the next phase of the war will primarily be aimed at fighting al-Qaeda in Pakistan's tribal areas, while all efforts in Afghanistan will focus on a peaceful settlement to pave the way for an American exit.
This is the view of
Washington initiated dialogue
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of the Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA), through his longtime lieutenant, Abedi. Abedi is an Afghan-American
He believes that Obama's surge is the start of an exit strategy to bring peace to Afghanistan by pushing the war into the Pakistani tribal areas against al-Qaeda.
After eight years, the US's efforts have been reset around this objective, even if it means greater activity in Pakistan.
Obama urged Pakistan to fight the "cancer" of extremism and said the US would not tolerate Pakistan allowing its territory to be a safe haven for militants.
the White House this week is reported to have approved an expansion of the C
drone program from the North Waziristan and South Waziristan tribal areas
to southern Balochistan
Top Taliban and al-Qaeda figures are believed to operate from Balochistan. Here, Pakistan already faces a low-level insurgency from Baloch rebels seeking provincial autonomy.
Unmanned drone attacks in the tribal areas over the past few years have killed a number of al-Qaeda members as well as Pakistani Taliban commanders. This year alone, nearly 50 strikes in the northwestern border regions have killed 415 people.
The grand plan
In an exclusive e-mail
Abedi said he was privy to information that Obama had been prepared to announce the withdrawal date of July 2011 - as he did on Tuesday - but without sending the extra troops. However, there were two main problems
The US would not accept
the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, to be led by the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar
The US wanted to be able to claim the defeat of al-Qaeda - at present, the US believes it has only been 70% successful.
Abedi said, "If they [the US] can be assured somehow that the Taliban are not going to
overrun any transitional government, and are going to allow the so-called international community to leave behind a stable transitional government which could function for at least 18 months to two years based on Islamic and so-called international values, they might very much be willing to do what they are saying, which is to exit even faster than 18 months."
Abedi suggested, "If the Obama administration somehow managed to come up with the [necessary] number of Afghan soldiers
to hand over security to them
then a [loya jirga] grand council was called by
Karzai after 18 months and political power was turned over to a number of people [transitional government] who were for the time being accepted by all sides of the conflict, this would give the occupiers a chance to leave
Brother Hekmatyar and Mullah Omar Mujahid both have said that they won't attack foreign forces on the way out if they pull out of the country immediately.
"The other side [Karzai government] would not be a concern for the US; they can be slapped on the face and told to shut up and do what they are told ...
Abedi, who has had dialogue with senior US officials in addition to Holbrooke on behalf of Hekmatyar, continued, "We know that July 2011 is a start date without an exact end date,
Abedi said that for the US, losing or winning the war in Afghanistan is immaterial - its real fight is against al-Qaeda, and therefore in the next phase of the war, the real fight, will be against al-Qaeda.
"I think the US knows that they have lost the war in Afghanistan, but they have not finished the work in the tribal area near the Durand Line
Don't you think that the US might use the 30,000 fresh soldiers as a wall to prevent al-Qaeda members from entering into Afghanistan
while they [US] and the Pakistani army attack from all sides
for a final push to do the last and most damage to al-Qaeda, claim victory, and then start leaving gradually to save their face?
Abedi is convinced that the US should not prolong the war as it is already lost. (Obama admitted in his speech on Tuesday that vast tracts of Afghanistan are under Taliban control).
For Abedi, a 24-month package - withdrawal after 18 month and six months to set up a transitional government - is the best answer for Afghanistan as it offers opportunities for all of the parties involved.