Ex-Afghanistan envoy: The progress is extraordinary
October 3rd, 2012
11:26 AM ET

Ex-Afghanistan envoy: The progress is extraordinary

By Michael O’Hanlon, Special to CNN

Michael O’Hanlon is senior fellow at Brookings and author of The Wounded Giant: America’s Armed Forces in an Age of Austerity. The views expressed are his own.

A few weeks ago, Ryan Crocker visited Washington after completing his year-long tour as U.S. ambassador in Afghanistan, as well as a storied 38-year career in the Foreign Service during which he also served as ambassador to Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, Lebanon, and Pakistan. While Washington was caught up in everything from the Benghazi attacks to the presidential race to Congress’s brief visit to town before adjourning again to campaign, Crocker’s visit – and the subject of Afghanistan in particular – got relatively little notice.

That is regrettable. Crocker’s speech at the Carnegie Endowment on September 17, covered by CSPAN, and his public conversation with us at Brookings on September 18 were hugely informative and important. For those despondent about this war effort, they were moderately encouraging as well. There was, as usual, no naive optimism in Crocker’s remarks, no promise of an easy and quick win. Known affectionately if somewhat sardonically as “Mr. Sunshine,” a nickname first given him by President Bush, Crocker is famous for hard-hitting and extremely realistic assessments of the challenges facing America abroad. Those lucky enough to visit Iraq during the surge often remember a beaming Dave Petraeus standing beside a grim-faced Crocker, two very different personalities leading America’s greatest military turnaround since Inchon. So any hopeful words from Crocker merit particular attention.

And there were many, in fact. Crocker began by noting the enormous progress that Afghanistan has made since 2002, when Crocker did his first tour there as head of mission shortly after the overthrow of the Taliban. As he put it:

“You know, as we kind of gauge where we are in Afghanistan, we’ve got to do what we don’t do terribly well, which is take some perspective on it. I won’t take you back to Amanullah Khan and the 1920s, but I will take you back to my own experience, which was arriving in Afghanistan about 10 days after President Karzai got there from Bonn, the day after New Year’s 2002, and what it looked like then. And I’ve seen a lot of bad places, like Lebanon during the civil war – and this was worse. It was total, absolute, utter devastation. Driving in from Bagram, nothing but mud fields and destroyed houses. You dare not stray from what was left of the pavement of the road because of the minefields on both sides uncleared…No electricity, no water, no security forces, a completely dead economy, no nothing.

“So if the end of ’01/beginning of ’02 is your starting point, Afghanistan is looking beyond pretty good. If you were out there in May, you know, Kabul is a major South Asian metropolis: huge traffic snarls, commercial activity, sidewalks thronged, stores open, you know, 8 plus million kids in school, life expectancy vastly increased, close to 350,000 security forces in training or deployed. You know, the progress is extraordinary.”

Then there is the matter of those Afghan security forces. Hampered by illiteracy and corruption and ethnic tension, they are now also infamous in the United States for the insider attacks that have killed more than 50 NATO troops this year alone. Crocker hardly trivialized these problems. But he also provided vivid illustrations of how much those forces have grown and improved.

“The fact is in basically a period of just a little over three years, because we only really got serious, as you know, about sustained, large-scale training ’08/’09, well, what that has produced in a fairly short time is quite extraordinary. We have Afghan units leading in almost 50 percent of operations, and many of these are unpartnered. When we had the Koran incident out at Bagram, we went through a period of a couple of weeks in which we simply – “we,” the International Security Assistance Force – could not be in the field. We would just be gasoline on the fire. So Afghan forces had to deal with the protests on their own. They were not trained for it. They were not equipped for it, for riot control. They behaved very credibly and I think the surge bought the time for that training program to produce those kinds of results.”

Crocker also spoke of Afghanistan’s upcoming presidential race. While hardly predicting the imminent victory of an Afghan George Washington or Thomas Jefferson, he had some encouraging things to say on this subject too: “Politically, 2014 elections, everybody’s talking to everybody. Everybody is maneuvering. It kind of looks like American primaries. That’s not a bad thing...I think President Karzai is committed to leaving office in 2014, which obviously – and these are his own words – it’s essential for the legitimacy of the democratic process that in 2014 you have a president who is not named Karzai. He is thinking, again, very long term; he’s thinking of legacy. And I think, again, that has him focusing on not just an outcome, but a process that institutionally strengthens Afghanistan.”

Perhaps best of all was Crocker's assessment of Afghanistan’s people. Normally in Western debates, we emphasize how shallow this talent pool has become after 30 years of warfare as well as rampant corruption in Kabul today. Alas those harsh realities cannot be ignored. But consider again Crocker’s words:

“In terms of human talent, you know, I was surprised to find at least as great and very possibly greater depth and breadth of talent in Afghanistan than I did in Iraq. Some extremely capable ministers, very capable deputies underneath them, you know, wrestling with some of the most volatile and changeable politics you can imagine, more so than Iraq. You’ve met many of them in finance, in mining, in health, in education. I mean, these are people who, you know, could run just about anybody’s ministry.

