The Afghan Dare

For some background analysis on how the strategic rivalry between India and Pakistan plays out in Afghanistan, this post by Troy, Abu Muqawama’s resident Aghanologist, is worth a click. In a nutshell, India has long supported the Northern Alliance, while Pakistan has supported the southern Pashtuns from whom the Taliban movement springs. Troy explains that the Pakistani military’s alleged support for the Taliban should be understood as a hedge against an eventual NATO pullout, after which they consider it unlikely that Hamid Karzai would be able to survive. That brought to mind what Nikolas Gvosdev, in describing a presentation by Russia’s NATO Ambassador Dmitry Rogozin, called the “Afghan Dare”:

[H]e noted that the Soviet-backed protege Najibullah lasted for three years after the cessation of Soviet support; would Hamid Karzai last for even a week without U.S./NATO backing?

I’d have to hear the odds he’s offering before taking him up on that one.

Update: The latest reports out of Kabul, where the Afghan cabinet was briefed on the attack on the Indian embassy, include an escalation in the accusations of Pakistani involvement. According to a spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai:

The sophistication of this attack and the kind of material that was used … everything has the hallmarks of a particular agency that has conducted similar attacks inside Afghanistan. We have sufficient evidence to say that.

While refraining to name any specific country, the spokesman stated it was “pretty obvious” whom he was referring to. Pakistan’s Prime Minister denied the charges, but the fact that this is even being aired out at such high levels is both surprising and alarming.