Afghanistan and the US hegemony in the Middle-East became the focus of discussion on Day Three of the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival, with Pulitzer prize-winning American journalist Mark Mazzetti and political scientist Barnett Rubin speaking about the US drawdown from the desert country.
Moderated by William Dalrymple, the session ‘Dispensable Nation: Afghanistan after the US withdrawal’ saw Rubin, a leading expert on Afghanistan, saying that if the US agrees to release prisoners from Gauntanamo Bay, the basis of the peace process could be laid.
Speaking about foreign intervention, the constant surveillance in the name of ‘defence and security’ and the tactics of the CIA, Mazzetti explained that the US intelligence agency is on a very tight leash now. The CIA realised that if they try to get away with certain things, they would get caught and there would be hell to pay. “Of late the CIA has been more cautious,” he said.
Besides, the US has announced withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year.
“Whether that would be all the troops or some of them, it remains to be seen. I think that having American troops out of there will change the dynamic. I don’t know if it’s good or bad, but it just may accelerate talks between them, and that might lead to some progress in terms of ending the war,” Mazzetti told dna after the session.
Mazzetti also said that Afghanistan is not high up on the priority list for the Obama administration now.
When dna pointed out to him that the US has been facing a lot of criticism from across the world, he said, “The world thinks what America does or thinks is the centre of everything. But there is a sense in the Obama administration that it is time to get ourselves out of some things. We don’t have to be involved in the war in Syria. All the Saudi countries say we have to deal with each other and we don’t get along but if the US is involved, we can deal with you guys. But I think that the Obama administration has been very stern about not getting involved.”