Skip to main content

VIEW: There is no endgame in Afghanistan, yet- Daily Times

Afghanistan still needs to prove that it is capable enough to choose its strategic partners and at the same time not be harmful to its neighbours. Just as Pakistan is free to choose its friends and enemies, Afghanistan too should have the right and opportunity to do so

Recently, the Jinnah Institute and the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) launched their joint research called ‘Pakistan, the United States and the End Game in Afghanistan: Perceptions of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy Elite’, which discusses the viewpoints of Pakistani foreign policy shapers around Afghan matters. One should appreciate the initiative because unless and until Afghanistan and Pakistan resolve their challenges in non-military and non-ISI ways, the people of both countries will continue suffering at the hands of extremism and insurgency bred by the flawed political and military structures.

Undoubtedly, the report and the process that it has entailed in gathering the viewpoints and perspectives from a handpicked foreign policy elite keeps Pakistan’s national interest supreme over all other concerns while analysing the current processes in Afghanistan. Moreover, for more credibility, there was a strong need for a counter-balance and some level of Afghan experts’ inputs, who could have also brought the focus on what the perceptions are about Pakistan amongst the Afghan elite and the Afghan people. It seems that for the Pakistani foreign policy elite, the whole perspective revolves around the 2014 deadline, which takes precedence over the complicated dynamics of the region, while the realities on the ground are telling a different tale. The year 2014 might be a deadline for an endgame for the US and NATO in Afghanistan, but not the endgame of conflict in the AfPak region.

As an Afghan reader, I am not convinced that the foreign policy experts, at least those interviewed for this report, were honest enough in tracing the root causes of mistrust and instability in the region, which is: the continued struggle of the Pakistani intelligence and military to create and recreate insurgency for Afghanistan as a matter of Pakistan’s self-defence and as a mechanism of deterrence.

Creation and re-creation of insurgency, terror and fighters for Afghanistan by the Pakistani intelligence, especially the ISI, is the major factor that defines the AfPak relationship, politics and public diplomacy. While Pakistani foreign policy experts call this relationship “interference and non-neutrality”, for an Afghan who witnesses Pakistani nationals blowing themselves up in Afghan cities and taking Afghan lives, it is a matter of invasion and regional terrorism that eventually calls for an Afghan resistance against it.

For the young Afghans, especially those with exposure to the media and who live in urban settings, this ISI-led campaign is more of an enemy than any other force in the world. Similar are the sentiments of the Afghan parents who see their madrassa-going children ready to blow themselves up in Afghanistan and being captured by the Afghan intelligence; they too blame the ISI. Vice versa, the youth on the other side of the border are indoctrinated with the belief that there is a foreign invasion of Afghanistan and to fulfil their religious duty, they have to do jihad inside Afghanistan by blowing themselves up and taking Afghan and coalition members’ lives. This generation of hatred-breeders are going to be very dangerous for the region and will eventually lead both countries into another regional conflict or war, an issue that has not received any attention yet.

I also understand that the Afghan government lacks a proper regional diplomacy, with Pakistan in particular. Considering the history of the complicated relationship between the two countries, the Afghan government should have already come up with a cohesive plan on how to get into a more mutually beneficial and non-threatening relationship with Pakistan through trade, transit routes, water, cultural and linguistic exchange programmes and cooperation. Afghanistan still needs to prove that it is capable enough to choose its strategic partners and at the same time not be harmful to its neighbours. Just as Pakistan is free to choose its friends and enemies, Afghanistan too should have the right and opportunity to do so, however with a clear and transparent line of engagement with its friends that are a matter of concern for Pakistan and the region.

However, many of us Afghans continue to wonder why the Pakistani establishment and intelligence weighs Afghanistan either through the lens of India or the US. Why does the Pakistani government not accept Afghanistan as a sovereign, independent neighbour in itself? Why can Afghanistan not leverage its relationship with India, the US or any other country for its own national interest just as Pakistan takes stock from its relations with China, Saudi Arabia and other countries?

Therefore, it is critical for the people, intellectuals, media, civil society and other non-government entities of both countries to come up with honest, critical but constructive ways of people-to-people engagement and dialogue. As an Afghan who grew up in Pakistan (I am grateful for its people’s support), I believe we need to address the growing mistrust between the two nations if this conflict has to end. We need to move beyond the blame game. The people of the two countries will only come together with a vision for a better future if the miseries of their past are addressed and recognised.