“Then there’s that…new element. It’s the 20-somethings, the early 30-somethings; it’s the women, the immediate post-university generation and their younger brothers and sisters, and their older brothers and sisters to an extent. In other words, those who came of age in perhaps a volatile and dangerous, but, nonetheless, free and open Afghanistan with access to the Internet, with access to a plethora of television, radio stations, newspapers, and so forth, boy, they ain’t their daddies and mommies. And can be, as you’ve heard yourself, blistering on the subject of their daddies and mommies. They see a new Afghanistan. And I think one of our major obligations as an international community is to buy them the time to really make a difference in politics.”

Of course, to paraphrase Crocker from another time period, all of this is hard, and it’s hard every day. To underscore the difficulty of moving beyond the burdens of recent history, not only within Afghanistan but Pakistan as well, Crocker also quoted Faulkner – the past is never dead, in fact it’s not even past.” But for a country where America has invested so much, and still has such high stakes, Crocker’s restrained but still reassuring words should carry great weight in our future policy choices.

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  1. Mike Smith

    Ryan Crocker, the man whose job it was to tell absurd lies about Afghanistan, still as delusional as ever. When I worked as a Foreign Service Officer at State, his nickname behind his back was "Lyin' Ryan." Some things never change. When there are helicopters on the US embassy roof in Kabul in 2015, no one will remember that Ryan made ridiculous assertions about non-existent progress in Afghanistan, and he will be making $250,000 a year as a consultant for something-or-other.

    This is how foreign policy works in the United States: if you fail, you get promoted, if you were right, you get sent to Ougadougou for being a troublemaker. Which is why the US sucks so badly at foreign policy formulation: The people who are routinely wrong but say the right things are listened to, the people who are routinely right but say what others don't want to hear are marginalized. Ryan is the poster child for failed foreign policy.

    October 3, 2012 at 11:45 am | Reply
    • Barekzai

      @ Mark ......funny that, for as an Afghan abroad who is in touch with those on the ground, I receive the EXACT same assessment as that of Ryan Crocker from Afghans themselves! For the first time in three decades, not only are Afghans returning to their country for either work/business but also increasingly to either spend their retirements there or to holiday in, as my in-laws are doing right now. So Honest-Mark, what's your excuse for denying this reality? That Afghanistan remains vulnerable to violence is a given. However, it has far more to do with Iran and Pakistan's reluctance to see the nation pull through for different reasons, than any grass-root threats significant enough to bring the house down. If you're interested in helping Afghanistan, then I would suggest that you acknowledge the fact that whereas Afghanistan is a Nation that's been earned by the people, Pakistan on the other hand is a synthetic state that was inherited by the pliant servants of the British Raj. Any progress in Afghanistan will be immediately deemed a threat to Pakistan's very real vulnerability to Balkanization, which is why they'll keep the pot boiling for as long as it takes. We’ve heard a lot of bluster from Americans about taking out regimes that sponsor terrorism, yet the one state that stands out like a sore thumb as qualifying for it, is treated with mittens. This is a state that not only aids, abets and directs their Taliban proxies against Afghanistan and NATO, but it’s also a confirmed nuclear proliferator that hid Osama Bin Laden! Forget Ryan Crocker pal, when are YOU going to start telling it like it is? Balkanize Pakistan NOW and obliterate the Iranian regime YESTERDAY! Afghans will be with you all the way, without fail. Either do that or fold away America’s global dominance from the pages of history, by begging Ron Paul to come back as an independent candidate. Either remain relevant or not!

      October 3, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Reply
      • Mike Smith

        I would expect a Barakzai to be an ally of Karzai and tell lies for him, but even for a Barakzai, you're not too bright.

        What is the evidence of total failure? I will tell you the evidence of failure:

        After 11 years, there are barely 100,000 men in the entire Afghan National Army, despite many (proven) lies of the Pentagon and the MOD that there are more. All of them are illiterate, according to the UN, 75% of them are addicted to drugs.

        40 percent of the entire ANA deserts the army every year. The sergeants are the ones who can count to 10. The men are the dregs of society, the sweepings of the gutters, the Tajik boys who were thrown out of their villages for petty crimes.

        THE PROOF IS THE NON-EXISTENCE OF A NATIONAL ARMY, AND THE TOTAL ABSENCE OF ANY PASHTUNS IN THE ARMY.

        If the people are not willing to fight and die for their country and their government, the government will fail. There is your proof. No one is willing to fight for Karzai.

        Karzai is a nothing, a nobody. Only the underground Gay community in Afghanistan knew of him before 2001, and his nickname was "the Queen of Kandahar." His son Mir Wais was the product of artificial insemination, because he cannot do it with a woman,only with a bacha boy. All Pashtuns know this, even the Popalzai are ashamed of him.

        Only your cousin Shukria has any balls in your family. If she was a man, she would show you how to join the army and fight.

        October 4, 2012 at 6:55 am |
      • Ahmad Nazir

        aslam wa alikum barekzai bro! i just wanna clear one point bro that all these guys which posted negative comments about our country afghanistan in fact they r not eager that our country would be improved or has been improved but who cares specially as an afghan if they will offer me to come to STATES i swear i will reject it. i swear and i swear if the condition will progress like this. we have everything here thanks to allah everything security peace and stability of course its dangerious some places in south or west but inshallah that will be peaceful one day . its just like our country doesnt like unbelievers when they r coming to afghanistan something bad is happening to them and then they r criticizing like a child oh oh oh afghanistan is like this like that blah blah blah. I LOVE AFGHANISTAN . a middle finger for people who hate afghanistan.

