Developments in Afghanistan impacting Pakistan

US led allies have entered a decade long war in Afghanistan. The NATO summit in Lisbon dispelled the impression that the coalition is eager to wind-up sooner rather than later. Fixing 2014 as the goal to aspire rather than having a realistic schedule to withdraw forces from Afghanistan. In July 2010, President Hamid Karzai said that by 2014 the Afghan security forces will be ready to take full responsibility for defence and law-enforcement. The late Richard Holbrooke described the US as having not an exit strategy but a transition strategy. The July 2011date given by President Obama would be just a symbolic gesture. This date, and that of 2014, is focused mainly on appeasing domestic unease over the continuation of an infinite war. These dates are based on conditions while ground realities contradict with the objective aspirations.Cost of counter insurgency (CI) is not sustainable indefinitely. The ongoing CI has further hardened Taliban providing them a cause of unification. It has also badly affected US economy, diverting attention away from more pressing issues. The consequences of defeat and total withdrawal would be catastrophic for US led coalition and neighbouring states like Pakistan. Troops surge in Afghanistan, exploring alternate supply route through Ukraine or Latvia, Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to Mazar-i-Sharif and expansion of US embassies in Kabul/ Islamabad using billions of dollars indicate US intent to stay engaged for a longer period in the region.For Pakistan the longer this war drags on the more negative consequences will it face. To believe that terrorism and insurgency will remain at manageable levels whatever happens in Afghanistan is wishful thinking. Pakistan has to devise ways to assure US that exit of foreign troops and early settlement of Afghan issue will only augur well for the fight against terrorism.

A 25-member Afghan delegation of High Peace Council headed by Burhanuddin Rabbani visited Pakistan (January 2011) to seek cooperation for Afghan reconciliation process. Project the outcome of Afghan delegation’s visit highlighting the agreement to create a joint Government commission to promote the Afghan reconciliation process which shows that Pakistan’s role in resolving Afghanistan imbroglio is vital. We need to examine the US and Afghan peace delegation’s optimism about Pak-Afghan recent talks in Islamabad and make a concerted effort to counter Indian diplomatic manoeuvring to spoil Pakistan’s role in resolving Afghan problem. Indian Foreign Minister Krishna’s visits to Kabul on 9th January 2011 and his tour to Iran in December 2010 indicate Indian anxiety over Kabul’s decision to seek Pakistan’s help in reconciling with the Taliban for peace in Afghanistan. India sees it as a threat to its role in Afghanistan. We need to expose India’s self-assumed role in Afghan and her clever strategy to keep the fire burning in Afghanistan and gain time to further consolidate her gains and influence in Afghanistan. Indian game in Afghanistan is now crystal clear. It is neither working to forward US interests nor is a real ally to Afghanistan, instead it is working on an agenda of trying to punish and destabilize Pakistan by using Afghan soil as a platform. Its inimical attitude towards Pakistan is visible from the various plots it has hatched from Afghanistan – Dailymailnews