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Could Afghanistan be the next Iraq?

June 25th, 2014
03:32 PM ET

By Claire Calzonetti, CNN

Could Afghanistan be the next Iraq?

“If you think about what the lessons of Iraq are, I hope that every Afghan is sitting in the evening thinking clearly about the lessons of Iraq,” Marc Grossman – the former U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan – told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

The violence rocking Kabul and other parts of the country – with another four killed today, and 27 dead since summer offensive began – raises the harsh specter of an Iraq-like disaster once U.S. and NATO forces pull out at the end of the year.

No one knows the pitfalls and the possibilities better than former ambassador Marc Grossman, who was the Obama Administration's point man in some of the toughest yet vital peace negotiations

The Administration's confident claim that Iraqi security forces were ready to take over in December 2011 was thrown into doubt when they fled the ISIS onslaught two weeks ago.

Should Afghanistan have any more faith in their U.S. trained forces being strong enough to stand up alone?

Of course, Iraq’s problem was compounded by its hopelessly sectarian political leadership. In Afghanistan, the hope for a successful transition rests largely on a successful election, but even that's not going according to plan.

After a successful first round, in which he got most votes, presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah dropped out of the race in protest, accusing opponent Ashraf Ghani's camp and the electoral commission of fraud in the second round.

One commission member has resigned, and Abdullah is considering jumping back in.

But the stakes could not be higher, as an emboldened Taliban steps up attacks ahead of international forces pulling out.

Click above to watch Amanpour’s full interview with Grossman.

Filed under:  Afghanistan • Christiane Amanpour • Iraq • Latest Episode
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. ashok

    As an Indian, one sincerely hopes not. On the other hand, if it induces some deep introspection amongst Pakistan's military establishment about what havoc this could cause within their own country, that might not be so bad.

    June 25, 2014 at 3:54 pm | Reply
  2. amarjeet

    History gives clear evidence that Islamic countries have never been peaceful and turmoil free. Advancement of education too has not brought any revolution or evolution of better human living environments. Pakistan with open breeding of terrorists schools called Madrasa give further fillip to turmoil with strategic interests. Afghanistan has been residence of looters of pilgrimage and traders of silk route to China since centuries. It will take decades before their culture is changed, educated, industry established and civilian rule is democratically established with proper infrastructure. It will be possible only by stopping Mullahs supremacy over rule of law based on human justice system.

    June 25, 2014 at 4:30 pm | Reply
    • DoctorMcZ

      Whereas non-Islamic countries have always been about peace and Kumbaya.... glass houses amarjeet

      June 25, 2014 at 5:44 pm | Reply
      • EmperorT

        Exactly, 2 world wars, holocaust,prussian war, cold war, heck since 900 bc europe has had a war about every 3 years, this is basic human predisposition towards violence.

        With regards to for instance Afghanistan, Britain has invaded it about 4 times in the last 200 years, britain also for example invaded china to control the opium trade (it was called the opium wars.) religious wars, genocide, assassination you name it and humanity has it, everywhere.

        open your eyes and learn about history.

        June 25, 2014 at 6:11 pm |
      • amarjeet

        I have not distracted from subject of issue. Weak governance is a key cause of terrorism. No aspersion on anyone or country as greed drives many for cross border excursion again to weaker governance as per history.

        June 25, 2014 at 6:58 pm |
    • Mardeen

      If weak governance is to be blamed for terrorism then why there is lot of terrorism related incidents in many parts of india in the name of religion and maoism?. It is weak policies of governments is to be blamed.

      June 26, 2014 at 5:46 am | Reply
  3. putin

    That whole region is heading back to the stone ages.

    June 25, 2014 at 4:34 pm | Reply
    • Yousuf

      Somewhat like Ukraine... in the so called civilised West.

      June 25, 2014 at 4:56 pm | Reply
    • bushdiver

      You have to leave before you can return. Most all these Arab countries have been living in the stone age.

      June 26, 2014 at 1:34 am | Reply
  4. EmperorT

    Of course it will,and why not?
    The "trained" forces of afghanistan are far worse than their iraqi contemporaries, the taliban will simply walk into power.

    June 25, 2014 at 5:11 pm | Reply
  5. Shuaib

    I would say yes. I know an Afghani he said to me that the Afghan army has no spine and will run for the hills after the US leaves Afghanistan. He explained that the Taliban was so vicious that it will kill their families including women and children and most soldiers would surrender because of that tactic and would rather go back to their family. He said in two weeks the Taliban will run Afghanistan. That is why Pakistani military/intelligence has never fought against the Afghani Taliban because it was looking into the future consequences. It seems to me by the way Iraq looks, the Pakistani intelligence is happy with the choice they made. So there will be little to no spill over to Pakistan. In fact the Pakistani Taliban in Afghanistan will most likely be handed over to Pakistan under Afghani Taliban rule. Sounds crazy. I am very afraid right now as a Pakistani because I never thought this would actually happen, I thought the US/NATO would actually fully defeat the Taliban and everything would be fine.

