Geopolitical issues of the US attack on Afghanistan

The US has launched a second round of airstrikes
against Afghan targets on Monday 8 October. In Europe, some
political commentators are expressing doubts about the
effectiveness and the geopolitical opportunity of the American
“war on terrorism”

Although most EU leaders have reacted by expressing their
full support for the US/UK counter-attack, the European
press and some humanitarian organisations have drawn
attention to a number of the geopolitical questions raised
by this operation. Some of the issues are:

  • the fall-out effects of the attacks on Asian and
    Middle-East countries with a fundamentalist Muslim
    population;
  • the combination of military operations with
    humanitarian aid (bombs and food packages on
    Afghanistan);
  • the future of a post-Taliban Afghanistan and the role
    of the Northern Alliance in a new government;
  • the possible effect of the new international
    embracing of Pakistan on the long-standing India-Pakistan
    conflict;
  • the influence of this operation on the situation in
    the Middle East;
  • the coherence of the global coalition against
    terrorism.

 

In a statement of the
General Affairs Council

on 8 October, EU foreign ministers stressed once more "that
the carefully targeted action launched on 7 October is not
an attack against Islam nor the people of Afghanistan, whom
the EU is determined to support and sustain. The EU and its
Member States are responding urgently to the humanitarian
crisis in and around Afghanistan and have already decided
to make available 316 million EUROS. The Afghani people
deserve a government which is truly representative and
which responds to their needs and aspirations."

In the
Middle East

, there is some understanding for the American actions, but
some governments link the terrorist actions to the growing
frustration in the region over the Israeli-Palestine
conflict. However, Palestinian officials rejected Osama bin
Laden's effort to link the terrorist cause to the pledge of
the Palestinian people.

There were violent protests in the
streets of
Pakistan

and demonstrations in
India

.

Oxfam International

reacted to the crisis by critising the attempt to combine
the military campaign with humanitarian action in the form
of food droppings. The organisation called these attempts
"confusing" and "unprepared".

 

The US and the UK launched an air and missile strike
against Taliban military facilities on 7 October, starting
according to President Bush a long campaign against
terrorism. The attack on the Taliban regime in Afghanistan
is a retaliation for the 11 September WTC/Pentagon attacks.
American officials notified the United Nations that the
anti-terrorism campaign could be extended to other
countries beyond Afghanistan.

 

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