        October 4, 2012 at 11:11 am |
      • Barekzai

        @ Ahmad Nazir ....Salam Wror/Beraadar .......all our ill-wishers and enemies combined can be sent into irrelevance when Afghans embrace forgiveness and unity as equals. We share no lack of blame for our own plight that's now reduced us even further to be played by lowly Pakistanis today. Yet keep in mind that a leopard does not give birth to a snake, therefore Afghans are the same people today as we were during pre-Islamic times. Afghans may be duped through religion, but the primary motivation underlying every Afghan is the quest for liberty.

        Afghanistan was the single most problematic nation facing the Arab Umayyad wishful conquerors. Like their Pakistani counterparts today, they were not motivated by Islam but conquest and greed. In fact, when the corrupt Umayyads went so far as to continue treating Afghan converts within their realm as Dhimmis by taxing them as such, the consequential Afghan rebellion it aroused was so intense that Abu Muslim Khorasani from the north toppled their Caliphate and replaced it with a far more superior Afghan led Abbasid empire with its capital in Baghdad. The rest of Afghanistan gradually converted to Islam under Afghans and not Arabs. Immense knowledge from our region was subsequently transferred into Arabia and Europe. Don't ever forget it that we Afghans are the sons of Eurasia's Arians and Turks who moved into the Caucuses and onwards to Europe hundreds of years ago, just as our people subsequently dominated the lands of Islam through the Abbasids, Ottomans, Ghorids, Ghaznavids,Suris, Abdalis and more. Don't ever forget who we are and what we're capable of. We're not "Pashtuns" and Tajiks" in ethnicity as wrongly assumed even by our own people, for that's merely a reflection of our contemporary language groups. Whether in the South or the North, we are the sons of assimilated Aryans and Turks who were the real rivals in our region. Even the Hazaras from Mongol stock had immense Turkish assimilation before Genghis Khan emerged. That makes us all a Eurasian family with a profound history to be proud of. Today, we must firmly unite against our primary enemy, which is Pakistan. Just as ancient Aryana's borders ended at the Indus River, so too does Loy Afghanistan's borders, make no mistake about it.

        Fighting the Munafiqeen who already occupy parts of our lands while waging relentless aggression upon our people is farz. As Afghans first and Muslims second, we must never allow anybody to walk over us. We owe it to our future and past to defend the nation. Zindabaad Afghanistan e bozurg!

        October 4, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
      • SayWhaaa

        Barakzai get a clue you afghans forget way too quickly who saved your sorry butts when the soviets had invaded and were pummeling you to death. Make no mistake that the soviets had total victory over you, it was only when Pakistan which provided training and the US which provided weapons and cash to the freedom fighters or "terrorists" nowadays did you ever recover some ground. Instead of blaming others take a look introspectively most of the world's opium comes from that excuse of a Muslim country, and the country is as divided as shattered glass. No that is not the fault of Pakistan, the US, or Islam. It is the highly backward culture that over-rules Islam.

        October 8, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • Barekzai

      @ Mike Smith (aka Honest Mike)

      To sum it up, you’ve directed rich allegations at Ryan Crocker for making points that happen to confirm feedback I’m personally getting from Afghans on the ground. It is within this context that I’ve questioned your honesty in light of your complete lack of evidence in backing up your wild allegations. That you’ve tried to qualify your views from a position of relative authority gives me all the more reason to question you. Yet in your reply, you’ve made assumptions that go as far as linking me with Hamid Karzai, delving into personal insults and producing even more wild allegations! If this is the best you can do, then I must acknowledge that you betray a persona that is feeble in temperament, quick to pass judgment and easily duped. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you’re a small man with an inflated sense of self importance. Surely the State Department can find better talent than you out of respect for the American tax payer.

      With respect to the ANA – a subject not discussed by Ryan Crocker – it is an absolute given that since the Pashtuns are first amongst equals, the military as power manifest must reflect that reality. A decade ago, the ANA began forming with the complete domination of the late Ahmed Shah Massoud’s militia which shared a direct relationship with the CIA as of the late 1980’s. I will not buy it for one minute that the ethnic war this brought about was not foreseen by the Americans who could have equally bypassed Pakistan in directly supporting a traditional Afghan Nationalist like Abdul Haq instead. Regardless, it is a given that the reckless warlords of the Northern Alliance have understandably sought to monopolize power over the ANA under American tutelage, while remaining over-represented in the Officer corps. It is equally true however that the numbers of Pashtun recruits have been steadily increasing. Yet what you allege beyond that point requires substantiation. For instance, what you claim to be a “TOTAL ABSENCE OF ANY PASHTUNS IN THE ARMY” is immediately contradicted by the fact that Pashtuns are absolutely visible in the ANA. It’s always been known amongst us that our unruly nature may render us as determined warriors but lousy soldiers. Afghans – and especially Pashtuns – have never been known to take orders well and especially so from occupying foreigners with their intentions concealed. In the current climate, a withdrawal of the bulk of NATO combat troops is not only warranted, but should have happened long ago or that the surge should have never taken place. What was all the hoopla about, expensive PR? I certainly do not subscribe to everything the US has done in Afghanistan. But that the US needs to stay the current course at the very least is a must.

