News & Views
ON Friday, hundreds of Afghan protestors gathered outside the Pakistan embassy in Kabul to protest against Pakistan’s alleged support to the Taliban, which appears to be an act of frustration on the part of India and Afghanistan for their failure in isolating Pakistan. There is incontrovertible evidence that pro-India Afghan group supported by Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) is involved. General Isa (Retd), deputy to the former Afghan intelligence chief led the rally to protest against the recent bomb attacks in Kabul and Kandahar, which killed nearly 60 people including five UAE diplomats. The Taliban had claimed the responsibility for Kabul terror attack but denied having hand in the Kandahar bombing. Pakistan maintains that the militants operate from the Afghan side of the border that were forced to flee Pakistan following Zarb-i-Azb. The US also part of propaganda campaign against Pakistan and its agencies.
Sometimes they point fingers of accusation directly and at others using vicious insinuations. They say the Taliban fighters armed and funded by Pakistan operate from Pakistani soil. It is continuation of policy of former president Hamid Karzai, whose hatred against Pakistan was deep-rooted, and he used every opportunity to spew venom against Pakistan. In fact, Afghanistan government and its armed forces have failed to establish the writ of the state. The problem is that since long Afghanistan is in the throes of a multidimensional civil war; and with the rift between the partners of Unity Government and intensified Taliban attacks, the country is adrift to more uncertainties, chaos and anarchy. To cover up their failures and conflicts, a campaign has been launched in electronic and social media in Afghanistan that militants of Daesh are Pakistanis, though there is ample evidence that founders of Daesh in Afghanistan are Afghans.
Of course, a number of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants have joined the ranks and files of Daesh. After the launch of the Zarb-i-Azb, militants from Pakistan had fled to Afghanistan, and Pakistan claimed that they were provided sanctuaries. Even special cards for movement without any check were issued to them, and medical facilities and ration, etc., were provided to them. But when they joined IS (Daesh) and turned on their patrons, Afghan government functionaries started blaming Pakistan for their failure to root out a few hundred militants of Daesh from its soil. Majority of militants of Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) have announced their allegiance to Islamic State Khurasan (ISK). Militants of The East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), Tajikistan, Chechnya etc., have also joined the ISK. Anyhow, Taliban reportedly control around 30 percent of Afghanistan.
In this backdrop, Taliban fighters and commanders do not need shelter outside Afghanistan, as when they have a part of their own country under their control, where they could rest, recuperate, train and groom freely for their fight. In September, United States Senate Armed Services Committee’s chairman Senator John McCain had vindicated Pakistan’s position when in an interview he said: “Neither Pakistan nor Afghanistan could be blamed for the situation in Afghanistan, as these were Obama’s policies that worsened the situation.” But Karzai and remnants of his regime continue Pakistan bashing. During his visit to Delhi, Hamid Karzai had appreciated Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement on the human rights situation in Balochistan saying that India had every right to respond to Pakistan’s provocations. “Pakistani authorities have spoken freely on Afghanistan and India, but this is the first time that the PM of India has spoken about Balochistan,” Hamid Karzai added.
Despite the fact, the US supports peace talks but it is a double speak. It was also part of the nexus that sabotaged the peace talks. To justify drone attack on Mullah Mansour, the US said that “Mullah Mansour had refused to participate in peace talks with the Afghan government, intensifying fighting since he officially took control in July after Omar’s death.” Anyhow, the statement that Mullah Mansour was against peace talks was absurd rather blatant lie. Fact of the matter is that it was Mullah Mansour who had sent his team to participate in Murree talks in which it was decided that substantive talks would take place in the next round. But that was not to take place, as the peace process was sabotaged by National Directorate of Security (NDS), which has many pro-Indian elements who were inducted during president Karzai era, by leaking the news of Mullah Omar’s demise.
The objective was to show to the world that Pakistan provides safe haven to Taliban leaders. The US is playing a dangerous game in liaison with India and northern alliance elements, who do not wish to see peace for different reasons. Secondly, the US wants to keep the pot boiling to maintain presence of its forces in Afghanistan. Finally, Northern Alliance leaders have overwhelming majority in Afghan government, and they do not wish to share power with the Taliban. On the other hand, the US and Afghanistan have been pushing Pakistan to do more, despite the fact Pakistan military conducted operations in Swat, Malakand, South Waziristan and more recently in North Waziristan dismantling terrorist’s infrastructure and networks. The gestures by President Ashraf Ghani were predicated on the false hope that Pakistan would bring the Taliban to the negotiating table on their conditions.
As a matter of fact, the internecine conflict in Afghan government is another reason for its failure. Abdul Hakim Mujahid, an advisor to the High Peace Council is under fire for calling the Taliban militants as “angels and a holy group”. The acting provincial governor of northern Balkh province Ata Muhammad Noor called the remarks as illogical. He emphasized the need to ascertain enemies in the system before going to face them in the battlefield. The other day, local officials in Farah province cited Taliban’s access to Russian weapons and night vision goggles as the reason behind the increased casualties among Afghan forces. Meanwhile, following a series of deadly attacks, the US embassy in Kabul has reminded US citizens that serious threats exist in city of Kabul and throughout Afghanistan. This speaks volumes about the failure of the US, NATO and Afghan forces to decimate the Taliban.
—The writer is a senior journalist based in Lahore.