A lost war and blame-game

Mansoor Akbar Kundi

THE American President Donald Trump’s THE American President Donald Trump’s  statement in which he warned and  insisted that Pakistan not to protect terrorists was a bullying statement by the head of the state. Under his new policy for South Asia where he praised Indian role in the development of Afghanistan and showed a distrustful attitude for Pakistan by more blame game. It asked Pakistan by avoiding a bandwagon role in support of defunct elements and do more against them stirring world-wide controversy. Where the statement provoked enormous resistance inside and outside Pakistan with endorsing support for Pakistan in war against terrorism there it shows American failure in Afghanistan without a solution in sight. The war in Afghanistan which has spanned over more than three decades finally seem to be out of the hands of US. The statement reflected a mixed reaction of distrust, despair and hope for a war they have actually lost.  It is said about Afghanistan that “One can rent it out, but cannot buy it”. History has proved it over the centuries that those entered Afghanistan in hope of either subjugating or manipulating their influence ended up in despair and losses. Right from Cyrus of Great (580-529 BC), Alexander Great (356-323 BC), The British, and the Soviets occupied it with no time but the resistance following occupation was immense and inflicted on them heavy financial, military and human losses. American policy in Afghanistan since 2001 has been a failure. And more the time passes higher it stands chances of financial, military and morale losses in Afghanistan.  American abandoned Afghanistan soon after Soviets bogged down from its soil in 1988. The Soviets left Afghanistan economically, socially and morally devastated. It was the time America could play a developmental and constructive role by building infrastructure and strengthen different sections no matter how rival they were. But it did not. America soon plunged into bloody civil war with war lords controlling its soil in chucks with whatever support available from outside and narco money. The situation in Afghanistan was a threat to region as lawlessness and drug growth reached a record level when Pakistan assumed its role in Afghanistan by supporting Taliban which unified and restored peace by marginalizing drugs trafficking almost to nil. In fact, the support for Taliban during the years was one of the big liability and responsibility created by the vacuum American caused by abandoning its role.  Taliban Afghanistan was neither threat to world or regional peace. The Pak-Afghan borders were most secured during the period with friendly relations. Indian influence during the period was almost nil. Comparatively today’s Afghanistan is far more threat to regional and global peace than was during 1994 t0 2001. But die had been cast for the region in 2001 in the wake of 9/11 disaster about which there two schools of thought. One supporting it as strategy framed at the hands of Taliban by undermining American interests, the other as ploy a fabricated and designed by American to disturb the status quo. Thierry Meyssan in her book: 9/11 The Big Lie published in 2002 that the incident was designed by Americans themselves to punish Afghanistan.  American entered militarily into Afghanistan under two assumed roles. One as American force and other as NATO command. NATO took care of Afghanistan on October 4, 2006 by replacing International Assistance Security Force (IASF) which was deployed under the UN Security Council Resolutions 1386 and 1510 in February 2002. The force was created to deal with the challenges Afghanistan interim government faced from the growing resistance from Taliban which since then has been growing. The then commander of NATO force in Afghanistan was a four star British general, Gen. David Richards. He soon after assumption of command met President Pervaiz Musharraf and made public statement that NATO’s major task was to counter growing poppy menace and Taliban resistance. Gen. David Richards has already been assigned NATO command tasks in East Timor and Sierra Leone. The NATO force comprising 32000 men: 20000 from the IASF and 12000 from the already deployed 20000 US force in Afghanistan in 2001 was functional until 2014 when Afghan forces took the command. The recent increase of 4000 as President Donald Trump announced in his statement would be the third addition during last four years.  Pakistan has been suffering and fighting by doing its best to counter terrorism actually began in 2001 after it took U-Turn on Afghanistan. It was not a good decision but under the circumstances Pakistan had no viable and visionary alternate. In my analysis had there been a democratic setup with no matter a weak Parliament there would have been a middle way as necessitated under circumstances by not taking U-Turn on Taliban. In wider analysis, U-Turn by Pakistan in a situation where the force was created by themselves was not advisable. It caused instability and resulted in underground terrorism and suicidal attacks. Taliban aggressively penetrated in different parts of the country and setup a parallel system of government in Swat and North Waziristan. It was the unlimited sacrifices of Pakistan army to restore peace by eliminating them. It was excess of Pakistan’s doing more and more American establishment demand.  President Donald Trump’s statement is non serious and illogical which has successfully been countered and answered by Pakistan civilian and military leaders. China, Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia has defied the statement as “baseless and alarming for two countries’ relationship”. The things have been rapidly changing. The world is moving faster from bi-polar to multipolar world by rapid changes brought by globalization and new patters of bilateralism — like the one emerged or likely to emerge from CPEC. And without Pakistan’s help they cannot continue as they are dependent on it for logistical supply to its troops. Pakistan during the last many months has revised and strengthened its border management with more troops and surveillance on Pak-Afghan border.  America has lost its war in Afghanistan. The trillion of dollars, huge military presence in six bases in different parts of Afghanistan and NATO four commands have not improved the situation. 43% Afghan soil is under Taliban control with whom American have shown intention to dialogue with. — The writer is Professor, Dept of Politics & International Relations, International Islamic University, Islamabad Email: [email protected]

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