      Afghans have proven for over a millennium that they could not only defend their nation against tyranny, but can equally spawn a myriad of empires that seems to be lost on people. The Pakis are not weary of us for lack of reason and the prevalent stupidity in the US media that plays along with Pakistani propaganda seeking to link their concerns with India is nothing short of farcical.

      What’s missing from the Afghan equation is America’s complete lack of public acknowledgement that it’s not an Afghan “civil war” they’ve apparently “stumbled” into, but an Afghan-Pakistani war that’s now entering its seventh decade! The Afghans found themselves at the losing streak, thanks to our own stupid Communists. Given this, the US Hyper-power’s insistence that its immediate objective has been to project its immense fire-power against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, merely serves to dignify them both. Had the US been clearly aligned with Afghanistan against Pakistan, then it would have been a different story. Any idiot – including you – knows full well that the US can eliminate the Taliban inside Pakistan but refuses to do so, notwithstanding the drones. I’m no fan of Karzai as you’ve foolishly alleged, but I cannot ignore both yours and your pliant media’s very evident character assassination of him as a consequence of his often repeated truthful assessment that the war needs to be fought not in Afghanistan but inside Pakistan. I’ve no doubt that the US seeks to marginalize Pakistan, but doing so while absorbing Afghan resentment that guarantees the State’s inertia – thanks to its sowing of distrust between the burgeoning state and rural Afghanistan – only adds to the problems. People like you merely expose yourselves as serving one purpose, which is to silence Karzai.

      You’ve brought into the discussion Shukria Barekzai for whom I’ve immense respect, although no less than I have for Amrullah Saleh. It needs to be mentioned however that she too is on the record for complying with Ryan Crocker’s overall assessment as presented below:

      http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/2696.htm

      It’s pretty evident the Shukria Barekzai has the type of “balls” that have long ago alienated your crotch, that’s for sure. You are so courageous that instead of going out in public with evidence at hand to qualify your vitriol, you come here with the benefit of anonymity. Moreover, you’ve conveniently ignored the elephant in the Afghan quagmire, which is Pakistan. You want to motivate more Pashtuns to join the military? Then why not demand from your government their needed clarity in words and deeds with respect to Pakistan? Last I checked, the US government can’t even support Afghanistan in light of the ongoing Pakistani military assaults on Afghan border villagers. Where are you oh brave Honest-Mike to raise this issue?

      Regarding Karzai, he is as irrelevant to Afghan lives as Obama is to the Americans, so what’s your point here? That you've tried qualifying him as a grub in character by referencing some Kako's in Qandahar merely serves to further belittle you as a naive fool. Until you come out into the open with your evidence at hand, I'll dismiss you as carrying somebody's water. No Honest-Mike, you postings on this commentary do not qualify as "evidence". Place your facts where you mouth is please.

      October 4, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Reply
    • m12

      spot on post
      too sad

      October 4, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Reply
    • Truth Hurts, Doesn't it?

      @Mike Smith you smelll like a Pakistani pigg, you sure Mike Smith is your real name?

      October 5, 2012 at 2:11 am | Reply
      • Mike Smith

        LOL. There are no pigs in Pakistan, baba, you can't even get bacon at the Serena.

        Pakistan is a post-colonial Frankenstein monster which needs to continue the way of Bangladesh - broken up into Baluchistan, Sind, Independent West Punjab, Kashmir, and Khyber-Pahtunkwa as separate countries, then there will be no more problems with the spawn of Jinnah the Fool.

        There is no hate for Pakistan as strong as my hate for Pakistan.

        Although a donkey goes to Mecca, he is still a donkey. Keep guessing.

        October 5, 2012 at 3:10 am |
  2. alf564

    How is he going to explain the return of the Taliban and Mullah Omar as the new Afghan President ??

    October 3, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      It was Hamid Karzai's idea, that Mullah Omar should run for president! Yet it isn't sure that the spiritual leader of the Taliban wants to be an ally of Karzai, who is desperate to be able to pull the strings after his stepping down in 2014.

      October 3, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Reply
      • Barekzai

        What a shallow assessment! Ya think that Karzai made that statement as Massoud had done many years before, while knowing full well that the one-eyed bone head and Pakistani stooge would not see the light of day? Ya think?

        October 3, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  3. 100 % ETHIO

    "The progress is extraordinary".
    So, better to leave now, than after, to save some NATO Soldiers, who kept attacked, "green on blue".

    October 3, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Reply
  4. j. von hettlingen

    Mr. Crocker, you mentioned "Amir Amanullah Khan in the 1920s". Did you know that the Amir sent en envoy to Washington in 1921, hoping to develop a diplomatic relationship with the US? Warren Harding's secretary of state Charles Evans Huges wasn't interested in Afghanistan. Nevertheless the then trade minister Herbert Hoover was. As an engineer, he knew all about the treasures hidden under the Afghan rocks. But it didn't result into any trade relationship.

    October 3, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Reply
  5. Tim

    Crocker is right. We've made good progress and it's important to sustain the gains and build on them; rather than just leave hastily.

