Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The Taliban “Spring Offensive” – Beginning of a civil war or a New Afghanistan?

Usamah Bin Laden is dead, along with most of Al-Qaeda’s leadership; Anwar al-Awlaki is also dead, and after a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Arabs are calling for freedom and democracy on the streets. A suitable time for reflection, and one would expect the Taliban to reflect on the strategy of armed struggle to impose Sharia laws with an iron fist as a way forward. But, it seems business as usual for them, and so they began their “spring offensive” last week, the biggest offensive for a decade on Kabul, targeting the British, US and German embassies as well as the parliament building and the NATO military camp. Concurrently, 100 Taliban fighters attacked a prison inside Pakistan releasing about 400 Taliban fighters.

For sure the current regime in Afghanistan has the stamp ‘made in USA’ with a sell by date - it is very fragile. The US is keen to withdraw its forces sooner, rather than later, as it is forced to cut its war budget facing a mountain of debt. This is all building up to a significant turning point in Afghanistan, and a good time for the various parties to consider about bringing peace and prosperity for all in the country. However, the signs look ominous with the Taliban offensive. In anticipation of the vacuum that will be left by the vacating US forces, the various factions seeking to protect tribal interests may engage militarily, eventually descending back to civil war. 

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