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Afghanistan’s meticulousness and Pakistan’s honey-tongued promises

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Ali Jan Khan

Contrary to its pledges and commitments regarding helping resolution to long standing Afghan conflict and return of peace and stability in the already war stricken country, there seem visible contradiction in statements of high ranking Pakistani officials. Sartaj Aziz, Security Advisor to Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, in last two days made different statements.

On November 1st, 2015 Sartaj Aziz said that it was up to the Afghan government whether it wants to talk to them or keeps combating. However, he added that Pakistan will be in a better position to facilitate dialogues if the Afghan express its willingness. A day later, he said atmosphere was not conducive for dialogues between Afghan government and Taliban.

So far the Afghan government, especially President Dr. Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah have not yet given a clear response but it seems that their previous experiences with Pakistan have made them too much meticulous. Contradictions in “words and actions” on the part of Pakistan has become an established belief in the aftermath of latest statements of certain high ranking figures, who remain occupants of important offices including the former military dictator, Pervez Musharaf, and others. All of them have confirmed their soft-corner not only for the militants but even for al-Qaeda. They were waiting for pulling US-led allied NATO troops out of Afghanistan. And finally they confirmed such association by capturing Kunduz for a brief time.

Whatever might be claims and justifications on the part of Pakistan before media and global forums regarding its role in Afghanistan affairs but internally they are working on an agenda, just to force the Afghan government for surrendering before its terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are too much harmful to the very interests of Afghanistan, therefore, it could be very difficult for President Dr. Ashraf Ghani and his team to do so.

However, continue meddling in internal affairs of Afghanistan is not only causing wide range unrest amongst the peace loving Afghans but it leads to wastage of billions and trillion dollars, invested by global community after 9/11. Today’s Afghanistan is much more different than that of 1988, 1992 and 1996 as there exists a constitutional set up with a centralized authority. Earlier, Afghanistan was scattered and lacking a system and an acceptable authority. But despite their divisions in different political ideologies and identity, the Afghans believe in a system and constitution.

At this moment, when certain regional and neighbouring countries are on a bid to get benefits of Afghan government and nation compulsions, responsibility rest with the international community to come forward for the safety and protection of its trillion dollars, invested in reconstruction of war ruined infrastructures. All are on the same page that destablisation and weakening of Afghanistan is a serious threat to global peace. Regional and neighbouring countries should gauge gravity of the situation as Pakistan’s continue meddling in affairs of Afghanistan could enable Al-Qaeda and IS like forces to exploit the situation in favour of their own interests.

The present situation is quite different from the recent past. In the name of Arab spring, worst kind of violence is in progress in Middle East since 2003. Similarly, in 80’s and 90’s, the USSR was in era of disintegration and its successor Russian Federation was not in a position to play its role. But now Russian Federation has realized its responsibilities of helping the oppressed communities that are experiencing unprecedented aggression on the basis of religious faiths and beliefs.

Many Arab rulers are silent and carefully watching the situation but internally they are unhappy. These rulers are feeling threats to their rule after becoming witnesses to the fate of Saddam Hussain in Iraq, Col. Gaddafi in Libya and now of Bashar-ul-Asad in Syria. Instead of helping like 90’s, almost all of these Arab monarchs are now trying to fuel crises and complications for Americans in the region. And Russian President Mr. Putin has also put on high alert his country when the Afghan resistance elements have captured Kunduz province, bordering Tajikistan.

Earlier in 80’s and 90’s Pakistan was enjoying association not only of the US but also of Saudi Arabia-led Islamic ummah. Now geo-strategic priorities have been changing. Neighbouring Islamic Republic of Iran is in a reconciliation process with the US. Turkey’s strengthening Islamic democracy has put at risk no other than Saudi Arabia. India is becoming another regional economic typhoon with the help of the US and its Middle East aides. Chinese are becoming neighbours of Middle East with making operation the Gawadar Fort of Pakistan. In such a situation, Pakistan needs to think about drastic shifts in its policies towards Afghanistan.

The author is a Peshawar-based journalist and a guest columnist for Afghanistan Times.