Russia Returns Heavy-Hitter to Afghanistan

02 Diplomacy, 04 Inter-State Conflict, 05 Civil War, 06 Russia, 08 Wild Cards, Advanced Cyber/IO, Ethics, Government, InfoOps (IO), IO Multinational, IO Sense-Making, Peace Intelligence, Strategy
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Highlights a classic failure of US intel and State… experts with the
depth or contacts necessary to conduct statecraft…….

Mullah Omar gets a Russian visitor

By M K Bhadrakumar

Asia Times, Mar 24, 2011

EXTRACT:  The executive order makes the customary reference to the new appointee's worthy credentials as “an experienced diplomat and Orientalist”. And then, out of the blue, it adds that Kabulov “repeatedly held talks on the release of Russian pilots with the leadership of the Taliban in Kandahar, including [Taliban leader] Mohammed Omar”. There was no real need to have said that. It almost seems jarring to single out one mission in a distinguished diplomat's checkered career. But it said all that needed to be said.

By the language of the sport of cricket, one would shout from the crease in the heat of the moment: “Howzaat!” Is there an umpire nearby who could annotate the trajectory of Russian thinking? Not much ingenuity is needed to comprehend that Moscow is opening a line to the Taliban leadership and sending into the Hindu Kush someone who can meaningfully converse with the Quetta shura (council). Pakistanis know Kabulov, Iranians know him and Mullah Omar knows him. Afghan President Hamid Karzai knows him, too.

EXTRACT: Kabulov's mind is an open book – as far as a diplomat's mind can be. While serving in Kabul, he was an easily accessible ambassador and even American military commanders used to drop by to pick his brains. Kabulov's main complaint, though, was that the Americans were good listeners, but not good learners.

He kept harping on that the United States was repeating the same mistakes that the Soviet Union made in Afghanistan during its occupation in the 1980s, and to complicate matters, American policies have been innovating on Soviet mistakes by inventing original mistakes of their own for which as he once told John Burns of the New York Times, “We [Russia] do not own the copyright.”

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Phi Beta Iota: The article is a reference work, worth keeping, worthy of war colleges and those who aspire to be great leaders.

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