Afghanistan's 'de facto' partition best available option for 'failing' US: Ex-diplomat

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Washington, July 9 (ANI): Former US Ambassador to India Robert Blackwill has warned that President Obama's Afghan strategy is heading towards a 'failure', adding that the best option available with the White House was to divide the war torn country.

Blackwill, who had also served as deputy national security adviser for strategic planning and presidential envoy to Iraq during President George Bush' regime, said that Washington must admit the truth that the Taliban would continue to control its historic stronghold in Afghanistan.

"The US polity should stop talking about timelines and exit strategies and accept that the Taliban will inevitably control most of its historic stronghold in the Pashtun south," Blackwill wrote in his opinion piece published in Politico.

"But Washington could ensure that north and west Afghanistan do not succumb to jihadi extremism, using US air power and special forces along with the Afghan army and like-minded nations," he added.

In his article, the former US diplomat pointed out that "after years of 'faulty' US policy towards Afghanistan, there are no quick, easy and cost-free ways to escape the current deadly quagmire. But, with all its problems, de facto partition offers the best available US alternative to strategic defeat".

"It is now the best outcome that Washington can achieve consistent with vital national interests and US domestic politics," Blackwill added.

Blackwill also warned that Pakistan would never back the idea of Afghanistan's de facto partition, and managing its reaction would be a difficult task for the Obama administration.

"Not least because the Pakistan military expects a strategic gain once the US military withdraws from Afghanistan," he said.

Blackwill also noted that "fearing a return of Pakistan dominance in Afghanistan, India would likely encourage Washington to continue ground combat in south Afghanistan for many years to come".

He said that the Obama administration must work to assuage assuage India's fears, and also assure it that the US would not permit the Taliban to re-emerge as a political or military force in the region.

"We would then make it clear that we would rely heavily on US air power and special forces to target any Al Qaeda base in Afghanistan, as well as Afghan Taliban leaders who aided them," he wrote. (ANI)

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