Recently former Afghan president Hamid Karzai in a statement alleged that ‘Pakistan wants to turn Afghanistan into a silent state’ He did not spare the US too and said, “Washington wants to establish permanent bases in Afghanistan to better control the region.” He was talking to The Associated Press on February 07. He further said that his country is in “terrible shape” 16 years after the U.S-led invasion that toppled the Taliban. Who is responsible for putting Afghanistan in that ‘terrible shape’ Pakistan or US; it is no doubt a very important question. Some of the analysts are of the opinion that it is neither the US nor Pakistan, it is simply the failure of the Afghan government that it could not succeed in securing the country and Mr. Karzai had to refer to it as a country in ‘terrible shape’.
An important thing which the people belonging to the Karzai school of thought are continuously ignoring is that bringing peace, prosperity and political stability to Afghanistan has never been a part of the US strategy in Afghanistan. If the people of Afghanistan get united, if they forego their internal differences and succeed in establishing cordial relations with their bordering neighbours, things would not be comfortably pleasant for the US. We all know that it is because of Afghanistan’s internal conflicts rather a situation of anarchy that today we find not even a single national institution able to work properly in the country. Every day bomb blasts and suicide-attacks are causing a lot of casualties, food and fuel scarcity has made life of the Afghan people a hell. Afghanistan has to import very basic type of food-items like wheat and meat from other countries. On the whole the country is facing countless problems rather challenges on day-to-day basis.
Taking full benefit of the situation, in the name of security threats, US is adding thousands more troops to Afghanistan and the unlucky Afghan government has no other option but to welcome these new troops. Certainly the Taliban and the other locals of the country are not happy over the ever-increasing US interference in their country, so they react harshly. Their harsh reaction is given the name of terrorism by the US authorities. US blames that these so-called terrorists take refuge in Pakistan after every ‘terrorist’ activity as Pakistan allegedly provides them safe havens to them. This baseless blame is exploited by the Indian media and in this way a nonsense tale of Pakistan’s relationship with the terrorists is concocted. In short, the foreign forces are simply making the situation in Afghanistan more and more complicated. Sending more troops to the Afghan lands and targeting the local population of Afghanistan could never bring peace to the war-stricken country. Pakistan too has ever been of the same opinion that increase in foreign troops in Afghanistan is not a viable solution to the problem.
The only way to settle down the affairs in Afghanistan is nothing but table-talk and negotiations. Recently the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said in an interview with Bloomberg news agency, “At the end of the day, the Afghans will have to sit down and talk and Islamabad is ready to help mediate talks with the Taliban.” In the same interview the Prime Minister rejected charges that Pakistan had been selective in its fight against terrorism. He categorically rejected any possibility of Pakistan’s backing militants fighting across the border.
Another important point to be kept in mind is that militancy is a problem more seriously hazardous to Pakistan than Afghanistan particularly with special reference to the CPEC. Pakistan’s future economic prosperity as well as the political stability and strategic strength are directly linked with the CPEC. It is also a fact that this project would never prove a real game-changer in case the terrorists succeed in targeting the law and order situation in Pakistan through their terrorist activities. Pakistan is doing all its best to crush and curb the terrorists who are most of the times patronised by across the borders elements. Pakistan has started the difficult work of fencing the border with Afghanistan in the same context. Blaming Pakistan for promoting terrorism and patronising the terrorists is nothing more than a nonsense idea. Sooner or later, the government of Afghanistan will have to realise that peace and prosperity of Pakistan is a guarantee to the peace and prosperity of Afghanistan.
—The writer is freelance columnist based in Multan.