As President Obama moves the U.S. toward a pullout from Afghanistan by 2014, it’s time to start asking the question: What will Afghanistan look like when America leaves? Events in the remote region of Baluchistan in western Pakistan may give us a clue.In this impoverished and sparsely populated region, a bloody and poorly understood insurgency has been quietly growing for nearly a decade. Baloch seperatists and Pakistani security forces have been trading blows through a series of shadowy killings and mysterious disappearances. The scene is often rather grisly:
The family of Jalil Reki learned from television news that his body had been found, more than two years after the political activist was allegedly abducted by Pakistani security officials.Reki’s body bore signs of severe torture, according to his father, Qadeer Baloch, including broken wrists and knees and burn marks. He was killed by several shots through the back of the head.
This is also a conflict with regional ramifications. There are allegations that India is helping Baloch rebels and terrorists, likely as a counter to Pakistan’s training of rebels in Kashmir. New Delhi has denied these allegations, but many Western governments believe them to be true.This may be the future for a postwar Afghanistan: low-level combat interspersed with atrocities among militias supported by outside powers. Afghanistan is still an extraordinarily weak state despite years of NATO training, and there is no shortage of militia groups or outside powers with an interest in controlling the situation in Afghanistan—not exactly a recipe for stability and both India and Pakistan are likely to use the country as a zone for proxy warfare.