Contracting cycles of confusion: A fuller image of Afghanistan conflict

A summary:
Constable writes about the recent resignation of the Afghan National Security Advisor, Muhammad Hanif Atmar in her piece: Turmoil in the Afghan government’s security team raises worries about stability(Constable, 2018). He claimed that the resignation demonstrated a “deep conflict and confusion” in President Ghani’s security team over the question of how to protect Afghanistan against an insurgency that could potentially end the 17-years conflict.
The author states that Afghanistan and the U.S. have refused to participate in the Moscow negotiation talks (supposedly scheduled for September 4, 2018) on the Afghan conflict because doing so would weaken national reconciliation within Afghanistan. Furthermore, she reports that President Ghani has asked Russian authorities to postpone the meeting, as the Afghan government was not ready to participate yet.
Additionally, Constable reports that analysts in the U.S. and Afghanistan sense that the chaos in Kabul can undermine President Ghani’s reliability as a partner in the eyes of the Trump Administration. This kind of sense is due to the Afghan administration’s inability to strengthen Afghan forces to change the balance of the prolonged war. She states that recent attacks by the Taliban on Ghazni, Faryab, and Kabul (or across the country) represent their heavy military and territorial gains. These attacks have caused discontent within the Afghan security team and led to the resignation of Hanif Atmar, who might join Ghani’s opposition in the future elections. The author quoted Amrullah Saleh, a political opponent of the Afghan administration, that “President Ghani lost an asset.” He quoted an unknown former U.S. official, who said that: “President Ghani’s decision to bring in a loyalist (Hamdullah Muhib) instead of an expert in the field, would weaken the rest of his tenure.”
Moreover, the author concludes by mentioning that the replacement of the U.S. troops’ commander, Gen. John Nicholson with Gen. Miller, and the appointment of Zalmai Khalilzad as the American envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, will likely bring a fresh U.S. look at the current state of the Afghan conflict. These changes will have an impact on the U.S. position regarding Pakistan’s mixed signals toward the U.S. and Russian involvement due to recent leadership changes.
An evaluation:
The old proverb goes “a river is made from drop by drop;”and so it is true about the accumulation of knowledge. Just like the addition of water drops make up a river; similarly, ideas inform our experiences and reflections to create knowledge. In his classic prolegomenon to history, The Muqaddimah, Ibn Khaldun discusses the importance of history for a civilization. This renowned author explicates the correct means to distinguish between false and true information because myths offer no originality or validity. He states that: “the jinn are not known to have specific forms and effigies. They are able to take on various forms. The story of the many heads they have is intended to indicate ugliness and frightfulness.
It is not meant to be taken literally.” Whether the jinn have a civilization and history can be a qualified question for comic-relief purposes. More importantly, he states that: “Only knowledge of the nature of civilization makes critical investigation of them possible. It is the best and most reliable way to investigate historical information critically and to distinguish truth and falsehood in it.”If events are reported as seen, then synthetic distortions can be avoided.
It is hoped to bear in mind that this article is limited to an evaluation of the correspondence summarized above. It is not the goal of this piece to criticize the transmitter of information because doing so is futile and independent of a critic alanalysis. As a result, one will not discuss policy options, i.e., how to better manage the ongoing war in Afghanistan.
The Islamabad based correspondent for the daily American newspaper Washington Post, Pamela Constable, who is also the President of the Afghan Stray Animal League – a non-profit organization that rescues street dogs and helpless donkeys in Kabul–appears quite tendentious in her (August 27, 2017) article: Turmoil in the Afghan government’s security team raises worries about stability. The author offers precarious assumptions cloaked with inflated terms in regards to the current state of the Afghan national security. The major assumptions include the following: a”deep conflict and confusion” in the Afghan security team, President Ghani’s “increasing isolation,” an apparent conflation of Mr. Atmar’s resignation with the replacement of U.S. Gen. John Nicholson by Lt. Gen. Austin Miller, a generalization of the Taliban’s strength on the battlefield relative to the Afghan defense forces, and a reduction of the armed conflict to political violence carried out by the Taliban alone. Additionally, the author’s word choices such as: “turmoil, chaos, deep confusion and conflict,” are largely exaggerative, to put it mildly. While the correspondence concerned with important issues surrounding the ongoing armed conflict in Afghanistan appears alarming at first glance, a closer examination reveals that its assumptions may need some substantiation. A more objective correspondence helps better inform audiences. Without any objectivity, a correspondence may lead to cycles of confusion.
 Hakim Jan
An Independent Researcher

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