Thursday, December 29, 2011

Similarities and Differences Between Withdrawal of Russian and US Forces

Russians started withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1367 Hijri (1988). Later, the Afghan Government fought the opponents alone until 1371 (1992) and defeated them in the month of February, the same year. Now, the history is about to repeat itself. Some indications are emerging that after the withdrawal of the United States, whether or not the Afghan Government will prolong? To answer these questions it is necessary to analyze the past and present.
With the Russian arrival in Afghanistan, comparatively general uprising was started from north to south and east to west of the country. The uprising was initially at public level. However, later, Jihadist organization came to fore. Currently, only the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and a portion of Hizb-e-Eslami are fighting against the government. During the Russian period, mujahidin were supported by the neighboring countries, the Arab world, Western Europe, the United State, China, and almost half of the world. However, no country openly sympathizes with the Taliban. The Pakistani Governments and Iran have been blamed. However, they never accepted these allegations.
Mujahidin’s Control
Following the war, former mujahidin were equipped with the spirit of Islam and Jihad. Government forces also had the spirit of patriotism. A proof to it is that in 1367 (1988), mujahidin carried out a fierce attack on Jalalabad. At that time, Nangarhar local government units surrendered. Only the national security and police units protected Jalalabad. The military guards coming to Kunar from Jalalabad were also cooperating with them. Mujahidin had taken control of the airport and had reached the city gate. In this war, Pakistani forces also supported mujahidin logistically. It is said that their artillery was also used in the war.
The time was close when the entire Jalalabad would have fallen into the hands of mujahidin. Dr Najibullah ordered 9th battalion, controlling the road security of Jalalabad, to reach Jalalabad. The first group of this battalion, which reached there was Group-155. Its commander was Arozgai Asadullah. The brave army commander of Nangarhar asked him to defend the airport. Assadullah said: I will object it. Commander asked how many men do you have? He had about 250 troops. He maintained his troops on Pica and other weapons. Then he started communicating with him. During the telephonic conversation, another language was heard. He asked his troops, if they understand that language. They said yes, they are speaking Urdu. He asked whose language is it? Troops replied: of Pakistanis. Asadullah said: Pakistanis have attacked our homeland. Homeland is like a mother. Those of you who respect the dignity of mother should stand up with me; if you do not, you are free to go. All the troops said: we will fight.
Commander Asadullah said: we will be fighting in standing position. There will be no lying or kneeing position. Injured and dead will not be carried out. Similarly, we will fight the enemy face to face. Then, he led and the troops followed him. They advanced for 2.5-km. They repulsed the enemy. All of them were killed. However, many of the enemy personnel were massacred.
Defeat of Mujahidin
The offensive of these 250 troops later caused the defeat of mujahidin. They were only fighting in the name of homeland and not for the national ideology. At that time, the government forces were equipped with the spirit of patriotism. They were taking mujahidin as enemies of the homeland. They were observing that mujahidin were setting ablaze schools, destroying bridges, uprooting electricity towers, killing teachers, same as the Taliban are doing now. However, right after the fall of Dr Najib's government, mujahidin started looting and plundering across the country, and proved their enmity with the homeland.
In March, Interior Minister General Bismillah said: "There is lack of patriotic spirit in army and police". Earlier, military commanders used to be patriotic. They were not looters. They were real men and were equally treating their troops, without any differences. However, now situation is not the same. Probably, due to the same reason, soldiers are less patriotic now than before. When Russians were withdrawing from the country, there were thousands of tanks, hundreds of transport and combat air-crafts, hundreds of helicopters, equipped artillery, Luna, (military) equipment, Scud missiles, and complete resources and possibilities of anti-air craft were in control of the Afghan Government. However, now our army does not have weapons, not even Pica and RPG.
UN Peace Plan
With the well maintained army of that time, an active and dynamic president like Najibullah was working for the country. He himself fought a war as a leading commander. However, President Karzai does not posses similar physical capacity or a consistence vision. He keeps on changing his statements. At times, he becomes furious and at other moment a cool minded person. Equipped army, high morale of troops, strong president, and fair administration was the bases of prolonging the rule of Najibullah. However, his government was not toppled because of mujahidin but internal conspiracies. Initially, the coupe d'├ętat by Shahnawaz Tanai broke the backbone of his government. Later, the coalition between General Momin, Dostam, Syed Kian and Ahmed Shah Masud limited the writ of the government to Northern part of the country. General Nabi Azimi and Karmal's cooperation blunt the UN peace plan, and forced Dr Najibullah to resign.
Can the Hamid Karzai government sustain after the US withdrawal? According to the aforementioned points, now the opponents of the government are limited to two confronting political groups. They do not have support from any international element. They do not enjoy greater support because of the incidents of setting the schools on fire, destroying bridges, roads, and hospitals, and suicide attacks. The Taliban do not have capacity for face to face fight. They can only conduct sniper and suicide attacks. They can only be caught through intelligence and detective information. The government forces are incapable against them and do not have air forces and air defense. They do not have cannons, tanks, and other heavy weapons. Above all, the soldiers are not as loyal as they should be. Another good point is that there is no excuse for the government to fight against the Taliban after the US withdrawal. Most of the Taliban will surrender due to the peace talks.
Following the Russian withdrawal, Jihadist organizations told their fighters that the government has loyalties to Russians; therefore, we need to do Jihad against them. They leveled decree of infidelity against Dr Najib. Mjahidin did not clear their hearts for Dr Najib no mater how many testimonies he was making. However, now no one suspects Karzai. It is being said that he offers Tahajud Prayer (mid night prayer). Therefore, he sleeps until 0900 and does not attend his office.
After the Russian withdrawal, the Afghan Government was left alone. Only the Soviet Government was supporting it. Now, when the United States will withdraw, the entire world will support Afghanistan. As we have trained ex-army soldiers, they can be reappointed in army and their expertise can be utilized. Our former Army officers are accustomed with the Russians weapons. If heavy weapons are taken from Russia, three years is not a long time to establish air force and build air defense. Until our air force is not self sufficient, the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) can take the responsibility of country's air force and army. The government can maintain its troops for patriotism.
Financial Support
It is only possible if the Taliban are propagated against their crimes. The Taliban should be shown videos of them killing the people, setting ablaze the schools, and destroying the public welfare infrastructure. They should be forced to realize that they should not forget the sacrifices of the people. On the other hand, those soldiers who have been martyred for the sake of homeland, their families should be provided financial support. By doing so, soldiers will be free of the worries of their families' sustenance. As the Taliban cannot fight face to face, and stress upon suicide and sniper attacks; therefore, the government should make its intelligence stronger. If all this is done, then there is a greater possibility that the government can stay for a longer period. However, weak leadership of Karzai is a matter of concern. If he cannot do it, he should find an active, dynamic, and strong person for war strategy and administration.

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