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Petraeus’ exit impacts Afghan war

The exit of CIA director David Petraeus has major implications for the White House. In immediate terms, the ‘Benghazi wound’ is still open. The CIA reportedly advised the White House to plead initially that the murder of the US ambassador to Libya wasn’t a terrorist strike — an issue that raised dust in the last phase of Obama’s election campaign. 

The House Homeland Security Committee in Washington will hold hearings next week. President Barack Obama’s best bet was that Petraeus would defend the Administration’s case and hopefully douse the fire. On the contrary, Republicans will now hope that Petraeus may spill the beans. 

Petraeus’ departure would handicap the Obama administration when it comes to Afghanistan, where again his links to the Republican camp in the Congress helped Obama to defend the ‘surge’, which fell short of achieving durable results, but the Republicans chose to look away. Mitt Romney sidestepped the Afghan issue altogether. 
Petraeus was an ardent proponent of the drone attacks on the tribal areas of Pakistan. He wasn’t particularly liked by Pakistani top brass. Thus, the fate of the drone attacks hangs in the balance, which is a point of discord in the US-Pak ties. 
To be sure, a sigh of relief can be heard in the GHQ in Rawalpindi that Petraeus is no longer serving the Obama administration. This is happening at a crucial juncture when Obama is expected to ‘revisit’ the Afghan problem and the US’ relations with Pakistan. 

Pakistan will pull all stops to see that Obama shows a spirit of accommodation and recognizes its centrality in the Afghan endgame. Influential voices are already audible arguing for an easing of US pressure on Pakistan. 

Posted in Diplomacy, Politics.

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  1. Anonymous says

    Everybody was expecting the Hero General to chase heroin of a different kind.

    An opportunity may have got created to review the whole gamut of Af-Pak from a newer perspective. The drone attacks became inevitable primarily because Pakistan segmented terror setups into three kinds. Those who tried to capture power in Pakistan were dealt with ruthlessly, while the networks on the Afghan front were tolerated, while the outfits on India front actively encouraged.

    India, in order to avoid escalation, prioritize economic development, and create grounds for long term solutions, has wisely chosen defensive measures like improving the social fabric in the subcontinent to ward off threats; US opted for counter-offensive via drone attacks. India engaged with civil leadership in Pakistan while the dialogue of US was mostly with Pakistan defense establishment.

    The inability to perceive the historical bonds and cultural milieu which so strongly knits the SAARC region far more than the Silk route nations West and North of Afghanistan is startling. This led to a defective formulation of isolating Af-Pak region for direct intervention; while also inviting China to invest in those areas, particularly in Afghanistan where mega investments is reported being made by them in Copper mines.

    Once it is recognized that terror infrastructure suits Chinese strategic interests, and their investment into military-cum-terror establishment of Pakistan continues to rise in support of such rationale, there can be real movement in attenuation of terror.

    The eventual remedy is to facilitate cultural and economic integration of the two nations with all others in the region extending from Turkey to India.

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