Advice from the Saudis on Afghanistan

Turki-Al-Faisal-05In this morning’s Washington Post Prince Turki al-Faisal of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, former director general of their intelligence service and also their former ambassador to the United States offers President Obama some advice on how to proceed in Afghanistan with which I find I am in almost complete agreement. His advice consists of six action items:

  • There is no viable opposition to Karzai in Afghanistan. He is a fact. Deal with it.
  • Concentrate on fighting foreign terrorists and build bridges with the Taliban.
  • Fix the Durand Line.
  • Meet with the security and intelligence departments of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, China, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to devise ways of eliminating Al Qaeda’s leadership. Nobody has more on the line than the Saudis in that battle and Russia and China are at greater risk than we are from them.
  • Exert influence to induce Pakistan and India to resolve the matter of Kashmir.
  • Use measures similar to those used in Turkey (in which the U. S. bought the entire crop directly from farmers, something I’ve been suggesting, and allowed them to plant alternative crops).

Read the whole thing. I’m hoping that John Burgess will weigh in on this. John, are you there?

FILED UNDER: Afghanistan War, General, , , , , , , ,
Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.


  1. Brett says:

    How does he propose fixing the Durand line?

    Personally, if we’re going to change it, we might as well go full-hog and split Afghanistan into Pashtun and Non-Pashtun parts, and dump the pashtun south of Afghanistan on to Pakistan. Even the geography works out in favor of it, since the heavily pashtun south of Afghanistan is separated from much of the non-Pashtun north by the central highlands.

    If the Pakistanis want it, they’d be welcome to it – and more importantly, the “strategic depth” it would provide (and which they’ve always been looking for with their meddling in Afghanistan).

    *Sigh* Pity it won’t happen, I suppose.

    Exert influence to induce Pakistan and India to resolve the matter of Kashmir.

    This is like saying “exert influence to get Israel and the Palestinians to resolve the issue of Israel and Palestine”. It’s an extremely difficult issue heavily laden with national pride, history, and so forth.

    The Indians, in particular, are highly wary of outside efforts to “mediate” in Kashmir between them and the Pakistanis, because they consider Kashmir an inviolable part of India. As (I believe) Daniel Larison put it at one point, it would be like China trying to mediate a dispute between Mexico and the US over who gets to control a mildly seditious New Mexico.

  2. Brett says:

    Ah! I thought of something else after I clicked “post” –

    If you split the largely Pashtun part of Afghanistan off and added it to Pakistan, you’d have some very good balance-of-power borders. The Russians and former Soviet republics have traditionally backed the anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan (or did so before 9/11), and in the absence of the US would almost certainly resume. The south would become Pakistan’s playground, but it would be their problem.

  3. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Considering how well the Saudis treat their women, I understand why they find no fault with the Taliban. When they blew up the Buddas, they displayed their value system. These cretins should never be in charge of anything. You cannot deal with radical Islam. They do not tolerate that which they do not believe. Like any virus, if allowed to live will attack the body again and again.

  4. PD Shaw says:

    I don’t understand what is meant by fixing the Durand line either. Does he mean removing it, legitimizing it, mollifying some of his effects on local nomads?

  5. Dave Schuler says:

    As it stands the Durand Line is a boundary in name only. I see this issue as something I’ve complained about regularly: the status of ungoverned territories.

    How should it be resolved? However the parties care to resolve it but the end state should be one in which the countries see their borders as something that it’s their responsibility to secure.

  6. steve says:

    Dealing with Kharzai and building bridges with the Taliban sound incompatible. Kashmir is an area where neither India nor Pakistan has shown inclination to budge. While I like the idea of meeting with Russia, China, etc., I have to wonder if we have alienated Russia too much. China seems intent on establishing its financial empire and has engaged its military very little in external events. What will motivate them now?


  7. Andy says:

    I don’t see how we can fix the Durand line – that is something only Pakistan and Afghanistan can do and then only once they actually have the ability to control the border, which isn’t likely anytime soon.

  8. G.A.Phillips says:

    Considering how well the Saudis treat their women, I understand why they find no fault with the Taliban

    Or the liberals for that matter…

  9. Mike says:

    is there a way to stop G.A. from commenting – never mind – he has a first amendment right no matter what – i guess i just need to drink more to tolerate and act like he provides something to think about.

  10. Mike says:

    After wickepediaing (new verb) the Durand Line, i am with PD Shaw – what does that mean “fix it”.

  11. Matt says:

    I guess “Fix it” is to redraw the line so it doesn’t separate Pushtun tribes?