DESPITE multiple rounds of dialogue between USA and Afghan Taliban, restoration of peace in unlucky war ridden land remains a far cry! It is not difficult to comprehend that durable peace in Afghanistan and revival of her pleasant bilateral relations with bordering neighbors will prove beneficial or harmful to which powers. Persistent unrest, in a sense, has provided a reason for the presence of American and NATO boots on ground. Denial of a multi dimensional regional connectivity between central Asian countries, Russia, China and Pakistan is a compulsion for USA. Instable and poorly governed Afghanistan befittingly serves this purpose for USA.
A bitter lesson of the history is that Afghan unrest and deterioration directly affects Pakistan. It is also an undeniable fact that success of every solution for this crisis primarily depends upon Pak- Afghan cooperation. A simple but bitter reality is that Pak- Afghan present rift suits American designs. It is an unpleasant truth that once effective acceleration of operation Zarb-e-Azb compelled the hard core terrorists to run from erstwhile FATA to Afghanistan, it could only be possible due to non-closure of escape routes.
Despite frequent reminders from Pakistan, these escape routes were not sealed by the NATO and USA forces. This act was not less than a deliberate attempt to sabotage operation Zarb-e-Azb. It is more surprising that USA and NATO forces are fully equipped with modern military gadgets capable enough to detect and strike the terrorists. Subsequently, these terrorists regrouped and brutally targeted the citizens all across Pakistan. Massacre at APS Peshawar was the vertex of abhorrent campaign against Pakistan. Terrorists made every move to overrun the writ of the state through deadly strikes.
Unfortunately, these terrorists are freely operating against Pakistan from Afghan soil under obvious Indian patronage and American meaningful off sightedness. Under these circumstances, American objections or suspicions on Pakistan bear no weightage. Freedom of action available to terrorists in Afghan territory along Pak border, in the presence of well-equipped foreign forces, carry a dangerous message. Alongside terrorist strikes deep inside Pakistan, a series of militant attacks on border posts kept originating from Afghan territory. Undeniably, these terrorists enjoy full support of ANA, NDS and RAW.
Willful grant of vicious freedom to these terrorists in Afghanistan clearly indicates American blessing for ongoing wide scale regional unrest. Indo-American nexus aims at restricting Chinese economic as well as geo-strategic expansion, therefore, destabilization in Pakistan remains one of the foremost priorities. Frequent ceasefire violations at the LoC, hostilities at western border and existence of RAW-sponsored terrorist networks sufficiently prove the reality of threats originating from neighborhood.
A common citizen is really confused on this point that how the menace of terrorism will be uprooted in the longer run from the whole region? Military operation was an important segment of anti-terrorism drive inside Pakistan and it obtained significant successes but on the other hand civil LEAs as well as other allied institutions could not generate requisite response due to inbuilt inefficiency. Lack of political will and farsightedness had been another major drag with the past ruling regime which largely compromised the successes attained through military operations.
Durable peace and complete victory against terrorism is not possible without overcoming the deep rooted deficiencies of civil institutions. On external front, we face a highly complex challenge. Correct comprehension of Afghan dynamics is must before exploring options for peace. Frequent verbal cannonade of Afghan leadership against Pakistan is understandable. Indian influence is visible in every gesture of Afghanistan and it should not be surprising for us at all. Afghan puppet government is entirely dysfunctional and spineless on internal front.
Vast territory of Afghanistan is under control of those Taliban who have a long history of resistance fight against foreign occupied forces. A few Afghan areas along Pak border are under control of TTP which pursues Indo-American objectives through terrorism against Pakistan. One can imagine the fate of poor Afghan masses who suffer either in the hands of corrupt Afghan government officials or face the brutality of militants. Majority of these oppressed Afghans look with hope towards Pakistan in daily routine matters like trade, education and medical emergencies. It is not an easy affair for Pakistan to explore the peace possibilities while dealing with ill-intentioned Afghan officials, brutal terrorists, hostile India and hypocrite America.
We need superior wisdom and extra-ordinary diplomatic efficiency. Military operation provided a position of strength to the state in a highly critical phase of this complex war. Emergent decision making is required to fully capture the advantage as any laxity or delay will be unaffordable. It is about time to counter the ill effects of Indo-USA coercive nexus on regional front. Present instability and unrest can only be settled through regional stakeholders like Russia, China and Iran. Pakistan’s resilience and historic fight against terrorism is the most credible proof which can effectively counter all the baseless Indian allegations. Governing the crisis through regional stakeholders is a cogent but uphill task. Reports regarding restoration of dialogues between USA and Afghan Taliban appear as a ray of hope. At this point of time, any such developments at regional canvas deserve extra-cautious attention of the Pak Foreign Office as any laxity on this account may deprive this whole region from much awaited peace!
—(The writer is a retired army officer and frequently writes for national newspapers)