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THE AF-PAK THEATRE: A REGION OF PERENNIAL CONFLICT

  • ASAD EJAZ BUTT
  • Nov, 2017
  • 105
  • National

The Indian military assistance to Afghanistan has increased on a year to year basis which hasn't only pleased the American government but has also brought Afghanistan or at least a few of its cities where the Afghan government still exercises writ under the Indian influence

Christine Fair, an American foreign policy and international relations expert, is regarded as a staunch enemy of Pakistan by many but to me, she does something most Pakistani scholars, politicians and academics fear doing: speaking the truth. There isn’t much of a doubt that she’s turned into a vehement critic of Pakistan and could be biased in her approach on how she looks at the affairs of the country. But instead of analyzing her criticism to either dismiss it as a product of her imagination or to draw lessons for future policy-making, we’ve done nothing but resorted to calling her names like an Indian tout and American loud mouth; so on and so forth.

In the Herald Publication (Source: https://herald.dawn.com/news/1153423) last month, she gave the opinion that there would be no Pakistani Taliban had Pakistan not created proxies in Afghanistan, nurtured the Afghan Taliban and that Pakistan has lost more in the war than it has gained for follies like the strategic depth. Her question whether strategic depth in Afghanistan is more important or security at home, though sounding naïve and simplistic, is quite powerful in estimating the real value of the doctrine of strategic depth. Not only is Afghanistan unstable, but it has since fallen in the hands of the country that Pakistan allegedly vowed to pit it against; India.

The Indian military assistance to Afghanistan has increased on a year to year basis which hasn’t only pleased the American government but has also brought Afghanistan or at least a few of its cities where the Afghan government still exercises writ under the Indian influence. Pakistan, in the meanwhile, has shown an unwavering commitment to its incumbent Afghan policy which has consistently failed to produce the desired results. And therefore, Imran Khan, Khawaja Asif and other Pakistani leaders who’ve come out to condemn the recent outburst from the American President by reminding him of the losses that Pakistan has borne in the war against terror, have done so by being completely oblivious to the mistakes that Pakistan has made to bring itself into the situation that it now finds itself in.

The country’s senior leadership needs to understand that Pakistan has lost less to the Taliban, Indian conspiracies in the region or the persistent‘do more’ instructions, orders rather,from the US and more to the follies that it has committed in Afghanistan and the region at large. According to one opinion, the biggest of them was supporting the Afghans during the Russian war and accommodating thousands of their refugees in its aftermath. Certainly, Pakistan has fought a thankless war for nearly 3 decades and has collected nothing but losses. A non-interventionist and neutral policy in the region especially when it came to military interventions must have been pursued at the very least. That would have allowed it to concentrate on the larger trade and economic objectives of the country and by virtue of that, not only could’ve Pakistan become a more potent challenge to the economically powerful India, but would also have ensured human development and better lives and prosperity for people living within its own territorial limits.

An estimation of the losses that Pakistan has borne in the war yields that it has come to lose more than 60,000 innocent lives and the economic losses, according to the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s press briefing on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in January 2017, have been in the ballpark of 100 billion. The strategic depth was meant to use the Afghan soil to avenge the Indian proxy in Bangladesh and to keep a constant check on the Shia-dominated Iran but as the two countries prosper economically and India is now treated by the Americans with more benevolence, generosity and patronage, Pakistan stands to lose much more than it has gained and I have nothing but to agree with Dr. Fair. The Americans, our stated allies for the last six decades are pouring down threats on us and the Afghanis, whom the Pakistani establishment viewed as natural allies united by the unbreakable bonds of Islam and neighborhood have become more increasingly hostile towards us. Pakistan’s gains on the war, if any, have not really surfaced.

The Indo-American Misinterpretations

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