By Zaheerul Hassan
General Features of Afghanistan
A landlocked Afghanistan is located in southern Asia and shares her border with six countries: China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. But the approximate 1500-mile-long Durand Line along Pakistan remains the most dangerous core issue between two neighbours. It is mountainously dominated with an area of 652,000 square kilometers (251,737 square miles).Hindu Kush and the Himalayan mountain ranges to the north and arid desert to the south. Afghanistan endures the most extreme temperatures on earth. Kabul is a capital and located in the northeastern part of the country. According to CIA World Fact book its estimated population in 2000 was 25,838,797. Principally and ethnically Afghans are divided into Pashtuns, the Tajiks, the Uzbeks, and the Hazaras. Pashtunes are almost 47 % of the population. They are being recalled in the history as traditional brave and warriors and never been ruled by any foreigners. History reveals Afghans are the lost ten tribes of Israel mentioned by the Prophet Edras.
Ethically and culturally the Pakhtoons who inhabit the area on both sides of the Durand Line are of the same stock. Islam is and has been for a long time the dominant religion in the area constitutes Pakistan and Afghanistan. The great majority of the population in both countries is Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslim from Minority Groups. The clergy astride the Durand Line command considerable respect.
Strategic, Political and Economical importance and of Afghanistan
Though, Afghanistan is a landlocked country but because of her strategic location always enjoyed vital and special status in global politics. Three Angelo Afghan wars (1839-42; 1878-80; 1919) between British’s Afghans rulers have been fought, in which British’s tasted horrible defeats. It is a country which attained the status of buffer state between Soviet Union and British India till 1947. Soviet Union invaded in 1979 but after facing heavy resistance of Mujahidins, was forced to withdraw in 1988. Consequence of this war, Soviet Union disintegrated leaving the US as the unchallenged sole Super Power of the world.
With the disintegration of Soviet Union, the cold war did not end but it only assumed new enemies and new alliances. Now the two warring sides were China and US. Moreover, single super power set her new objectives, i.e. Contaminant of Islam, keeping China under check, assuming greater involvement and influence in central Asian region. One of the declared objectives is to stop Iran from becoming nuclear power but on the other hand, there have been some joint interests in Afghanistan and Iraq. Iran’s sole objective was to see Shia dominance in both these countries for which both Iran and the US had some covert understandings also. The incident of 9/11 provided the US and the western forces an opportunity to land their forces in Afghanistan under the pretext of elimination of terrorism and arrest Osama bin Ladan. Another shameless attitude of America is to give complete freedom, protection and backing at every foura.
The energy rich central states are full of resources that directly or indirectly influence the world economy. Central Asia now emerged as a centre of one of the largest world reserves of oil apart from the Middle East. The massive hydrocarbon resources of central Asia can easily be accessed through Afghanistan that also magnifies the geopolitical significance of the later. Afghanistan is connected with the sea wit shortest route at Makran Coast in Pakistan. After Russian collapse US started showing economical, strategic interests in the region and its foreign policy underwent a fundamental transformation becoming more inclined towards India.
With the Gulf War in 1991, the USA and Saudi Arabia had gained local control of the world oil price mechanism and thereby rolled back the global economic recession caused by the first oil shock. Now this is not the case; Russia is back both as an economic and military power to reckon with.
Current military and Political Scenario
The Afghan situation is very complex in nature, Obama administration has become totally confused over the Afghan state of affairs. According to the “Weekly Telegraph” report , the United States and NATO deploy 113,000 troops in Afghanistan, with another 40,000 due over the course of the year as part of a renewed strategy that emphasises development and the ‘reconciliation’ of Taliban fighters. US led ISAF troops are fighting against Taliban but no glaring victory has so far been achieved. Taliban has control over 70 % of the area despite presence of heavy strength of the foreign forces. In fact, Karzai has failed to control and improve the internal security situation of Afghanistan. Karzai brother found involved in drug trafficking, Indian Intelligence agencies were detected in planning targeting ISAF troops, millions of individuals which include, civilians, soldiers and Taliban became victim of the crisis.
Afghanistan Situation Threaten Pakistan Security
The operation which started in mid October 2000 is still undergoing and not likely to be successful in near future. The regional defence analysts are in the opinion that the involvement of Americans in Afghan crises would likely to be proved another big disaster for American after Vietnam War. Pakistan is more worried about Indian ingress that doesn’t have even boundaries with Afghanistan. The hard fact is that September 11 has changed the status of Pakistan foreign Policy because the country was faced with a grim regional scenario in which its stability and long term survival could have been at stake if it had not joined the U.S war on terror”.
