Strange puzzle in Afghanistan

16:33, May 17, 2011      

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Although the deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan is around the corner, the actual development of the situation in Afghanistan has made U.S. policymakers and its allies hesitant to make the decision. The War in Afghanistan, which is considered by many neoconservatives as an opportunity to "reform the world order" may soon become a nightmare.

The United States and its allies have regarded Afghanistan as the hub for the decisive battle between the Western ideology of "universal values" and extremism for many years. They believe that this is different from the "victory without fighting" strategy during the Cold War and that they can only achieve victory through armed combat.

They have even formulated follow-up plans under the name of the "Greater Middle East." Judging their own strength and that of their allies, the United States believes completing these projects is only a matter of time. However, the reality of the situation is very different from the plans of U.S. strategists.

Bin Laden’s death is certainly good news for the war against international terrorism. However, even the most optimistic people find it difficult to affirm that this will lead to the collapse of Al-Qaeda much less a solution the Taliban issue, which is the most important basis for the decision-making of the United States and its allies in Afghanistan.

Whether Obama admits it or not, his decisions about Afghanistan will be closely connected with his efforts to seek reelection. Obama will bear a heavy political price if he makes improper decisions that trigger a resurgence of the Taliban or allow the situation in Afghanistan to get out of control. Therefore, the issue of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan has become a very popular topic.

The Afghan dilemma once again proves the complexity of international politics. The superpower fought hard in the once peaceful Islamic country and drew a line between friends and enemies. The line is changing constantly as the situation changes and will continue to change in the short term because the "light at the end of the tunnel" is still far away. Nations have no permanent friends or permanent enemies, only permanent interests.

However, it is unclear what "permanent interests" all parties involved in the Afghan issue are pursuing. Leaders of U.S. allies may find it hard to explain clearly to domestic constituencies why they decided to send armed forces to Afghanistan, a country thousands of miles away from their borders.

U.S. forces killed Bin Laden and Afghanistan wants to start fresh and shed its old image as a "terrorist state." However, this mainly depends on the U.S. policy toward Afghanistan. The superpower's foreign policy is based on its assessment of benefits as well as the international and domestic situation, but obviously it has been lost in a maze and does not have a clue about its next steps in Afghanistan.

The delicate situation in Afghanistan has posed a major threat to both the country itself and its neighbors. They share common interests in combating terrorism as well as promoting economic development and non-governmental exchanges. It will be difficult but important for its neighboring countries to carefully consider all variables and to develop effective risk response strategies in the post Bin Laden era. However, the precondition for their success is that the United States should be transparent enough in certain fields. If the United States plans to sacrifice the interests of other countries for its own benefits, it is almost certain that its plan will not succeed.

By People's Daily Online
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