Articles of the year 2008

The Detalibanization Of The North
Published on November 2008

The situation in Afghanistan and the Northern areas of Pakistan is similar, with identical terrain, weather, and peoples. Even the terrorist threat is the same, and emanates in ripples outward from these areas towards the settled areas of Pakistan

.Over the generations the Afghan threat which hung over India led to yearly incursions into the rich Indian plains, with raping and pillaging being the preferred winter sports for the marauding Afghans.

The land in the entire region is rugged and mountainous with little scope for farming. The local population has very little economic activity and no raw materials that they can develop. Their main asset is a strong and hardy work force, which is easily converted into a fierce soldier warrior, probably the finest in the world. Along with the poverty in the region it is the favorite recruiting ground for all the Fundamentalist forces in the world.

At the close of the last Afghan war when the Russians were defeated and expelled from Afghanistan, there was a vacuum which followed the departure of the US handlers of their Mujahideen armies. The funds being spread by the US also dried up.

Thus the way was paved for the entrance of Osama and his band of recently unemployed warriors, to take on a new cause, with a new enemy, and led to devastating consequences for the world. Starting with 9/11,the success of Osama's armies has been the unprecedented. The Might of the US and of their allies has been fought to a standstill in Afghanistan, and the armies of the West are restricted to areas around the airport with the streets of Kabul not safe from the suicide bombers.

And so a strategy has to be evolved that will bring Peace to the people of Afghanistan AND the Northern areas Pakistan. The two have to be dealt with together as their peoples and fates are intertwined and will conflict unless both are given equal treatment being equally deprived.

As there are no technical skills of any kind with the locals of the areas, and they are basically farmers tending to their fruit trees, it is proposed that they should be encouraged to grow that which they already know i.e their fruits. The quality of their walnuts and pine nuts are already well known, amongst the most expensive in the world, and could easily be multiplied manifold and these should be expanded in volume till they deliver a quantity that makes an impact on their economy. The high quality of their fruit stems from an unpolluted environment and the excellent soil. These items are highly valued amongst the people of the subcontinent and can be the basis for a thriving economy making the growth of poppies redundant.

To achieve these numbers the local produce should be offered at higher prices than are available--- and subsidized till a satisfactory effective balance be achieved to offset the poverty of the region. This can only be achieved by carefully installing genuinely honest officers to systemize the purchasing and export of the commodities so that the benefit is passed on to the farmers of the region.

This cost will certainly be far cheaper than the monies now being pumped into the military for their continued presence. Worse still a military solution is not a solution, for after Peace a sustainable economy must be put into place. One cannot bomb the area into Poverty and walk away. For poverty is a dangerous breeding ground and paired with religion the combination is lethal, the ripple effects spread far across the world. The Travel industry is one example of the world domination of fear and the increased security at all the airports, security that was not required twenty years ago.

It is therefore imperative that Afghanistan and the region is economically repaired. The only workable scheme is to dramatically shore up their fruit production so that they can make a decent living. Other wise they will continue to be a threat to world peace. The Farmers being Afghans as well are competent enough ( being well versed in war practices) to protect their tree against any Taliban raiders

The world powers should look into sustaining peace, otherwise they will in effect be the new war lords, reluctant to consider peace, as it goes against the nature of the beast.

Pakistan now stands on the brink of being the local warlord where in effect we have consumed huge amounts of our resources, and considered now as a bastion first against the Indians and now against the Taliban.

The enemy keeps changing garb, but the threat will always be there as required by any warlord. Now the Taliban is a real threat and steps must be taken to combat the prime cause for the rise of the Taliban—Poverty.