    October 3, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Reply
    • steve roethle

      Tim. I hope you are one of those willing to give your life or that of your children for this sinking ship.

      October 4, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Reply
  6. j. von hettlingen

    Indeed there are plenty of talents in Afghanistan. Many Afghans might not be able to read or write, they still appreciate stories and are good listeners. Being at the centre and crossroads of ancient civilisations stretching back at least 3,000 years, its richness and strategic importance – located as it once was at the meeting point of Chinese, Indian and European civilisations – means that through the centuries Afghanistan had attracted many outsiders, invaders as well as merchants. These civilisations had all left their marks on the people and the culture of the country.

    October 3, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Reply
  7. asim

    Mr. Crocker is absolutely right. I was in Afghsnistan during 2002 and it has changed a lot since then. The only thing that the US needs to do is to support the young educated Afghans and give up supporting NA warlords or ISI. We the young generation are eager to make our country peaceful, democratic, modern and self sufficient, but during the last 10 years we have been completely ignored and power is in the hands of the warlords and corrupt people like Karzai, fahim and khalili. The US has made masood the national hero and rabbani as a marter.

    October 3, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Reply
  8. krm1007 ©™

    Dear Mr. Ambassador,

    Please repeat after me .....

    PAKISTAN !!!!

    THANK YOU …. THANK YOU…. THANK YOU!!!!
    FOR MAKING USA SAFE FOR MAKING THE WORLD SAFE>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Since Sep 11, 2001, over 200,000 Pakistani civilians, armed forces personnel have either sacrificed their lives or wounded; more than 3.5 million have been displaced while the country has lost over
    US $ 1 Trillion due to terrorism.

    Despite sacrifices, Pakistan was still engaged in 'the war for world peace”.

    No other country has even come close to selflessly sacrificing so much.

    Pakistan, no one can ever repay you enough for your contributions.
    You deserve a permanent seat in the UN Security Council for your contributions to world peace and emergence of a new world order. We welcome your rise as the new regional military power. God Speed.

    October 3, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Reply
    • Yusufzai

      Don't forget the 7 million plus Afghan refugees that Pakistan has been hosting for over 30 year!!.

      October 4, 2012 at 8:34 am | Reply
    • Owen1710

      Excellente El Hefe !!!

      October 4, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Reply
  9. krm1007 ©™

    Next, Mr. Ambassador...as part of your political science 101...you need to turn your attention towards India to paint the picture in Afghanistan.

    Here goes...... The American invasion of Afghanistan brought to the forefront the irrelevance of India as a nation. With a population of over 1.2 billion people there was no value that this nation could bring to the table. Their soldiers (ragtag) 1.2 million continue hiding in the trenches scared from Talibans. A few teenage Talibans invaded the country and held it hostage for days on end showing how useless India is. It was embarrasing for the world to observe this humiliation of a nation that was being touted as a regional power.

    Although Mies Van Der Rohe used "Less is More" in an architectural context, its economic and political connotations are indeed powerful. Empowering subjugated minorities in India by splitting it into smaller states would trigger uber economic demand for western nations who have given so much financial and technology aid to India with no return to show for the investment. I concur with this approach and with an economic background find the premise to be on solid footing. Central Asian States (CAS) are a case in point on this successful approach. We need to understand that India has an unmanageable large population mired in poverty and we are spinning our wheels trying to feed it. It is also too big of a geographical unit to govern. Again, we saw how a few teenage talibans were able to invade it with a few BB guns. And that says a lot... in a negative way not only for a large unmanageable country like India but also for USA which is trying to prop it up against China. Besides, Americans cannot afford to look like losers in the midst of a terror war which has lasted for over ten years now.

    October 3, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Reply
    • Kenneth P

      Now that i think about it what the heck is largest armed forces in the world i.e. India doing for us Americans. Dismantle that useless gang of thugs.

      October 4, 2012 at 8:22 am | Reply
    • Owen1710

      Mies may have said "Less is More"...but your penmanship is pure "Frozen Music" as Eero Saarinen put it. Bravo. Keep up your invigorating comments @krm.

      October 4, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Reply
  10. krm1007 ©™

    Furthermore, Mr. Ambassador as part of your graduate course in political science, here is what you need to understand.

    PAKISTAN.....The New Gateway to Central Asia and Europe.
    With a population of over 180 million most of whom are well educated, English speaking, entrepreneurial and a cultural and social fit with Central Asians...Pakistan will now become the new face and gateway to Central Asia and Europe. Pakistan will thus span this region and provide the impetus for growth, prosperity and unity among these countries. These are new and exciting times for Pakistanis who should now look forward to their new leadership role aligned with Central Asia and Europe rather than the Subcontinent. We wish them much success as they have sacrificed the most during the past 30 + years creating a new world order.

    October 3, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Reply
    • Kenneth P

      Nicely put and i agree. pakistan's time to take the lead role in the region has arrived.

      October 4, 2012 at 8:22 am | Reply
  11. krm1007 ©™

    Additonally, Mr. Ambassador this may broaden your horizon also.

