After witnessing two world wars, Europe has learnt a positive lesson that political solution of any issue should be resolved through dialogue rather than the traditional conflict. Notably, once the American former Sectary of State, Henry Kissinger had said, the “true diplomacy runs on the barrel of guns.” After itself, entangling in a prolonged war against terrorism on global level, even the US has started preferring political solution in this regard. However, in the modern era of globalisation, diplomatic defeat is worse than the war of the past. It is a defeat without war.
In these terms, some rapidly changing developments have indicated Indian diplomatic defeat. In this regard, on January 29 this year, in their final communique, world leaders of the London Conference agreed on a timetable for the handover of security duties to the Afghan forces in late 2010, while backing Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s plan to reintegrate the willing Taliban to pursue political goals peacefully.
Here it would be appropriate to mention that Raja Mujtaba of Opinion Maker and Gordon Duff of Veterans Today along with their panel of writers like General Mirza Aslam Beg, Brig Asif Haroon Raja etc, have all along been insisting that peace in Afghanistan can not be achieved without talking Taliban on board. For this reason, all head money placed on them must be revoked. Today the London Conference has accepted that when some Taliban leaders were taken off that list. But, we need to be more open and pragmatic and remove all Taliban leaders like Mullah Omar, Mullah Haqqani, Gulbadin Hikmatyar etc from this list.
In this connection, sources suggest that dialogue with the Afghan Taliban has already started through the UN special envoy and some other officials through some backdoor channels.
It is mentionable that by availing the golden opportunity of the 9/11, India left no stone unturned in getting its hold in Afghanistan under the cover of the US-led NATO forces. Under the pretext of Talibinisation of Afghanistan and Pakistan, secret agencies like Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad have well-established networks in Afghanistan. Particularly, India has been running secret operations against Pakistan from its consulates in Mazar-i-Sharif, Jalalabad, Kandhar and other sensitive parts of the Pak-Afghan border. It has spent millions of dollars in Afghanistan to strengthen its grip on the country. New Delhi has not only increased its military troops in the counry, but has also decided to set up cantonments. This foreign unwanted and unwarranted troop buildup after American retreat would never let the wounds to heal. Afghan people would never accept or tolerate such grafting on their national spine.
Emboldened by the tactical support of the US and Israel, Indian RAW-based in Afghanistan has been sending well-trained agents in Pakistan, who have joined the ranks and files of the Taliban. Posing themselves as the Pakistan Taliban, they not only attack the check posts of Pakistan’s security forces, but also target schools and mosques. They are continuously conduct suicide attacks in our country. In this context, India has also arranged some Madrassas in Afghanistan where highly motivated and RAW-paid militants are being trained with the help of Indian so-called Muslims scholars. Now, Indian support to insurgency in the Frontier Province and the Baloch separatism has become a common matter.
Apart from Indian investment in order to achieve secret designs against Pakistan, drug and kidnapping are some other source of Indian income. According to an estimate, world’s 90% heroin is cultivated in Afghanistan. So money earned through drug-smuggling and hostage-takings is utilised in buying weapons, being sent to the foreign agents and the insurgents in Pakistan. Nevertheless, Afghanistan has become a hub of anti-Pakistan activities owing to India influence.
In the past, some American officials had also suggested to engage India in Af-Pak strategy. But while realsing the ground realties, a shift started in the US strategy in the end of last year. In this regard, on September 20, 2009, NATO commander, Gen. McChrystal had clearly revealed: “Indian political and economic influence is increasing in Afghanistan including significant development efforts…is likely to exacerbate regional tensions.”
During his recent visit to India, US Secretary of Defence, Robert Gates, while discussing Afghanistan with Indian leadership, has urged India to be transparent with Pakistan about their activities in Afghanistan. Despite Indian perennial blame game against Islamabad in connection with the Mumbai carnage, Gates rejected Indian stand that Pakistan has officially been sponsoring terrorism.
Frustrated in its diplomatic defeat, while rejecting Pakistan’s effort to make distinction between state and non-state actors, Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram presumed: “Pakistan will be held responsible if there is another Mumbai-type attack.” But Robert Gates pointed out that the non-state actors like Al Qaeda-related militants were seeking to de-stabilise the entire South Asia and could trigger a war between ‘nuclearised’ Pakistan and India.
Meanwhile in the State of the Union address, the US President Obama has repeatedly said that American combat troops will begin a phased withdrawal from Afghanistan from July 2011. Nonetheless, after bearing major losses like cost of war, amounting to more than 6 trillion dollars, financial crisis and domestic pressure, US strongly supports process of reintegration—peace and reconciliation with the Afghan Taliban with the sole aim of leaving that country in accordance with the announced schedule.
If US-led NATO forces pull out of Afghanistan, Indian influence will be eliminated by the Taliban insurgency. As a result New Delhi will have to withdraw from Afghanistan, rolling back its anti-Pakistan agenda.
To what extent, India has been creating lawlessness in Afghanistan by interfering in its internal affairs and by using Afghan soil for terrorist activities against Pakistan as well as Iran could also be judged from the fact that on January 16, three foreign ministers of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan met in Islamabad and signed the joint Islamabad Declaration, focusing on regional cooperation, security and development. The three countries committed to non-interference in the internal affairs of each country and also to ensuring that their territories were not used for activities detrimental to each other’s interests.
Regarding Indian undue incursion, even Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani made it clear to the NATO meeting at Brussels that the NATO countries, which have greater stakes in Afghanistan, should pay heed to the concerns raised by Islamabad particularly regarding Indian interference in Pakistan through Afghanistan. In his response, a Pentagon spokesman also stated that Washington understands Pakistan’s concerns in this respect.
Again, the London Conference agreed for the handover of security responsibilities to the Afghan National Army for “conducting the majority of operations in the insecure areas of Afghanistan within three years. While India was interested in the training of Afghan security forces, and was covertly making strenuous efforts in that regard, but no country in the conference considered New Delhi for that purpose. On the other side, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has remarked that Islamabad was ready to train Afghan forces on is own soil. In fact, Afghanistan and Pakistan share common geographical, historical, religious and cultural relationships. So Islamabad’s case of training the Afghan forces is stronger than that of New Delhi which is only manipulating the phenomenon of regional terrorism against Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Moreover, Pakistan’s successful Swat-Malakand and Waziristan military operations have surprised the international community as our armed forces dismantled the command and control system of the Taliban militants within some months. They did in eight months what the US-led NATO forces could not do in Afghanistan in eight years. In this context, while praising Pakistan’s security forces, western high officials insisted upon New Delhi to observe restraint in connection with its war-mongering style. It is due to these developments that the US and European countries have donated million of dollars for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Besides the above mentioned developments, Indian diplomatic defeat and Pakistan’s diplomatic victory could also be assessed from the fact that Foreign Minister Qureshi had ruled out the likelihood of meeting with his Indian counterpart Krishna during the London Conference, as India is not displaying seriousness for the composite dialogue.
Returning to our earlier discussion, India which had made a web against Pakistan especially from Afghanistan has met a diplomatic defeat owing to rapidly changing scenario.
Sajjad Shaukat is a panelist of Opinion Maker. He writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations