Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Afghanistan: Former FS Shyam Saran suggests India should align with Pakhtoon aspirations

sep 15th, 2010

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From: Ram Narayanan

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/shyam-saran-how-not-to-exit-afghanistan/408058/ 

BUSINESS STANDARD 

How not to exit Afghanistan

Aligning India with long-standing Pakhtoon aspirations may be a potentially potent lever

Shyam Saran / New Delhi September 15, 2010, 0:54 IST

Aligning India with long-standing Pakhtoon aspirations may be a potentially potent lever

At the recently concluded annual conference of the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) in Geneva (September
10-12, 2010), Henry Kissinger had a telling comment on the "exit strategy" being pursued by the US and its allies in Afghanistan. He said that the focus appeared to be more on exit and less on strategy. His strategy for a viable solution? A regional compact among key stakeholders that effectively sanitised Afghanistan from regional and great power competition. This would effectively give the country a neutral status, guaranteed by the international community and respected by the country's neighbours.

This sounds attractive but, in the present context, is not viable. It is important to recognise this because then for India the challenge will not be how to become part of some such exit strategy but rather how not to exit Afghanistan under different scenarios. Let us see why the Kissingerian strategy is unlikely to succeed.

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