    Let's not kid ourselves. We had to invade Afghanistan to save our pride and to show the world that we had the financing and forbearance to fight this war on ground chasing the shadows. But ego aside, we all know that winning the endeavors in Afghanistan is not possible without Pakistan. Yes, we have cajoled Pakistan over the years, threatened them, poor boyed them, played the neighbor against them, let the congressional dogs lose doing the god guy – bad guy routine and done the carrot – stick dance. All to no avail. We tried partnering with India in Afghanistan and that has been a disaster. We may have won a battle or two but are on the verge of losing the war. We have hit a wall.

    The time has now come to do the tango with Pakistan. That takes boldness and a desire to commit one self. And that is what we need to do. We need to form a strategic partnership with Pakistan...a long term alliance...and a commitment. We need to lay the cards on the table and not pull the rug from under them. At the same time we need to make them understand the consequences of going wayward on us. We need to evolve a common vision...and common grounds for constructive engagement. We then need to support them and then let them implement the common vision in the region under our supervision. After all, they can do it more productively, efficiently and economically than we can. That is for sure... a lesson we have learned the hard way.

    October 3, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Reply
    • Kenneth P

      Very pertinent and well articulated. Pakistan is our partner and we will prevail together.

      October 4, 2012 at 8:23 am | Reply
    • Owen1710

      No question is THE key to regional issues. They must be engaged.

      October 4, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Reply
      • Owen1710

        I meant Pakistan is the key. Pardone .

        October 4, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  12. krm1007 ©™

    Now, Mr. Ambassador guess what....

    "It is no secret that Hitler and his Nazi cronies sought inspiration from Indian extremist groups including the branding of his Nazi Party by adopting the Swastika, a traditionally Hindu symbol and representation of Hindu god Ganesha, as its marketing tool. The thesis being that like the Norwegian massacre the Jewish holocaust orchestrated by Hitler was inspired by the inherently violent cult of Indian Hindus and the manifesto of its then extremist/terrorist groups still in existence today. These groups are now the successors to and carrying out the vision of Al Qaeda all over the world albeit in a clandestine manner."

    October 3, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Reply
    • Barekzai

      ....ahuh..... in other words ladies and gentlemen, the Pakistani here is seeking to make a point based on his own world view of alternative reality that the same India which dwarfs his synthetic state in all matters of relevance, ought to be destroyed in favour of a terrorist sponsoring, nuclear proliferating, OBL assisting failed state called the “Land of the Pure” against all facts to the contrary! Mmmmhmmm….noted….

      October 4, 2012 at 12:25 am | Reply
    • Kenneth P

      Track down all these hindu brahmin buddies of nazis and bring them to justice in Israel

      October 4, 2012 at 8:24 am | Reply
    • Tommy

      We are well aware of Indian brahmin hindus financing these al Qaeda and taliban terrorists. They are using proceeds from cricket betting to achieve this under the radar. That is why they have set up cricket leagues in India.

      October 4, 2012 at 8:32 am | Reply
  13. krm1007 ©™

    Therefore, Mr. Ambassador to have a healthy Afghanistan here is what needs to be done. Send the drones that a way !!! God Speed to you.

    TERRORIST GROUPS IN INDIA

    • RASHTRIYA SWAYAM SEWAK SHANG (R.S.S.)
    • VISHWA HINDU PARISHAD
    • HINDU MUNNANI
    • ARYA SAMAJ
    • SHIV SENA
    • BHARATIYA JANATA PARISHAD
    • SANT SAMITI
    • HINDU MAHASABHA
    • BAAJRANG DAL

    LEADERS: L.K. Advani/ Ashok Singhal/ Bala Saheb Devaras/ Bal Thackeray/ A.B. Vajpayee/ Savarkar/ Baikunnth Lal Sharma “Prem”/ Balraj Madhok/ The Shankaracharya of Puri, Niranjan Dev Theerth/ Rama Gopalan/ Variyar – Vishwan Hindu Parishad/ Dharmalinga Nadar/ Cho Ramaswamy

    October 3, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Reply
    • Tommy

      Flush these rats out and drone 'em one by one

      October 4, 2012 at 8:32 am | Reply
    • Charlie Felt

      Who are these insects??? Mow them down. We will not tolerate any more terrorism.

      October 4, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Reply
  14. krm1007 ©™

    By the way Mr. Ambassador, did you repatriate and settle down back in Afghanistan the 7 million Afghan refugees that Pakistanis have been hosting for the past 30n years plus in their country ???? Perhaps you will consider sending Air Force One to fly them back? Is that a yes? Atta boy, Mr. Ambassador !!!

    October 3, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Reply
    • Barekzai

      @ krm1007 ....dear Pakistani, it seems to me that the total figure of Afghan refugees just keeps climbing, how convenient for you! How about you admitting to the world if your willingness to repatriate Afghan refugees extend to your pliant Peons that you aid, abet and direct into Afghanistan. Or is it all about ridding yourselves of those Afghans not interested in playing your game?

      October 3, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Reply
    • Kenneth P

      Why do Pakistanis have to bear the burden of this tragedy? What is the world community doing to assist Pakistan in taking care of these refugees?They need to be sent back to Afghanistan immediately.

      October 4, 2012 at 8:30 am | Reply
  15. brian

    Michael, ya know I love ya, man,
    but the Iraq "Surge" was a military failure.
    It was a Potemkin propaganda piece.

