One of the most challenging issues in the course of current US/NATO military engagement in Afghanistan has been the issue of permanent strategic cooperation between Kabul and Washington. The issue was brought about because of instant worries about the so-called spoil of democratic achievement made during past ten years. In 2001, when Taliban regime was ousted by militarily accurately orchestrated attack of US, large numbers of countries volunteered to make economic, political and military assistance to develop and strengthen the naïve democratic establishment. That scale of enthusiasm among western countries was due to a grimy picture about growing terror networks, which have developed on the basis of Political Islam or Islamic ideology for designing a new order for all Islamic countries, or perhaps, the world.
The prospective of such an ideology and establishments or organizations which are based on such philosophy deemed terribly destructive. The experience of all radical ideologies was enough to guess about coming disasters of extremism and Islamic fundamentalism. To protect the world from such growing ideology which already symbolized in the political establishment of Taliban regime, the international community came together to oust the regime as well as eliminate the entire safe heavens for all those who believed on such an ideology.
To realize the objective, the first and foremost step was to topple the regime—as they successfully did. But, unfortunately the vital second and third steps, which have been to eliminate hideouts and start a social and cultural reform through establishment of strong democratic institutions, was not realized as they should have been.
Considering the achievements, but the feudal and communal-based linings of social and cultural structure of Afghan society proved to be much resistant to undergo a rapid change. However, Afghan people enjoy broader liberty and freedom, but this enjoyment is frequently disturbed by communal-based controversies. For instance, the parliament of Afghanistan whose members are elected on the basis of democratic process, but several time, even during this year, dialogue and discussion were made by shouting and punches. It should be noticed that right after 2001, people used to at least pretend to be more democratic. Perhaps that was part of inherent quasi-revolutionary changes that occur. As the time passed and democratic noise and clatter clashed with Afghani tradition, which shaped during past 30 years of civil and chaos, it receded back and eroded a bit. But even right after such erosion, the revival of democratic process does not progress conveniently.
The third issue which I noticed above was elimination of Taliban hideout. US unliterary stepped ahead to end the political deadlock in Afghanistan after 2009 president election, as it was the top priority of Obama's agenda. During 2009 and 2010, huge efforts made by all to help the accelerated process and decided to deal heavy blows to militants' establishment in a scale that would not be able to re-establish themselves. Military surge started and number of foreign military involvement crossed the border of 150,000. During the same period, some of NATO members succumbed to mounting domestic pressures to withdraw their military from Afghanistan and end hurting military families anymore in a land, which depicted as evil land and graveyard of history emperors. Therefore, the increasing military casualties, on one hand, and economic recession caused by 2008-US bubble burst-up on the other hand, have destroyed their earlier enthusiasm to fight for the safety of world and make humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians. As expenses of war in Afghanistan has grown up beyond tolerance of some, and the military casualties that suffered during past ten years have mounted pressure on ruling parties to reassess their strategic policies.
The re-assessment made, and it was nothing rather than gradual military withdrawal. However, I support military withdrawal and it would be in interest of both Kabul and international communities to so-called stick to Afghanization policy because this policy on one hand, justify the political independence of Afghanistan and restricts the realm for those who recruit on the basis of argument that Kabul government is indeed an American government, on the other hand, decrease tremendously the economic expenses and military casualties for foreign friends.
But following this strategy the vital concern remains unmet—Taliban-led militants resurgence, which will be a catastrophe for both international community and Afghanistan. What we want from international community is commitment to prevent such a reversal move by any possible means. One of those means is strategic cooperation which is suggested by US and welcomed by Afghan officials as well as domestic intellectual circles. But such a strategic cooperation guarantees the protection of democratic process and strengthening of national government, which will be in danger of communal and ethnic rivalries in lack of cooperation.
But, the strategic cooperation, as it protects the interest of both US and Afghanistan, has caused worries among neighboring countries. Both Pakistan and Iran, two potentially vital and effective countries in domestic issues, have directly and indirectly warned Kabul officials of such cooperation which deem as against their interest. Perhaps, they are trying to bring it into deadlock, if possible, if not lobby Kabul officials to consider their interest in the context of such strategic contract.
However, Kabul officials continuously ensured them such convention of such cooperation would never put their interest in threat, but seemingly they can not a lot depend on such promises. In this juncture, U.S. has interfered. On Monday, May 02, 2011, US Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman has said his country is not in quest of permanent military bases in Afghanistan and neighboring countries need not to worry in this regard. But how much the statement of Grossman can relief neighboring countries is not known yet.