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October 30, 2006



Musharraf's been shoveling chickens to the crocs for a long while now. That aside could you clarify your statement regarding "foreign troops?"

John Robb

NATO. While a long fight (and potential loss) in Afghanistan would be bad, the loss of Pakistan would be worse. We are in triage at this point.

TM Lutas

The fight is over Pushtun nationalism. The Pushtuns are like the Kurds, split across multiple nations. Afghanistan supports Pushtun nationalism, has for decades. Pakistan has fought it, has for decades. Any discussion of this subject without broaching the Durand line and its consequences is not rooted in reality.

Now the US is in a tight spot because we support the Pakistan position on the Durand line (as does 99% of the world) but we support Afghan opposition as to how Pakistan is manifesting its position (persistent ISI attempts to throw a stick in the governing wheels of Afghanistan so it remains forever too weak to do anything about the Durand line). This is a difficult situation but it is one that has been brewing for a century.


Thanks for the clarification. I agree with your triage analogy. I would say that success in Afghanistan can only result in further destabilization of Musharraf's tenuous hold. Action in NW Pakistan (covert, overt, Paki and/or NATO)seems both non sequitur and logistically sound depending on which element of stability you want to foster or attain (Paki or Afghani.)I understand and agree that Pakistan is the larger elephant in the room (what with nukes and all) but given what I stated above is there any hope of achieving both?

TM, wasn't the Durand line a means to appease the Pashtun in Afghanistan? Seems more like a strategic (despite it's history) doctrine that, while a factor, is superceded by the sectarian aspect seen today. Of course I don't know much about it and so welcome correction.

TM Lutas

subadei - While it is not conclusive, the wikipedia article of the same name (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durand_Line) seems to argue against your interpretation. Since pashtuns exist on both sides of the line, I really can't see why they would want to divide up their own tribes into two nations. If they demanded it, I believe that they would be unique in having done so.

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