    October 4, 2012 at 6:03 am | Reply
  16. Marine5484

    What should one expect this bozo Ryan Crocker to say anyway? Of course he's going to talk about all the "remarkable progress" that we purportedly made in Afghanistan! In fact, we've been making "remarkable progress" in Vietnam from 1965 up to the time time we threw in the towel in 1973! These politicians will say anything to keep these obnoxious wars popular with the American people!

    October 4, 2012 at 9:34 am | Reply
  17. Ahmad Nazir

    A MIDDLE FINGER FOR ANYONE WHO HATES AFGHANISTAN ONLY REAL MEN CAN COME TO AFGHANISTAN AND ONLY A BRAVE MOTHER CAN GIVE BIRTH TO AN AFGHAN SON. SO IF U R A REAL MAN COME VISIT AFGHANISTAN AND IF U R NOT THEN STAY WITH YOUR MOTHER MAMMAS BOY AND DONT CRITICIZE ABOUT AFGHANISTAN.

    October 4, 2012 at 11:15 am | Reply
    • SayWhaaa

      And where are you??

      October 8, 2012 at 12:17 am | Reply
  18. carlos333777

    What hypocrites. That country will never amount to anything. It is totally rotten. The Taliban is just waiting in the wings to take over when the US leaves. It will be nicer than Vietnam since the Afghans will have better, deadlier weapons to continue their internecine sports.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Reply
  19. carlos333777

    What hypocrites. That country will never amount to anything. It is totally rotten. The Taliban is just waiting in the wings to take over when the US leaves. It will be nicer than Vietnam since the Afghans will have better, deadlier weapons to continue their internecine sports. I have not commented before on this article.

    October 4, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Reply
  20. NorCalMojo

    They'll be on their feet and back to killing their wives and daughters in no time.

    October 4, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Reply
  21. Barekzai

    @ Mike Smith (aka Honest Mike)….Since the commentary section here will not allow any more than two replies per message string, I’ll respond to you here.

    To sum it up, you’ve directed rich allegations at Ryan Crocker for making points that happen to confirm feedback I’m personally getting from Afghans on the ground. It is within this context that I’ve questioned your honesty in light of your complete lack of evidence in backing up your wild allegations. That you’ve tried to qualify your views from a position of relative authority gives me all the more reason to question you. Yet in your reply, you’ve made assumptions that go as far as linking me with Hamid Karzai, delving into personal insults and producing even more wild allegations! If this is the best you can do, then I must acknowledge that you betray a persona that is feeble in temperament, quick to pass judgment and easily duped. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you’re a small man with an inflated sense of self importance. Surely the State Department can find better talent than you out of respect for the American tax payer.

    With respect to the ANA – a subject not discussed by Ryan Crocker – it is an absolute given that since the Pashtuns are first amongst equals, the military as power manifest must reflect that reality. A decade ago, the ANA began forming with the complete domination of the late Ahmed Shah Massoud’s militia which shared a direct relationship with the CIA as of the late 1980’s. I will not buy it for one minute that the ethnic war this brought about was not foreseen by the Americans who could have equally bypassed Pakistan in directly supporting a traditional Afghan Nationalist like Abdul Haq instead. Regardless, it is a given that the reckless warlords of the Northern Alliance have understandably sought to monopolize power over the ANA under American tutelage, while remaining over-represented in the Officer corps. It is equally true however that the numbers of Pashtun recruits have been steadily increasing. Yet what you allege beyond that point requires substantiation. For instance, what you claim to be a “TOTAL ABSENCE OF ANY PASHTUNS IN THE ARMY” is immediately contradicted by the fact that Pashtuns are absolutely visible in the ANA. It’s always been known amongst us that our unruly nature may render us as determined warriors but lousy soldiers. Afghans – and especially Pashtuns – have never been known to take orders well and especially so from occupying foreigners with their intentions concealed. In the current climate, a withdrawal of the bulk of NATO combat troops is not only warranted, but should have happened long ago or that the surge should have never taken place. What was all the hoopla about, expensive PR? I certainly do not subscribe to everything the US has done in Afghanistan. But that the US needs to stay the current course at the very least is a must.

    Afghans have proven for over a millennium that they could not only defend their nation against tyranny, but can equally spawn a myriad of empires that seems to be lost on people. The Pakis are not weary of us for lack of reason and the prevalent stupidity in the US media that plays along with Pakistani propaganda seeking to link their concerns with India is nothing short of farcical.

    What’s missing from the Afghan equation is America’s complete lack of public acknowledgement that it’s not an Afghan “civil war” they’ve apparently “stumbled” into, but an Afghan-Pakistani war that’s now entering its seventh decade! The Afghans found themselves at the losing streak, thanks to our own stupid Communists. Given this, the US Hyper-power’s insistence that its immediate objective has been to project its immense fire-power against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, merely serves to dignify them both. Had the US been clearly aligned with Afghanistan against Pakistan, then it would have been a different story. Any idiot – including you – knows full well that the US can eliminate the Taliban inside Pakistan but refuses to do so, notwithstanding the drones. I’m no fan of Karzai as you’ve foolishly alleged, but I cannot ignore both yours and your pliant media’s very evident character assassination of him as a consequence of his often repeated truthful assessment that the war needs to be fought not in Afghanistan but inside Pakistan. I’ve no doubt that the US seeks to marginalize Pakistan, but doing so while absorbing Afghan resentment that guarantees the State’s inertia – thanks to its sowing of distrust between the burgeoning state and rural Afghanistan – only adds to the problems. People like you merely expose yourselves as serving one purpose, which is to silence Karzai.

