Skip to comments.Plan to install Zahir Shah in Afghanistan (?)
Posted on 09/16/2001 11:45:02 AM PDT by Int
Plan to install Zahir Shah in Afghanistan
By Nusrat Javeed
ISLAMABAD: The United States of America has "virtually bought" the idea that "within minutes of taking over Kabul," the former king of Afghanistan, Zahir Shah, should be installed as the legitimate ruler of that country.
Highly reliable sources from the diplomatic community of Islamabad also revealed to "The News" that the plan to restore Zahir Shah was originally drawn by NATO-related security experts from a European country. They have already been working on restoring the former king through the so-called "Rome Process" for several months.
The person and aides of the former king, who is living in Italy since dethroned by his cousin in 1974, were actively consulted during preparations of the said plan. Despite the plethora of often conflicting and confusing news as to how the US would begin fighting "the global war of this century against terrorism," most diplomats in Islamabad do not expect the repeat of attempts to cripple Osama Bin Laden through aerial attacks only, as Clinton tried doing in 1998. "Washington has to commit its ground forces this time around," said a European diplomat.
As if to substantiate the perception of his colleague, another diplomat recalled that an oil tanker, carrying 235,000 barrels of diesel fuel was already approaching Diego Garcia, the British developed military base in the Indian Ocean. A good number of B-52 bombers are also stationed there with the capacity of firing the cruise missiles.
But the same diplomat would give more importance to the mobility of another oil tanker to Moron air base in the south of Spain. KC-10 tanker aircraft which can do the refueling of the US fighters in the air are stationed on this base.
The diplomat believed that with the word go, troops of 82nd airborne division, stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and the Kentucky based 101st would begin flying off to the assigned destinations. They can also be joined by soldiers of 1st Infantry, already on exercise in Kuwait these days. As many as 500 Abrams tanks are also available to them. Many diplomats this correspondent talked to insisted that with the availability of such a massive number of highly trained troops, the USA did not need the support of soldiers from any other country to take control of Kabul.
Speculations were rife that Russians were willing to do "the soldiering for Americans in Afghanistan," if provided with the lethal air cover. But not less than the person of Russia's chief of staff categorically refuted the said possibility Friday evening.
Even a historic ally like Britain didn't expect the Americans to ask the support of their ground troops for combat operations in Afghanistan. "For various reasons," said a diplomat, "the Americans have to appear fighting it solo on the ground, at least during the opening moves of the global war against terrorism."
Since Vietnam, Washington was always shy to commit the ground forces, especially when it would come to defend "foreign countries." The possibility of the US soldiers coming back in "body bags" would make the American presidents shiver. It was to avoid the potential backlash of body bags again that Bush the senior did not pursue the Gulf War to its logical end, i.e., the toppling of Saddam Hussain and installation of an alternative power structure in Iraq.
But thousands of deaths of average Americans under the debris of World Trade Center have radically altered the context. The American soldiers have to appear avenging the death of their citizens now.
Russia, India and Israel are almost loud and indecent in expressing their hasty willingness to join the USA in fighting "the global war against terrorism." But Washington fully realizes that they want to join for their very own reasons. The USA also appreciates the limits of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, where Islamic radicalism is becoming a serious political threat.
The US public opinion wants to see Afghanistan "wiped off the world map" since September 11, no doubt. But as a superpower with global interests, United States of America can't afford reacting in arrogant haste.
A senior European diplomat told The News that while moving into Afghanistan, Washington will do everything to convey it to the mass of Muslim people that it had nothing against them per se. "It will also want to appear as if prudently caring for the people of Afghanistan while taking its revenge," he said.
After an intense study of the country profile of Afghanistan, many strategic planners of the USA and NATO are reportedly convinced that Taliban relish the public support no more. They were initially welcomed for providing security and peace. But they terribly failed to lead the economic and social regeneration of their country. Clueless about the means of doing that, the Taliban leadership kept behaving like the "enfant terrible" of the world.
The smashing of Buddha's statues in Bamiyan, the distinct dress code for non-Muslims and trial of some aid workers reflected a frustrated mindset. "As a recognised patriarch," said a diplomat, "Zahir Shah can surface as the true savior in such a dismal state, once the American forces are there to ensure his protection."
Zahir Shah, we are told, is also required "so that Afghanistan remains a united and viable country after the US attack." In the absence of a credible alternative to the Taliban government, Afghanistan would be there for grabs once the Americans devastate it. Iran can stretch its control up to Heart; Tajikistan may gobble the Tajik areas and Uzbekistan goes for Mazar-e-Sharif etc. It will be the Pushtun majority which will get desperate without any takers.
And, that ensures total chaos, especially for Pakistan which has the Pushtun dominated areas in the NWFP and Balochistan. "It's in everybody's interest, therefore, that Afghanistan remains united, even after Taliban," said a Middle Eastern diplomat.
"Propped up by the Americans," said the same diplomat, "Zahir Shah can always tell his people that he came back to liberate them from the miseries, perpetrated on them first by the misguided communists and later the inexperienced Taliban, who virtually became the hostages of Afghan-Arabs like Osama bin Laden. It's about time that non-Afghans are sorted and sent out so the Afghan people could concentrate on rebuilding their country."
Our sources claimed that some NATO experts were convinced that the return of Zahir Shah would generate "tremendous hope" amongst the mass of Afghan people.
"Under the security blanket of the US forces, they could think of rebuilding their country as Germany and Japan did after the devastation of World War-II," said a European diplomat. The combined presence of Zahir Shah and the American troops in Afghanistan will also attract the waves of expatriate Afghans of the elite community. "With a Marshall Plan type arrangement for the rebuilding of Afghanistan, the exiled bureaucrats, diplomats, academicians, scientists and entrepreneurs can resurrect their country in no time," the diplomat believed.
This in the long term, he continued, "will project the USA as a real friend of Afghanistan, rather a reckless and arrogant enemy. And the whole Muslim world will also get some positive message about the sole superpower of these days."
Pakistan is an example, though, of how even this could fail. When democracy went "too far" (especially under Benazir Bhutto), the military took over and the country has been ruled by junta ever since.
So there are no guarantees. But at least with democratic insitutions in place the hatred and despite of their own ruling government (which is what the Sauds have to deal with every day, for example) won't be as easily established.
12/17/2000 posting: US to strike Afghanistan after Ramadan, install ex-King??
What has Afghanistan done to you? To the U.S.?
Do you understand that the average Afghan has NO part in the role his nation has played in these events? That it has become merely a safe-haven for terrorist thugs? That those terrorists are not Afghan but Arab, in nearly every case?
Try to understand what is happening. Conservatives are supposed to be characterized by THINKING instead of merely FEELING.
Give it a try. Tell me how it works.
Instead, we're going to have a complete victory, and an opportunity for the oppressed people of those nations to throw off the shackles put on them by Islamic extremism.
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