It won’t be the Afghan government that fills the security vacuum. As became the template for the decade to follow in other countries, the U.S. greatly underestimated the Afghan population’s support for the Taliban, for Sharia, and for jihad for the sake of imposing it. That is in large part because the U.S. greatly underestimated the content of Sharia, accepting a sugar-coated, vapor-ware Sharia — what is at best an academic, drawing-board conception of what Sharia, could, would, or should be according to agenda-driven apologists, and at worst an outright lie — as what it really has been in practice all these centuries.
“Taliban “poised to retake Afghanistan” after NATO,” by Hamid Shalizi and Mirwais Harooni for Reuters, February 1:
KABUL (Reuters) – The U.S. military said in a secret report that the Taliban, backed by Pakistan, are set to retake control of Afghanistan after NATO-led forces withdraw, raising the prospect of a major failure of Western policy after a costly war.
Lieutenant Colonel Jimmie Cummings, a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, confirmed the existence of the document, reported on Wednesday by Britain’s Times newspaper and the BBC.
But he said it was not a strategic study.
“The classified document in question is a compilation of Taliban detainee opinions,” he said. “It’s not an analysis, nor is it meant to be considered an analysis.”
Nevertheless, it could be interpreted as a damning assessment of the war, dragging into its 11th year and aimed at blocking a Taliban return to power.
It could also be seen as an admission of defeat and could reinforce the view of Taliban hardliners that they should not negotiate with the United States and President Hamid Karzai’s unpopular government while in a position of strength.
The U.S. military report could boost the Taliban’s confidence and make its leaders less willing to make concessions on demands for a ceasefire, and for the insurgency to renounce violence and break ties to al Qaeda.
But Britain’s Kabul Ambassador William Patey wrote on his Twitter feed that “if elements of the Taliban think that in 2015 they can take control of Afghanistan they will be in for a shock.” He did not say if he was referring to the document.
Hours after the Times report, the Afghan Taliban said that no peace negotiation process had been agreed with the international community, “particularly the Americans.”
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement that prior to any negotiations, confidence building measures must be completed, putting pressure on Washington to meet demands for the release of five Taliban in U.S. custody.
The hardline Islamist movement also said it had no plans to hold preliminary peace talks with Afghanistan’s government in Saudi Arabia, dismissing media reports of talks in the kingdom.
The U.S. military said in the document that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) security agency was assisting the Taliban in directing attacks against foreign forces.
Reasserting control over the country would be more difficult a second time for the
Taliban, however, with Afghan police and soldiers expected to number about 350,000 beyond 2014 and some foreign troops likely to remain, including elite forces.