Since the takeover by Mr. Trump, one is really at pain to find the reason for “no US policy” for
Afghanistan in spite of the immense increase of the interest of the regional players and
operation Mansouri. (Code name for spring offensive). The emissaries are sent to Afghanistan,
some hints are dropped but no concrete policy is declared. One wonders whether the US have
changed the priorities or the problem is too complicated. Where needed Mr Trump did not
hesitate for a moment to use force. Mr Trump after the initial bumpy ride seems to be settling
in his office and has completed 100 days, thanks to his aids, proving Mr Truman right once
again that all the US president needs are the power of decisions the rest of the problems are
solved by hiring good aids.
Gen. McCaster was blunt or to be appropriate to the point. So for all the actions taken by the
US have helped Pakistan but not Afghans at all. The strained relations between the US and Iran
and Russia may be having some fall out on Afghan deteriorating situation. Pakistan is
unpredictability leaves one at lurch but one thing is sure that whatever they may say, she is not
ready to surrender its strategic importance so easily which has been achieved by Afghan war
over 4 decades. The recent statement by Pakistan Ambassador to the US mentioned
government resolve against IS and TTP without mentioning HQN and Afghan Taliban is
testimony to it.
The mother Bomb killed almost 90% TTP fighters who were seconded to IS. Bodies were
brought to KPK and buried quietly. The response was quick with a gruesome attack on National
army garrison in Mazar-e- Sharif killing more than 150 recruits with the help of four implanted
persons of ISI. It shows the inherent weakness of Afghan National army and the security
loopholes in the system. In this year Afghan army losses are above 6500 personnel’s which a
staggering number is.
The US is happy that China is increasing its influence in Afghanistan. They see it to counter
Russia, particularly after Sino-US summit meeting. But I feel when it comes to Afghanistan and
Asia at large China and Russia will stick together to thwart American influence. Almost 3/4 th US
navy is in the South China Sea and the Far East which is a formidable force to reckon. This will
glue China with the Russian Republic.
An article appeared in the Dawn written by 3 American analysts proposes four points. I agree to
disagree with their prioritization. In my view, the flagship of terror must be jolted first before
any attempt is made to undo the entangled knot of Afghanistan. The Russian Republic is
repairing its torn image at the cost of Afghans. Russian courtship with Pakistan is also a matter
Yesterday’s Revisionist Russia love with orthodox China is hair-raising. Iran and Pakistan in one
boat are strange co-sailor. About 40 years ago the Shia-Sunni infighting was there but not so
intense and open as it is now and has assumed international dimension. This antipathy has
destroyed the whole of the Middle East and south-west Asia. Joining of the great so-called anti-
terrorist alliance by Gen Raheel could be used any time against Shia in the name of terror and
will have frightening repercussions. It has already created doubts and further strained the
uneasy relation between Iran and Pakistan. One must not forget that the rulers may be Sunni
but the public is Shia in the land of energy. Raheel is not COAS but an employee.
Baluchistan is host to two insurgencies one is national liberation struggle and the other is the
sectarian up rise of Sunni against Shia Iran. Pakistan and Iran both are interfering and
supporting their respective sects in Afghanistan competing for the stake in Pizza.
In the above backdrop, there is no “Jim will fix it” formula to stop Afghanistan blood let. Sword
and Carrot approach is the only way but iron fist approach will be required. Any halfhearted
attempt will further complicate the situation. Pakistan must be told in the same language and
words as North Korea. The US should release the perks to Pakistan as they have already
released 900 million coalition fund but a vigilantism should be adopted whether the perks are
being used for mutual interest or only for Pakistan. The lack of accountability and pursuance, if
not enshrined, in the mutual mechanism will be lethal. War and tension in the region enhance
the geostrategic position of Pakistan, in the case of peace in Afghanistan she will share strategic
importance which is not acceptable to Pakistan.
Pakistan must be realistic that perks are given to the ally usually without any cash return but
attached with certain prerequisites and unwritten preconditions, while friendship is based on
mutual trade. Friendship is between the two equals and in the unequal equation, the ally has to
toe the line of the super power. For many years when we were following this policy there was
hardly a big upset in our relation with Washington apart from occasional hiccough. After
acquiring nuclear pile and introduction of outfits in the state structure both directly under the
establishment with no check we gradually went to into isolation.
Duality and Deceit are our policy. As we claim that elimination of the menace of terror is our
common strategy then why to mourn the death of OBL, Mansour’s droning and punishment
given to Qadri by a court and lately lynching of Mashaal Khan? What does it indicate?
I was told by an army officer that to army suicidal bomber or terrorist are more valuable
because it is deadly and spot correct while we were discussing Shakeel Afridi release. He told
me point blankly whatever is the policy of the state on the table but under the table, the fact is
there is no replacement for terrorism. OBL was a very high-value target. Shakeel release will be
equal to torching the country’s streets.
Afghanistan has its own problem as well. Rampant corruption, non-delivering government and
badly infiltrated government by Pakistani agencies all have damned the state. There is a long
list of our own Afghans/Pashtun on both sides who are on the pay list of the Afghan
government that means to say that we serve our motherland on the bribe. Now most of them
are the addicts.
The key to Afghan problem is lying the elimination of stake factor and sincere effort of the US,
China, Pakistan, India and Iran with a clear message that duality will lead to international
isolation and unparalleled action. I doubt that Pakistan can be a facilitator in solving Afghan
problem by peaceful means but we won’t lose anything if we try the deep establishment once
again. I based my assumption it will be a step forward to dislodge them from their key position
in the state structure and will end the nuclear race. There will be profound socio- economic
changes which are not in the interest of ruling elites who come from the Punjab.
Writer: Prof.(Dr) Khurshid Alam
The writer is a columnist with THE PASHTUN TIMES. He can be reached at
THE PASHTUN TIMES