    June 25, 2014 at 5:24 pm | Reply
    • DoctorMcZ

      The US invaded Afghanistan first but Iraq was the actual target. They wanted to suppress the Taliban so that they do not interfere with their adventures in Iraq. Looks like Iraq has grown their own version of Taliban and once the US pulls out of Afghanistan, there will probably be some sort of deep collaboration between Taliban and ISIS.

      June 25, 2014 at 5:47 pm | Reply
  6. Amnon

    It was better that dictators continue to dominate in these countries, without the intervention of the United States

    June 25, 2014 at 8:30 pm | Reply
  7. Nakshatra

    Some people have made a conscious choice, started following crude arbi culture and accepted their slavery. Being civilized is tough and comes with its own responsibility. However arbi one are uncivilized and brute, they have sacrificed their tiny brain for solidarity. Unable to think beyond their MADARSA teaching. They conveniently regurgitate what is taught there than use brain to substantiate.

    June 26, 2014 at 1:01 am | Reply
  8. samir

    It has to be remembered that Afghanistan is deeply ethnic and this is as bad as sectarianism. Abdullah Abdullah may claim victory but he comes on the back of a minority northern movement supported by US to overthrow the Taliban (who were largely pashtun). Before US invasion, they only controlled a very small area of Afghanistan. With him in power, Taliban will use the Pashtun card to come into power again and regain territory.

    I personally think Pakistan made the right choice by not taking sides in Afghanistan in spite of huge losses at their side. It seems US will ultimately come to them for help. And Indian influence on Pakistani Taliban should wane... producing the next decade of instability for it.

    June 26, 2014 at 1:16 am | Reply
    • shahab

      Ridiculous, US supported Taliban as to play the game from Pakistan side as a partner of the game to make the situation as they want, since they understand they can invading with out any resistance of the people as they were annoyed during decades of ware and to establish their main goals, bases a step ahead in the heart of Asia the country which is surrounded and has bridge of eyes to many Asian countries, so still the gam is played and not stopped yet, Taliban walking up during political deadlock, and how they support Ashraf Ghani on engineering fraud to the first and second round of election, to make the situation worst than it is, all it shows how US linked with ISI and how control these countries and keep it in a wreaked powerful government they want till they sit their roles on the region. this is a day light that Abdullah Abdullah was the winner of the first round, but they brought the election to the second round, jus for engineering the political deadlock and divide the country in to tow parts, at they will justify whom should take the leadership, and how he obeying their roles, or making weak coalition government to be easily control and should be agree with any thing they want, the people of Afghanistan understand what is going on, and who stipulating with their politics leader, and how Ashraf Ghani come to Afghanistan, and what he wants to do, and how he was promoted by US and their partner, This time the game will end, and the power the game machine will fill down.

      June 26, 2014 at 3:00 am | Reply
  9. bushdiver

    It took the Russians 17 years to realize there is no future invading the Mid East. America has been there over a decade and still hasn't learned anything. Let the Arabs sort their own problems out. Think of where America would be (financially) if they had all the money back that they have wasted in this region. Trillions.

    June 26, 2014 at 1:39 am | Reply
  10. bushdiver

    Why should the US even care what happens in these countries. They have always been fighting between each other for centuries. Who cares if they wipe each other out.

    June 26, 2014 at 1:52 am | Reply
    • Creed

      The reason we need to care is because the goal of these extremist is not to simply conquer sections of Asia and the Middle East and impose sharia law, it is to conquer the world. They are spreading across the world like ants and their terroristic tactics travel with them. This notion that it's best to ignore them and allow them to grow as powerful and large as they choose is crazy. They are flooding into Britain and the US, and they need to be defeated while they are still overseas, not when they have grown large and powerful enough inside the US to truly harm us. This problem will only get worse, and ignoring it will not fix it; it is akin to the plague.

      June 26, 2014 at 10:09 am | Reply
  11. Automaticftp

    Afghanistan is already there – in fact, it never left.

    The lead quote from Grossman, “If you think about what the lessons of Iraq are, I hope that every Afghan is sitting in the evening thinking clearly about the lessons of Iraq,” reveals the problem. The vast majority of Afghans don't have the time, energy, knowledge base, or interest to "think clearly about the lessons of Iraq." In fact, most Afghans have only a hazy idea that Iraq exists.

    By saying that, Grossman reveals the profound levels of ignorance on Afghanistan in US policy circles despite having been there for over a decade.

    June 26, 2014 at 8:56 am | Reply
  12. Antagonist

    The fools discussing in the video are so ignorant and believe they know everything while the fact is they know nothing. It is extremely sad that these fools are influencing important decision making that will affect the lives of poor common Afghan people.

    June 26, 2014 at 11:13 am | Reply
  13. bobhamiltonchicago

    No, Afghanistan will collapse much faster than Iraq. Keep in mind that it was not the responsibility of the US to do anything there, since we did not win the war or take the country.

    June 28, 2014 at 9:29 am | Reply
  14. Madhu Ranganathan

    where has US been present militarily and come out unscathed and without making a major mess to the place of their visitation? Vietnam. Combodia, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan..... phew ... the guys who give orders must be given a medal for absolute insanity!

    June 29, 2014 at 4:57 pm | Reply
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