Scapegoating Pakistan ! | By Makhdoom Shahab-ud-Din


Scapegoating Pakistan !

THERE is a reason why the term, “the graveyard of empires” is often synonymous with Afghanistan – with the ensuing violence after Biden’s government withdrew its forces, the country has yet again bogged down in chaos.

However, this time the Afghan government is blatantly using Pakistan as a scapegoat by holding them liable for the pandemonium within their own country.

The Ghani regime, in an impetuous attempt to kick out of the icy clutches of impending failure, is trying a surfeit of underhanded tactics even if it means to undermine Pakistan.

Underpinning the peace process within Afghanistan has always been intrinsic for Pakistan as the expansion of CPEC allows for better connectivity, rejuvenation of trade and ushering peace and prosperity for both the Afghans and Pakistanis.

Pakistan has always been a firm advocate in bringing peace within the Afghan region only through political dialogue and not via totalitarianism inflicted by military might.

The Afghan government, on the contrary, has been continuously barking up the wrong tree by convoluting the Pakistani peace narrative.

This has been a methodical attempt at hiding the incompetency and corruption of their own regime by inculpating the Pakistani government. Unlike Pakistan, the Afghan government has no stakes in Afghanistan.

Most of the upper echelons of the Afghan government come from abroad and will eventually leave the country when the meltdown in Kabul would be beyond their control. Now the only thing left in the Afghan government’s control is to pin the onus for the current chaos on Pakistan.

The Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, took to the media, proclaiming that it was Pakistan which had the negative impact on the Afghan conflict.

There have been various other claims made by the government in Kabul that Pakistan has been negotiating with the Taliban in a so-called “double game”, however, that too is just based within a bubble of deceit.

It was actually the encouragement by Pakistan to push key stakeholders including the Taliban for political settlement and peace in Afghanistan that got the Afghan government wrongly accusing Pakistan of a “double game”.

Blaming Pakistan in this regard has severely damaged the US war effort in Afghanistan and US relations with Pakistan as it was the United States , which by negotiating directly with the Taliban, provided them the legitimacy as an important player in the future of Afghanistan.

For the Ghani government, blaming Pakistan as the force behind the Taliban achieves twin political goals – For one, blaming Pakistan helps to shift the burden of responsibility away from the colossal governance blunders of the Afghan government.

The other political reason is the continuous support to the Ghani government by certain foreign benefactors.

However, that support has failed now as the rampant corruption across all levels of Afghan state and society have made the current Afghan government left squandering to try to once again find a foothold in the political and administrative environment of Afghanistan.

The Ghani government had also resisted dialogue with the Taliban, just because of its deep-rooted corruption and mismanagement.

Numerous reports from the US government and international organizations over the past decade have highlighted corruption and bribery right down even to the district level by many government institutions such as the police and has also highlighted nepotism in hiring for positions.

This all reflects a lack of will within the Afghan government to serve the public that is now turning to the Taliban.

The government of Pakistan has also expressed its deep concern over the political turmoil in Afghanistan and highlighting how political instability in Afghanistan is also going to have an inverse effect on Pakistan as well as evident from the statement of Prime Minister Imran Khan that “the country that is going to be most affected by turmoil in Afghanistan is Pakistan”.

The government in Islamabad is still confident that there is still space for a negotiated political settlement for long-term peace in Afghanistan but the main question here is that will the spoilers let peace to prevail in this region? Pakistan is already bearing the brunt from these ‘spoilers’, as evident from the increase in frequency of terrorist attacks on its civilians and soldiers in the areas of Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa that border Afghanistan.

The Afghan leaders have clarified that it is not their intention to attack foreign countries so this just comes to show how several ‘spoilers’ that back the Afghan government, aren’t ready to bring peace to the Afghan-Pakistan region.

Moreover, the government in Kabul is adamant on holding good faith peace-talks with the Afghan troops and this incompetence in Kabul will continue to cost lives.

In one operation alone, more than 150 Afghan troops were killed by Taliban, as fighting spread to 26 of the 32 provinces and if this violence in Afghanistan becomes perpetual, Pakistan will also see another influx of Afghan refugees.

This therefore begs us to realize the current political tension within Afghanistan – The Taliban are now in a position to attack Kabul and Pakistan is concerned, as it can ill-afford such a chaotic situation in its neighbouring country.

—The writer is an award-winning journalist, TV anchor and social media influencer. He is an Erasmus Mundus Journalism scholar.

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