Such a people-to-people platform for dialogue and interaction will become a point of pressure on both governments to change their foreign policy towards each other and move beyond the blame game. While the Pakistani foreign policy experts accept to an extent that the ‘strategic depth’ approach is still an important indicator of success for Pakistan’s foreign policy, we need advocates from both the countries to bring about a change of this approach. In an era of open borders, we do not need intelligence agencies and the military defining our regional identities.

Though late, the only solution seems to be that the two countries start taking each other seriously and honestly begin a constructive dialogue for regional diplomacy by putting forward their younger generation diplomats and technocrats, without any third party initially. Such a regional diplomacy dialogue can best be complemented with a people-to-people platform to redefine the relationship of the two nations. Otherwise, Afghanistan should finally approach the UN Security Council for a possible solution or intervention. Hence, no deadline will play any endgame for Afghanistan and the region will remain in conflict if the approaches and plans being instigated by Pakistan’s security establishment are not changed and averted. Perhaps, the end of these games for Afghanistan can be the beginning of an endgame for the AfPak conflict.

The writer is an Afghan civil society activist

Comments

  1. Hello Everybody,
    My name is Mrs Sharon Sim. I live in Singapore and i am a happy woman today? and i told my self that any lender that rescue my family from our poor situation, i will refer any person that is looking for loan to him, he gave me happiness to me and my family, i was in need of a loan of S$250,000.00 to start my life all over as i am a single mother with 3 kids I met this honest and GOD fearing man loan lender that help me with a loan of S$250,000.00 SG. Dollar, he is a GOD fearing man, if you are in need of loan and you will pay back the loan please contact him tell him that is Mrs Sharon, that refer you to him. contact Dr Purva Pius,via email:(urgentloan22@gmail.com) Thank you.

    BORROWERS APPLICATION DETAILS


    1. Name Of Applicant in Full:……..
    2. Telephone Numbers:……….
    3. Address and Location:…….
    4. Amount in request………..
    5. Repayment Period:………..
    6. Purpose Of Loan………….
    7. country…………………
    8. phone…………………..
    9. occupation………………
    10.age/sex…………………
    11.Monthly Income…………..
    12.Email……………..

    Regards.
    Managements
    Email Kindly Contact: urgentloan22@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Feature : Different faces of prostitution in Afghanistan

Prostitution is not an easily accepted reality in our society. Most of the time, we are in denial that in Muslim societies women do not sell their bodies for money, even if they do, no one will buy. It is actually the opposite, even if a woman does not want, the societal miseries make her do anything for survival and livelihood of the family. While Prostitution in many other parts of the world could be understand as a woman's sexual desire and of her immoral character; the truth behind it is hardly explored.
In my work on women's issues in Afghanistan, I came across many women who have at least once sold their bodies to earn a living either forced by a family member or in secret. However, I chose to write about these three women I met three years ago in an old city of Kabul. These three different women have at least one thing in common, that even in a closed traditional and religious society, they were made to be prostitutes, either in public or in secret.
A couple of years ag…

Our voices are not stoned to death!!!

On Friday, 06 July 2012, Ms Fawzia Koofi, one of the prominent female MPs called and with a disturbingly quiet tone asked whether I knew about the Parwan incident. I said Yes, saw a tweet from one of the BBC journalists but dont know if its true or not. She said its true and she saw the video. After we both mourned the incident, she said if women dont stand all these violence, we will all face this fate, one by one. We hanged on the phone and I started digging deeper to find out what happened. 
Though, we still dont know the exact account of the heinous act of violence and oppression that we all witnessed in that video- we are all so shocked & furious over the fact that najiba  was brutally murdered. No matter who did it, that does not make any difference. The information that we have been able to obtain to date is that Najiba, 21 year old who was either kidnapped or forced to come to the house of one of the armed commanders (apparently a taleb as the Parwan governor emphasizes) …

Will Afghan realities matter to Chicago?

On the night of 23rd Sawr 1391 (May 2012) Najiba and her three sons (5, 7, 13 yrs) were brutally shot dead by their uncle and Najiba’s brother in law in Chardara district of Kunduz province. After killing Najiba and her sons, the brother in law who is named Zanabuddin has run away and there is no news on him. According to the police chief, the main motive of the killing was that Najiba had rejected marrying her brother in law after her husband died. Najiba’s brothers and cousins are now planning revenge.
What is new about this story apart from being sorry for Najiba and her sons? What do we hear from the police in such circumstances that ‘investigations are under way’? I am sure the murderer has already fled Kunduz and is in one of our neighboring countries, perhaps.
Yet another case of killing and murder that adds to the piles of cases and incidents that either have been filed by the police stations lined up under the dust or the cases that await their fate in the judiciary that take…