No quantity of silverware can get rid of termites and it's completely possible to have a kitchen cabinet with no silverware at all, and yet no termites.Part 4 of 4: Choice of fighting for victory or facing the loss of the voices of reason and the certainty of death
(b) I tend to think of the Afghan state as a Kitchen Cabinet, holding dried food and antique silverware, that is badly termite infested. It still looks solid but if you give it a hard kick, the structure holding the contents will collapse. The silverware is the educated Afghans that will scatter if the Kitchen Cabinet breaks. I see Iran as another colony of termites ready to move in and Pakistan as a colony of army ants interested in the dried food, with India as a ant-eater. The ant-eater is only interested in the ants, if they move in. As I see it, neither Iranian nor Pakistani influence is really good for building up Afghanistan as a nation state — what the country needs is more secular education. Only through more education will the country gain more silverware (aka educated Afghans) and have less termites (aka the Taliban movement).
(c) After this round of fighting in this 43 year civil war, Afghanistan will revert to the way it was in the period between 1992 to 2000, before the Americans came. This was the time of the warring factions that included Ahmad Shah Massoud, an ethnic Tajik; Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a Pashtun; and Abdul Rashid Dostum, an Uzbek. Back then it was a period of temporary alliances. The era of horror is back and the civil war will rage on.
History marches on regardless of analogies. If everyone leaves Afghan alone to sort itself out, it will, somehow. There will be blood, and what emerges certainly won't be a democracy, but Afghanistan isn't an industrialized capitalist country, so expecting a democracy is a bit far-fetched to begin with. What Afghanistan needs is some sort of stable government, that's at least sane, so economic development can take place. Economic development is what produces the educated middle class that eventually wants democracy.