By Iftekhar A Khan
Hi! This is your most favourite Non-Nato ally Pakistan that has fought your war on terror since you invaded Afghanistan a decade ago. When you attacked Afghanistan, many had professed that you would last for about a decade if history were any witness. The Soviets before you had a similar experience in Afghanistan. For them, the famous quote by Alexander the Great that Afghanistan “is easy to march into but hard to march out of” had held out. Similarly, when you entered Afghanistan almost a decade after the Soviets had left, your defeat was only a prophesy. Now it’s a reality; a decade later, it will be history.
The Russians withdrew from the black hole not because they’d run short of guns and munitions, tanks and aircraft, men and material, but they had gone broke. If modern military wherewithal could win wars, you wouldn’t have had a chance to invade Afghanistan because Russia’s Red Army would have been still around. During the Russian war, you had supported the resisting forces you then called freedom fighters and mujahideen and supplied them military hardware, and the Saudis provided them financial aid, matching you dollar for dollar.
It’s another story that yesterday’s mujahideens are today’s terrorists. It’s not that the freedom fighters of yore have transformed into present-day terrorists and insurgents; it’s just that their enemy has changed places. For “Soviets” read “Americans.”
A University of California-educated engineer insisted on calling the forces resisting foreign occupation in Afghanistan “terrorists and insurgents.” When it was argued that the people of a sovereign country had every right to resist foreign occupation of their land, he wouldn’t understand. But asked what would he do if a few bandits barged into his house to dispossess him of it, he replied, “I would pull out hpw my gun…” It’s precisely the situation in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. Large Muslim populations furiously oppose foreign occupation of their lands but they are helpless because their governments are beholden to foreign interests.
Dear ally, isn’t it a pity that despite fighting your war on terror for a decade, sacrificing more than thirty thousand lives of innocent men, women, and children, and suffering financial losses worth billions, we now face the wrong end of your guns? If you messed up in Afghanistan, why should you blame us for it? If you refused to learn from history and marched into the Afghanistan trap, ignoring what Alexander the Great had cautioned against, we’re hardly to blame for it. Wars of occupation have their own pitfalls that you should face yourself.
What will ultimately force you to withdraw to your own boundaries is your sinking economy. And it doesn’t make sense to launch wars on borrowed money. How, for instance, do you intend paying trillions of dollars you owe to China and Japan? How long is your policy of printing dollars to stave off economic collapse going to last? Your economy is in a shambles; you don’t produce items of domestic consumption any more. How long will the defence industry alone provide job opportunities to unemployed citizens that now stand one in six Americans?
Surely, you’d continue to have plenty of aircraft and warships, but not many employment opportunities, nor much social security, insurance and health cover for your citizens. When the Soviets faced economic meltdown at the end of their Afghan adventure in 1989, nobody had imagined it would cause the disintegration of a superpower. Your plight, dear ally, is not much different from the Soviets at the end of their ten years’ adventure in Afghanistan. The Soviets, nevertheless, had the integrity not to blame any other country for their follies.