By Abbas Mehkri

(Translated from Daily Jang)

America is going to face the worst ever defeat of its history. If completes, it would be the second biggest after the Vietnam War, which shall be regarded as the superpower’s another unparalleled. Such a big humiliation the American are about to face in Afghanistan at the hands of the Taliban. Washington would run out of options of an honorable exit, if it fails to find out an amicable way out in order to avoid the great embarrassment. The Crusade that the US launched against the Taliban-al-Qaeda after 9/11, the much desired victory has not fallen into its lap in accordance with its plan. The Taliban proved to be a hard nut to crack for the American policymakers. Now the defeat at the Taliban hands seems to be the writing on the wall. Instead the US realized the realities on ground and formulated strategy to find out a negotiated way out, it is constantly committing blunders, which are not only poised to create problems for Washington, but also to have lasting impacts upon the regional countries, especially Pakistan and Iran.

The rulers in Pakistan and the national security institutions need to keep a watchful eye on the situation unfolding out of the various steps taken by the US in Afghanistan, and take preventive measures to block negative impacts reaching Pakistan. The negative impacts can result into gearing up of the acts of terrorism and violence across the country. America is committing the blunder of holding backdoor negotiations with the Taliban, without involving Pakistan. Washington plans to pull out allied countries’ troops from Afghanistan by year 2013 and keep 10,000-15,000 Special Forces or Marines present there with their bases in Kabul and Kandahar. Washington plans to wage a covert war against the ‘terrorists’ using the drone strikes and surgical operations. Most of the operations, it is feared, will be conducted within the Pakistani territory. After the recent attack on the NATO headquarters as well as the US embassy in Kabul, Leon Panetta, the US defense secretary, held in his press talk the Haqqani Network (HN) responsible and that “Pakistan has failed to dismantle the network”. He threatened of a unilateral surgical operation against the HN inside Pakistan territory.

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If the US continues to using drone strikes or conducts direct incursions into Pakistan territory, then the anti-Americanism will rise in the hearts and minds of the people of Pakistan. The Pakistan government and national security institutions will be left with no option but to respond to the assault on its sovereignty and violations of its territorial integrity. This would not only spoil the Pakistan-US relationship, but also ravage the achievements made so far in the WOT. Consequently the world at large would suffer a lot in terms of benefiting the outcome of WOT, putting further the world peace at stake. Pentagon must be aware that the situation on ground is not conducive for surgical operations, as in Afghanistan and other neighbouring countries, particularly Pakistan and Iran, the hatred for Americans is at its height. China and Russia would also not like the US to linger on the Afghanistan imbroglio for a longer period of time.

The sooner the Americans leave Afghanistan, the better it would be for peace in the region. If America militarily quits Afghanistan, then there is a possibility that a broad-based government is installed in Kabul. If the exit is delayed, then it is obvious that the Taliban would make their comeback possible. They have hardened in their experience of hpw fighting the Americans; they know the Americans have betrayed them many a time after using them against the Soviet Union; they left the Taliban in lurch and turned their guns on them terming the Taliban their enemy. Now the Taliban do not trust anybody, they trust only themselves. If the Taliban gain control of Afghanistan, then the covert war would be difficult for American Special Forces or Marines to continue. This would result in an unprecedented defeat for the Americans, which would cause them the neurosis to differentiate between the friend and foe.

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If the Americans want a safe and sound honorable exit from Afghanistan, the region in particular and the world in general becomes safer place, then they must quit Afghanistan immediately. They should follow the policy of consultation, taking all political powers and neighboring countries into confidence, and pave way for a broad-based government in Afghanistan. Washington, instead of keeping the negotiations with the Taliban secret, needs to realize the vitality of Islamabad’s role in bringing peace and normalcy to Afghanistan. The US must not forget that Pakistan is directly affected to whatever happens in Afghanistan, as Pakistan is the party to the dispute. It should not make the mistake of direct unilateral attacks on Pakistan; it has to trust the Pakistan armed forces and their capability to fight. Our armed forces have proved by defeating the inimical forces in the asymmetrical guerilla war. Such a victory is not even in the credit of the superpower of America. Washington needs to facilitate the armed forces of Pakistan in moving ahead to defeat terrorism keeping in view its own ground realities. Be it the terrorists belonging to  Haqqani Network or any other group, Washington should not pressure Islamabad and instead realize the realities on ground. Nor should it stop the military and economic aid to Pakistan on the pretext of apprehensions or coercive conditions. The country’s armed forces and its people have rendered countless sacrifices in this war. If the Americans fail to comply, then Afghanistan will not only prove to be another Vietnam for them, but also the hydra-headed monster of terrorism will once again
come out to shatter the world peace.

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Such a situation is posing grave threat and multiple challenges to Pakistan. It is hoped that Washington would follow the advice, otherwise if the surgical operations intensify, and under-the-cover violations of Pakistan’s sovereignty are made; it would be construed that the strategic assets of the country would be targeted. The possible takeover of the Taliban in Afghanistan and its impacts on Pakistan would not be ignorable. The closure of US aid may cause economic repercussions in Pakistan, for which Islamabad should get ready. The US incursions within Pakistan territory will have to be stopped, the strategic assets will have to preserved, Indo-Israel-US intelligence agencies’ activities will have to be countered, the presence and number of American officials working on various joint missions will have to be reduced to a minimum level; and the headway in the in the war against terrorism will have to be made to an extent where a ‘live and let live’ environment could be created. Now the situation in Afghanistan should not be allowed to affect Pakistan so to stop further destruction. Now the situation should not be seen with an eye of friendship with America, rather it should be seen in the context of greater national interests. (ENDS)

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