Maj. Gen. David Grange: The challenge of peacekeeping
UPDATE: Soon we're going to have a peacekeeping force put into Afghanistan. That force will probably be led by the Brits, maybe by somebody else. Regardless, it's got to be thought out very carefully so it does not become the enemy of the people or a pawn of the different tribal chiefs.
But even with talk of peacekeepers, is there really peace with the defeat of the Taliban? Right now, the Taliban are essentially defeated as a unified force, but there are still pockets of Taliban in some areas. Some are al Qaeda as in Tora Bora, but others are local tribesmen who have been with the Taliban but refuse to lose with them.
You've also got people like Gen. Ismail Khan in Herat and Gen. Rashid Dostum at Mazar-e Sharif, who aren't totally agreeable and will do their own thing regardless of this new coalition government. And then you've got bands of bandits all over the place.
IMPACT: Enforcing the peace is difficult because there's not going to be a true, total peace. You're always going to have tribal feuds, even if you have the government working properly. If an outside entity gets in there and tries to force the other sides not to squabble, then you'll become the enemy -- you'll become an occupying force like the Soviets, whether you want to or not.
And then there's places like Tora Bora, one complex of several where there is active fighting. Whether we get bin Laden in that or not, we'll still have some subordinate leaders in other complexes like Wolf's Den, a place five or 10 miles south of Tora Bora.
TACTICS: You've got two kinds of peacekeeping forces under the United Nations charter. It can be a Chapter 6, where you observe and report. You're there to ensure that humanitarian assistance is provided properly and give the new council in Kabul a chance to succeed. But in Chapter 6, you can't enforce it. You can always protect yourself, but you can't coerce a faction to do anything. If you're peacekeeping and use economic aid as a carrot, you don't look like an occupying force -- but at the same time you want to be strong enough that they don't take your weapons away, like they did to the Dutch in Bosnia.
Or it can be a Chapter 7, which is peace enforcement. But to do that, you have to have a big and mean enough force to convince people of your will. The danger of the 7 is you could look like an occupying force.
This is going to be a tough debate. It's probably going to be something like a 6 and a half, somewhere in between. I've had experience in doing both, and it's not easy to set this thing up. But it's going to be critical to getting humanitarian assistance set up. They have 7 million people to feed, and will need to deliver 50,000 tons of food a month. They've had incidents in the country already where you've got bandits on the road and so forth.
STRATEGY: So where does America fit in and get out? We don't want to get involved with big forces, but we can't just say, "That's it." You heard what Karzai said -- "America, don't leave us again." I think we have an obligation to do something there, not only with humanitarian aid, but some sort of support for the rule of law in this re-emerged nation-state to help them succeed.
Because if we don't step forward, Pakistan, Russia, Iran or others will, manipulating events (like we might) and possibly causing an imbalance. If that happens, you're going to cause some of the roots of this terrorism to re-emerge. We don't want that.
In reconstruction, we'd want to have a hand in the Afghan economy, including the opium situation and crop substitution. We've also got to be involved in diplomatic relations -- our embassy has to be proudly operational -- and we have to have enough support to show our commitment and keep an eye on some of our own interests. We can't put it on the back burner.
U.S. Army Gen. Wesley Clark (ret.), a former NATO supreme commander, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. David Grange (ret.) and Air Force Maj. Gen. Don Shepperd (ret.) are serving as CNN military analysts during the war against terror. Their briefings will appear daily on CNN.com.
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