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Afghanistan–victim of hidden agenda of Pakistan under the veil of international alliances

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By Mohammed Gul SAHIBBZADA-Alliances between major world powers are formed in order to bring order to world political and economic systems and to protect interests of members of the alliances. Since last one hundred years, major alliances were formed and dismantled and this process continues to take shape bringing about new alliances to compete for a share in the ever changing world order.  The players have been great European powers including Germany, France, United Kingdom, USSR, United States of America and lately, Russian Federation. In the years between 1920 till 1978, Afghanistan was fortunate to become point of agreement to be a buffer state between the then British empire and the then USSR, separating the two empires by her land mass in the South and North. This détente brought about a period of peace and tranquility to Afghanistan for more than forty years. After world war two, during the twilight of British Empire, South Asia was partitioned into two countries i.e Pakistan and India emerged as two independent countries in August 1947. India lived with what it got and its leaders, including Jawaher Lal Nehro, Mahatma Gandhi and others nurtured the newly born country in the path of democracy. But Pakistan lived with grudges, insecurity and threats from its immediate, newly independent neighbor, India, and she was handed over to and led by military generals. There was very little role for civilians to run the country right from the time Pakistan got independent.

Afghanistan inherited Pakistan at its immediate neighbor, which also brought with it border disputes between the two countries – the 2430km border line drawn by imperial British diplomat and civil servant called Murtimer Durand in late 1896 as border demarcation between the then British India and Afghanistan. This border line was never recognized by Afghanistan as official border by subsequent rulers till date, and after partition of Indian subcontinent and creation of Pakistan, the Afghan claim accelerated, translated into psychological worries accumulated in the minds set of newly created Pakistani military junta. Pakistan was already at loggerhead with India as many small pockets of special administrative lands were disputed between twp countries, and this dispute resulted in three major wars between India and Pakistan in 1948, 1965 and 1971. India emerged victorious in all of these wars. This phenomenon has agonized Pakistan and saw every disputed act with its neighbor as animosity, hence saw Afghanistan as enemy. Though Afghanistan had never taken sides in the three wars between Pakistan and India, Pakistan never settled the fear from Afghanistan side. This has translated into attempts by both Afghanistan and Pakistan to harbor armed oppositions against each other. In the wake of USSR invasion of Afghanistan in 1978, chances propped up for Pakistan to take advantage of opportunities presented, and be part of Western international alliance against USSR. Campaign to destabilize Afghanistan central government was a legitimate mission of the alliance against USSR, and during 1980 entire decade, Pakistan harbored so called Afghan resistant groups with support from US government and European nations, and trained them to stage guerilla war against USSR backed central government of Afghanistan. Things were seen in black and white by international alliance in this war and that was to defeat USSR in Afghanistan. They did not plan for a viable government after the defeat of USSR and removal of their so called ‘poppet’ government from Kabul. Pakistani military establishment secretly took advantage of this weakness of the greater alliance, and incorporated its dirty agenda to bring Afghanistan under her direct control by installing Mujahedeen government first, and when that failed to establish writ over the entire country, Taliban government was installed in Kabul. Oblivious to this undercurrent in Pakistani military establishment, international community blindly supported whatever groups recommended by Pakistani military junta to play future role in Afghanistan. The result of this clever planning by Pakistan plunged Afghanistan into chaos, anarchism and destruction. Even the United States suffered in the shape of 9/11 because of shadow games of Pakistan to advance her vested interest in Afghanistan.

In early 1990s when government of late Dr. Najeebullah laid out peace plan and invited all religious / political parties residing and formed in Pakistan and Iran to participate in the peace process, Pakistani military establishment opposed peace initiatives of the then Afghan government and decided to wage war against it. This was done despite initial general agreement between the then USSR and United States to form an all-inclusive government in Kabul. The result was a perennial fratricidal civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of Afghan civilians, and still continues to take toll on Afghanistan.  Then came the incident of 9/11 which prompted United States to take military action against Taliban for harboring Al-Qaeda terrorist organization in October 2001. Under the Bon agreement, a provisional government was formed in Kabul under the presidency of Mr. Hamid Karzai. But immediately after formation of this government with support from international community, Pakistani military establishment started to hatch conspiracy to prevent bringing about a strong central government in Kabul. For this to happen, Pakistani military establishment encouraged and regrouped Taliban and many other military groups to start guerilla war against Kabul government. This trend continues till today.    Even after the new order was established in Afghanistan, Pakistan has left no stone unturned to manipulate its alliance with United States as partner against terrorism. Pakistan openly supported insurgent groups and harbored Usama Bin Laden in or near a military base inside Pakistan. International community continued to turn blind eyes to this contradicting behavior of Pakistan. But this year on first day of New Year, President Donald Trump has openly accused Pakistan of ‘deceits and lies’, and formulated aggressive strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan to take punishing steps against Pakistan if she doesn’t stop supporting terrorists against Afghanistan and international community.

Peace is the first priority for Afghanistan, but it doesn’t come without sacrifice. Afghanistan should always be ready for war in order to achieve peace. Therefore, government security and diplomatic apparatus should endeavor to encourage splinter groups of insurgents to join government and come to mainstream Afghan society. Educational and dissemination programs through Mosques and local Shuras, Jirgas and other traditional platforms available in the country should be utilized to encourage insurgents to join peace process of Afghan government, and this effort should continue. In addition, government should hone its security apparatus’ skills and fighting capabilities to gain ground in battlefields. These gains in battlefields can be leveraged in bringing about peace. In addition, government should start development and reconstruction projects in areas affected by ongoing war in order to gain sympathy and support of local population.

Afghanistan government should make it a permanent foreign policy to always stay guard and watch for destabilizing acts of Pakistan military junta. Afghanistan should formulate comprehensive and multi-dimensional military and defensive strategy against any and all forms of aggression from Pakistan, and buttress its capabilities to respond and mobilize forces in the event such defensive acts are needed. One of the most important tasks before Afghanistan government is to mobilize Pashtoons in the tribal areas of Pakistan – just like the governments of King Zahir Shah and Sardar Mohammed Daud Khan did. Tribal belt of Pakistan is a safety belt to protect Afghanistan from all kinds of infiltrations. The current Pashtoons Protection Movement (PTM) is a good vehicle to realize this aim in Tribal areas. Afghanistan should support this movement at every step. Though it will be challenging to clean up tribal areas in a short span of time as it is infested with terrorist groups, which ISI of Pakistan has built since last four decades, but changes can happen. This is the best times for leaders and defense strategist of Afghanistan to exploit opportunities and equip the military and security apparatus of the country with the help of international partners and alliances currently assisting Afghanistan in the fight against international terror.