And we are back from the commercial break! Thanks for staying with us for Part-II of “How Best to Lose Afghanistan”- the delicacy you are just about to savor. Where were we?
Ah, yes! So you have the dish with various ingredients in it (Warlords – dozen of, cleaned up and debearded, mixed together; Drugs – a goodly few thousand tonnes of, processed or otherwise; Slow/ineffective reconstruction – five years of; and Corruption – per taste, no need to be tight-fisted with this ingredient) at the ready.
Let this simmer for some five years (during which period you can go away and busy yourself with some sort of distraction… like Iraq) and then come back and add the following to get the desired delicacy (about which, mind you, nothing is really delicate : a monumental collapse and implosion, a likely humanitarian catastrophe, and inevitable far-reaching fallouts.)
1. Shady Deals with the Taliban: This one is essential to get just the right kind of tang. Start making deals with Taliban remnants and gradually pull back from the areas that you leave in their trust. This ingredient will work its magic of extremism, anachronism, male-chauvinism, wahhabism, and other quite potent -isms.
2. Civilian Casualties: liberally bombard the dish with every seasoning at your disposal. The desired effect is total alienation of the hearts and minds that will work in collusion with the additional ingredient #1 and contribute to the final pate.
3. Re-legitimize Gulbuddin and Mullah Omar: By making overtures that they, quite sadly, might reject at first. Realize that you are the one who is at their mercy at this point, so you have to swallow your pride. Their role in completing your concoction is quite essential.
4. More Alienation: Of hearts and minds in other regions, by narrowly focusing all your attention to a certain part of the dish. Make sure the other areas understand this.
5. Lastly, and most importantly, keep listening to me -I am your advisor -think-tank -study group -working paper -white paper -expert- observer-consultant-…, and I have spent my entire life studying the dish, so you can be certain I know its ins and outs. In one word, I am your gourmet chef and you need me to get this delicious disaster just right.
Now sit back, engage in some other failed diversion (you always have another episode of Axis of Evil to busy yourself with) and wait.
Give it no more than two years at most, and enjoy!