    You’ve brought into the discussion Shukria Barekzai for whom I’ve immense respect, although no less than I have for Amrullah Saleh. It needs to be mentioned however that she too is on the record for complying with Ryan Crocker’s overall assessment as presented below:

    http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/2696.htm

    It’s pretty evident the Shukria Barekzai has the type of “balls” that have long ago alienated your crotch, that’s for sure. You are so courageous that instead of going out in public with evidence at hand to qualify your vitriol, you come here with the benefit of anonymity. Moreover, you’ve conveniently ignored the elephant in the Afghan quagmire, which is Pakistan. You want to motivate more Pashtuns to join the military? Then why not demand from your government their needed clarity in words and deeds with respect to Pakistan? Last I checked, the US government can’t even support Afghanistan in light of the ongoing Pakistani military assaults on Afghan border villagers. Where are you oh brave Honest-Mike to raise this issue?

    Regarding Karzai, he is as irrelevant to Afghan lives as Obama is to the Americans, so what’s your point here? That you've tried qualifying him as a grub in character by referencing some Kako's in Qandahar merely serves to further belittle you as a naive fool. Until you come out into the open with your evidence at hand, I'll dismiss you as carrying somebody's water. No Honest-Mike, you postings on this commentary do not qualify as "evidence". Place your facts where you mouth is please.

    October 4, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Reply
  22. Tom

    The Taliban has broken off negotiations about our reparations because they know they're winning. It's been a total waste. Karzai will return to the restaurnat business here, rich. More Americans will die. We lost...again. Haven't won since August, 1945 come to think of it.

    October 5, 2012 at 3:39 am | Reply
    • Quigley

      Thank you Tom, now let's all hope you're right. The only way we're going to get out of Afghanistan is by losing the war as was the case in Vietnam in 1975. Like Vietnam too, we have no right to be there!

      October 5, 2012 at 8:33 am | Reply
  23. William

    This is joke, right?

    October 5, 2012 at 11:15 am | Reply
  24. thumbs up

    the culture has not changed. the afghanis now have new toys that the americans and nato have brought with them, and some have grown very rich too from their interactions with the us and nato. but as soon as the us and nato pull out, the unaltered, backward culture will manifest itself for all to see again. anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional.

    October 6, 2012 at 11:18 am | Reply
  25. Roxana Russell

    I'm reading the comments with interest. I have a "soft spot" for Afghanistan with whose people I can identify. I also have a "soft spot" for Pakistan, wherein I resided 1962-1967 (Karachi). As for Afghanistan, who has the most to lose should the Taliban resume control (or a similarly fanatical group)? The women, of course, and the children. Arm the women and leave the country then to sort itself out. Afghani women are strong, bright and brave.

    I see in these countries that the citizens' loyalty is NOT first to their country but to something else. I would like to see national patriotism fostered, education for all, and equal rights among all. I can dream, can I not?

    As for Pakistan, even from the time I lived there, the Northwest areas were always a hotbed of disloyalty to Pakistan and loyalty to localism. It is in these areas that Pakistanis or displaced others are harboring Al Queda and the Taliban. I would like to see Pakistanis unite to eradicate those groups, as their sole goal is in reality to dominate and dictate their own beliefs over all others. No soft spots there for other Muslims if they don't toe the party line.

    The only thing the Taliban did well was eradicating poppy fields. Afghanistan is the lead supplier of heroin to the rest of the world and its government will need to deal with that promptly by education, provision of employment, and punishment for poppy production.

    I hope for the best but won't hold my breath.

    October 7, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Reply
  26. Sayed

    I am from Afghanistan and right now living outside the country. Barekzai and Ahmad Nazir, I respect your optimistic assesment of the situation. But let me be frank with you, at this point, Afghanistan is heading towards uncertainty, our economy is totally dependant on forie gn aid. Our leaders are corrupt. Our national army is made of individuals representing local warlord's interest. If you really want to know the situation, go live in different parts of Afghanistan for a while. Kabul DOES NOT represent Afghanistan. People who visit kabul think that the whole country is like kabul. If you can dare, travel by road from Kabul to kandahar then to Herat and finally to Mazar Sherif. Success in Afghanistan is compeletly cosmetic. Some media may represent afghanistan as being relatively peaceful, it is just for political compaign. I look forward to to see afghanistan peaceful and stable country so that I live with my family and friends again. That's my wish hopefully comes to true. By the way, I recently came from Afghanistan so I know better what's going on there.

    October 7, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Reply
    • Jay Stall

      Why don't you go back to your country and contribute to its security. You want to run away and return when the cake has been baked. It does not work that way. Take barekzai and ahmed nazir back also. Put them to work in the opium fields.

      October 8, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Reply
  27. Orakzai

    Afghanistan will always be a problem. People are untrustworthy and backstabbers like the hindoos.

    October 8, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Reply

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