Dr Muhammad Khan
An article published in Euro Asia Review of January 18, 2017 by Indian writer, Dr Subhash Kapila is a true reflection of Indian mind-set and its long-term strategic planning towards Afghanistan, Afghanistan and its neighbourhood and particularly about future of Pak-Afghan relationship. Entitled as “Afghanistan cannot be Abandoned to China-Pakistan-Russia Troika in 2017”, the article aims at provoking United States and Afghanistan against what the Troika is trying to bring peace in this war-ravaged country.
Being the neighbourhood of this Troika, they are concerned for the future of this country and their own future, because an unstable and militancy hit Afghanistan may promote instability on its neighbourhood. The past is witness to this fact that militancy in Afghanistan has destabilised the Pakistan directly with shocking effects, continuing even today. The Chinese autonomous region, Xinjiang too got the share and there remained foreign sponsored militancy, destabilising the local populace of this autonomous region and China as a whole. Muslim populated areas of Russia, Chechnya and Dagestan too were influenced by the militancy in Afghanistan.
Therefore, the concern of Troika is unpretentious and their covert and overt meetings about Afghanistan meant to bring peace and stability in that country. The leadership of Afghanistan was to be involved at an appropriate time, once the Troika itself has worked-out a strategy, which would benefit Afghanistan and all its neighbours for a regional peace. Now, the Troika has decided to include the leadership of Afghanistan to be part of this group as the basic homework has been completed.
Contrary to the interests of Troika, US and India have different interests in Afghanistan. For these two strategic partners, peace and stability in Afghanistan has secondary standing, the real worry is their own strategic and economic interests, whom an unstable Afghanistan can better serve, rather a stable and peaceful Afghanistan. In a stable Afghanistan where peace and economic prosperity is the order of the day, there may not be a requirement of foreign forces as still being maintained by US and NATO in key strategic bases of Afghanistan.
Similarly, a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan may not require Indian involvement, with a greater intensity, what we see today. Indian heavy involvement in Afghanistan in the garb of reconstruction has given its leadership the needed flexibility to dictate the guards at Kabul to serve the Indian interests. This dictation is being well received by the current regime in Kabul, exactly on the lines, HamadKarazai has put into practice, during his time.
The significant aspect to be remembered is that, unlike US, the Troika has not deployed its forces in Afghanistan, nor interfered in the internal affairs of that country. The Troika has not trained the Afghan spying network (NDS) for its usage against a third country. The Troika has not controlled the media of Afghanistan, which is busy in spreading the poisonous propaganda against a country which provide logistic support to entire Afghanistan and looked after millions of Afghan refugees ever since the start of conflict in 1980. Unlike India, the Troika has not penetrated into the educational and cultural areas of Afghanistan, which has been designed to bring major changes in the traditional Afghan society.
In fact, the beautiful land of Afghanistan has been bestowed with pivotal geopolitical location, huge number of natural resources and robust and hard worker manpower, 65 % of which consists of youth. Unfortunately, there has been a great divide between the masses of Afghanistan and guards at Kabul. This divide has been through ages and even today; this split is present and growing with each passing day. Whereas, the ruling class has been under the dictate of external powers, especially the India in its post-independence history, the Afghan masses maintained a very strong and intimate pledge with Pakistan.
Indeed, Pakistan and Afghanistan are two countries with a common social and tribal background, which is centuries old. The post 9/11, Afghan ruling class has totally surrendered its authority and identity to India and US, which further enlarged the gulf between the masses and the ruling class. Despite their efforts, the ruling class at Kabul could not motivate the people against Pakistan, thus made use of media, academic institutions and its spying network; the National Directorates of Security (NDS). Today, these three areas of Afghanistan are totally under Indian influence. From these platforms, an element of hate is being promoted against the state of Pakistan. The Afghan masses are being incited and irritated to have an indifferent attitude towards Pakistan. Nevertheless, the Afghan masses understand their historical, social and economic relationship with the people and state of Pakistan. They cannot disregard Pakistan, a country which has been their fruit basket and shelter at most trying times of their turbulent history.
Subhash Kapila’s article should be an eye opener for the people and particularly the intellectual class of Afghanistan. The Afghan intellectuals must realise and recognise their true friends and foes. If a group of countries (Troika) is trying to bring peace, based on consensus and mutual trust of various Afghan factions, should their efforts be commended or censured. Afghans should be sensible to understand, what compelled US to spend billions of USDs in war-torn and conflict ridden country, not threatening its (US) security anyway. Was it a love for Afghans or US strategic interests in this part of the world?
In the same way, the $2-3 billion Indian investment was aimed for the Afghan people or to secure its own future economic and strategic interests. This is despite the fact that, over 46 % Indian masses are spending their lives in extreme poverty. Just imagine a future Afghan society, whose educational system has been imported from India with Indian teaching advisors. Then, the Afghan bureaucracy, its police, Army, intelligence agency and above all its political leadership has major contributions in their training from India. Would this be in-line with traditional Afghan culture and custom, the real strength of Afghanistan? Or else, the puppets in Kabul are in the process of Afghan social transformation in line with Indian society?
— The writer is International Relations analyst based in Islamabad.