US will lose in Afghanistan: ex-CIA hand
Michael Sheuer also says US has rarely found a better ally than Musharraf, who has acted to advance "US interests".india Updated: Dec 31, 2006 15:59 IST
A former senior CIA operative who tracked Osama bin Laden for 10 long years foresees "an apparent American defeat in Afghanistan".
Michael Sheuer said the way ahead in Afghanistan and along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border "ultimately would lead to the defeat of US and NATO forces and the demise of the Karzai government".
Scheuer told the Daily Times in Washington that by failing to accomplish the only mission that had to be accomplished in Afghanistan, the US was now faced with a growing insurgency that probably already outnumbered the combined US-NATO forces.
But he has handsome words of praise for Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf. The US has seldom found an ally better than Musharraf, who has acted to advance "US interests" even while jeopardizing his own, Sheuer observed.
Some of Musharraf's actions, like sending Pakistani troops to tribal areas, were clearly "against Pakistan's interests" and have "brought his country to the brink of a civil war", he said.
By not abandoning the Cold War practice of trying to find foreigners to do "America's dirty work, we have blithely assumed that Musharraf's Pakistan is an American proxy, with national-security interests that mirror those of the US", he said.
"The truth is that virtually none of the many things Musharraf has done to assist the US in Afghanistan has been in Pakistan's national interest; indeed, by sending the Pakistani Army into the Pashtun regions he brought his country to the brink of civil war."
His praise for Musharraf was in sharp contrast to criticism from most American think tanks who, while crediting the president with working to fight terrorism, accuse him of either not doing enough or serving the interests of the Pakistani Pushtuns who support the Taliban and host foreign and Al-Qaeda fighters.
The September 1 agreement that Musharraf's regime signed with the tribals in North Waziristan has worked precisely in that direction and incensed Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Musharaf had also worked to rescue Pakistani nationals fighting alongside the Taliban, when the latter's regime fell, allowing in the process many key Taliban and Al-Qaeda hands to escape, they have said.
However, Sheuer takes a peep into American history to draw an analogy about Musharraf's role.
"In future years, when America's defeat in Afghanistan is apparent, and if he survives, Musharraf would be able to reflect on his relationship with President (George W) Bush and say - as president Lincoln said about Union General McClellan - 'Poor George, I did all I could to help him, but he proved unable to do anything to help himself'."
First Published: Dec 31, 2006 15:00 IST