but the political leader who insists on continuing a mission in face of the evidence that it is turning its own citizens into pathological killers. Read the rest of this entry »

Koran burning in Afghanistan: Mistake, crime, and metaphor

By Richard Falk

On February 20, 2012 several American soldiers, five having been identified as responsible at this point, took some Islamic writings including several copies of the Koran to a landfill on Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan where they were burned. As soon as Afghan workers on the scene realized that Korans were being burned, they recognized what was happening as an act of desecration, and launched an immediate protest. The protest spread rapidly throughout the country, and turned violent, producing at least 30 Afghan deaths, as well as five dead American soldiers that also produced many non-lethal casualties. Read the rest of this entry »


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