Pakistan was forced to become first line ally of America in 2001 but somehow India take benefit of the situation and established her training camps under the garb of development projects. Prior to its 9/11 the relation between Pakistan and Afghanistan was almost cordial, brotherly and out of hostile era. Afghanistan was and still using Pakistan soil for trades. “Since 1947 Pakistan is providing transit facilities for Afghanistan’s goods. Even during difficulties were never withdrawn bar one or two occasions when diplomatic relations Afghanistan and Pakistan had been broken off. The migration of the people form both side was part of normal phenomena. Another factor which has had to be considered in the context of changes in Pakistan-Afghan relations is the seasonal migrations of the Pawandas. The Pawandas are Afghani nomadic groups who migrate to Pakistan during the winter and go back to Pakistan in the summer months”. However, ups and down in bilateral relations of two negihbours though could be seen in the past but these became more fragile due to Indian involvement in Afghan crises. Pakistan is suffering worst kind of militancy of her history. She was forced to deploy over 140,000 troops in FATA for elimination of militancy. It’s an open secret now that India is using Afghan territory for training of terrorists and dispatching them to Pakistan. Recently, Director General Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha while briefing Parliamentary Committee of National Security, regarding US new Afghan policy and its implication on Pakistan revealed that Afghan soil is being used for terrorist activities in Pakistan. He told that drugs smugglers of Afghanistan have been supporting the terrorists. Pasha also suggested the need that movement of terrorists on Pak-Afghan border should be monitor. He informed members of the committee that negotiations to tighten checking on bordering area between two countries were underway with all stakeholders. The main beneficiaries of Afghan crises remained U.S President Bush, India and Israel. Pakistani military had launched 209 major and 510 minor operations in 10 regions. He said 2,273 Pakistani army officers and soldiers had been killed in the fighting so far which include one 3-star General, two 2-star generals and five brigadiers were also among the martyrs. American think tanks should understand that Jews media use to blame Pakistan for double game on Pakistan intelligence agencies. in this connection while talking to senior journalists in Islamabad, Army chief Gen Kayani rejected the allegations of double game leveled against Pakistan intelligence agencies, saying that 73 intelligence officers had embraced martyrdom in Pakistan, while 11 others were martyred in Afghanistan .
Indian lobby present in Obama administration in collaboration of Mossad and CIA keep on building pressure on Islamabad while planning, staging various types of intrigues against Pakistan . Mumabai Drama, Kabul & London Blasts, arrest of Indian diplomat Madhuri Gupta and incident of 01 May, 2010 i.e. “failed attempt of car bombing at City’s Times Square in New York” are very well connected and the glaring examples of unholy connivance of “Triple III Agencies”. Under custody Faisal in America seem to be tempted, lured in and blackmailed for staging the drama of car bombing. The Western and American lobbies do for get the sacrifices of Pakistani security Forces in war against terrorism while prior to launch media campaigns against Pakistan. In short Afghan crises have posed regional as well as well global security problem. There is a need to resolve it according to the wishes of the regional and global players.
Solution Afghan to Conundrum
On March 19, 2010, Foreign minister Qureshi while talking to media also said that Pakistan has done enough and now it’s the turn of American to do more. In fact US leadership should come out to establish long term and objective strategic relations with Pakistan to remove or lessen the gulf between two nations. USA government should not offer peanuts to Pakistan by giving a few hundred million dollars in aid. It must keep in mind the enormous price that Pakistan has paid in terms of lost lives, ruined economy and terrible law and order situation which resulted due to Indian intervention .Pakistani leadership certainly should be thinking that $1.3 Billion per year of economic aid is not the right amount and should not accept this paltry sum if compared to aid packages to Israel ($ 60 Billion), Egypt ($ 30 Billion) and Turkey during the first Iraq war ($48 Billion).
In short the USA is spending trillions of dollars on wars but still war is lingering on. She must recognize that Afghanistan and Pakistan stability is directly linked to each other. She has to take steps like, boosting Pakistan economy, stopping Indian interference in Balochistan, resolving Kashmir and water issue, transfer of technology, poverty alleviation, assisting Pakistan in energy and textile sector, removing discriminatory rules regarding Pakistan and giving status of favored nation. American leadership should make efforts for successful culmination of talks which will help in long term strategic relations and will also help in smooth disengagement and return of American forces from Afghanistan. The victory of conservators also reflects that western masses are no more interested to support former President Bush agenda.
In the resent past former ambassador of Pakistan, Dr Maleha Lodhi very rightly raised questions on the under discussing issue, i.e. Is the goal of the military means now simply the avoidance of defeat? What does “success” in Afghanistan really mean? Can Afghanistan be stabilized by just military means without applying non military elements of strategy? That is what another troops surge implies .is it all possible to for outsiders to undertake nation building? The simple answer of these questions are that there is a need to resolve the issue according to the desires of Afghan nation, regional players, super powers and UN Security Council resolutions . U.S should issue the schedule of withdraw of her forces and at the same time elections should be conducted under UN. The main theme of the solution is negotiation with the real elected leadership of Afghans. Off course the elected government has to give the guarantee of not promoting terrorism. The restructuring of Afghanistan should be the primary objective of UN and Afghan government. Indian ingress should be minimized to lessen the Pakistani worries. The victory of Conservator Party of UK again proved a set back to the American policies toward Afghanistan.