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Kayani advised US to negotiate exit from Afghanistan with Taliban, claims book

Last Updated: Saturday, March 9, 2013 - 17:12

Islamabad: Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had told American officials that they would be ‘better off’ negotiating an exit from Afghanistan with the Taliban.
During a visit to Washington in 2010, he said that it was not feasible to try and build up Afghan forces to 400,000 by 2014, according to a former senior State Department official.

The official, Vali Nasr, in his upcoming book, ‘The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat’, said that the general was sure the Afghan army would eventually collapse.

According to the Nation, Foreign Policy magazine has published a large extract of the book, which will be published next month.

Recalling General Kayani’s firm response at one small meeting around a narrow table, he wrote, “I cannot forget Kayani’s reaction when we enthusiastically explained our plan to build up Afghan forces to 400,000 by 2014. His answer was swift and unequivocal: Don`t do it. ‘You will fail,’” he said.

“Then you will leave and that half-trained army will break into militias that will be a problem for Pakistan.`` We tried to stand our ground, but he would have none of it”, he added.

“I don`t believe that the Congress is going to pay $9 billion a year for this 400,000-man force,” he continued.

He was sure it would eventually collapse and the army’s broken pieces would resort to crime and terrorism to earn their keep.

The author said that ‘Kayani’s counsel was that if you want to leave, just leave -- we didn`t believe you were going to stay anyway -- but don`t do any more damage on your way out. This seemed to be a ubiquitous sentiment across the region. No one bought our argument for sending more troops into Afghanistan, and no one was buying our arguments for leaving. It seemed everyone was getting used to a direction-less America.’

According to the report, he said that during a visit to the White House in October 2010, General Kayani gave President Barack Obama a 13-page white paper he had written to explain his views on the outstanding strategic issues between Pakistan and the United States.

In conclusion, Nasr challenged the White House’s claim that its management of the Afghan war is a vital accomplishment, the report added.


First Published: Saturday, March 9, 2013 - 17:12
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