So, the final hour has arrived.
The USA will exit its troops from Pakistan Afghanistan border area that they had tried to turn around as their proxy allies for ages – with little to show for it at the end.
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Twenty years of building a clandestine network of disruptive spied against Iran, Central Asia and Pakistan have come to an abrupt end.
Did not the USA learn from the USSR’s experiment in Afghanistan, and how the country imploded when they started disrupting neighbors?
Another casualty of the Afghanistan loss is the USA’s pet project of building up India as a regional heavyweight to counter China.
Bush’s “you are either with us or against us” threat of military action against Pakistan, to “bomb you back to stone age” could only have gotten you this much.
Then came the blunder of injecting India into Afghanistan, a country that has never been a player here since the times of the “great game” against the USSR.
India’s culture can never align with staunch Muslims in Afghanistan, whether Shia or Sunni.
The only traction for India has been the generation of dual-nationals indoctrinated over decades of the USSR’s influence over the Northern part of Afghanistan.
This network has largely been neutralized by Pakistan by turning around Russia and Iran to its side.
Hamid Karzai, Ashraf Ghani, and Amrullah Saleh are amongst the chronic haters of Pakistan and can only get ring seats now.
The USA, buoyed by the strategic retreat of the Taliban, got arrogant and droned, bombed, killed, maimed and destroyed infrastructure in Pakistan through tacit approval of their proxies – well, the strategic retreat is just that.
The USA thought Pakistan would capitulate, and disintegrate just like Iran, Iraq, and Libya.
Pakistan is nearly got there but somehow survived through supplemental oxygen of IMF, Arab allies, and China.
Now Taliban control around 54% of the territory of Afghanistan, most Pashtun areas, and most significant is that they control 90% of the opium trade of the world.
Thanks to Pakistan, the Taliban haven’t yet controlled any town center – at least the world should appreciate that.
The worst that the USA and their bad grand vizier India could have done was to insert actively support cross-border attacks on Pakistan.
India has done the same in Bangladesh – so Pakistanis are aware of the Indian establishment’s unwise mindset.
With seven decades of unwarranted hostility by Afghan kings since the inception of Pakistan, Who in their right mind inside Pakistan would have let this slide?
With a country deeply fragmented along ethnic lines, low literacy, and no assured source of income – the central government in Afghanistan habitually supports whoever pays their bills.
Russia, the saner descendant of the USSR, has ended the unnecessary hostility against Pakistan as well since India jumped the fence after romancing it for ages.
Even a dysfunctional Pakistan would never allow encirclement from a country like India that has unashamedly annexed the land of Pakistan in Kashmir and directly aggressed against it in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.
What USA, India, and especially Afghanistan strategists fail to understand is that
- Pakistan is the real Indus Valley Civilization.
- Pakistan also has a claim to be the legitimate successors of the Mughal rulers of India.
Both these civilizations have had all present-day Afghanistan and large chunks of Northern and Southern India as part of it for nearly a millennium each.
You cannot wish away these ancient linkages, to keep these states weak and dependent on western largess.
Then the way the USA has been treating Pakistan as a disposable commodity, to be used and dumped – like the Arab states – has not won them, friends.
The USA and their new pals, India are thinking of ways to humiliate Pakistan and Islam further, but you cannot take away something that Pakistan has never had.
Since its inception, Pakistan has been humiliated by repeated land grabbing by India, in full view of Pakistan’s then ally USA.
USSR even facilitated this land grab in East Pakistan.
The USA even imposed despotic Generals over Pakistan to get their dirty laundry cleaned, but still, Pakistan managed to crawl out of these grave crises.
The USA must take a long and hard look at their policy of propping India, to the detriment of Pakistan.
Pakistan has vital interests that the USA must honor, or there will be a serious difference in the future as well.
- Afghanistan cannot have Indian armed proxies like Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan launching attacks inside Pakistan.
- India cannot be given the right to financial sanctions like the FATF panel, as it has a shady history of sponsoring and arming terrorists against Pakistan of its own like BLA, MQM, TTP, LeJ, and Mukti Bahini.
- Kashmir must be handed over to Pakistan in all fairness as it is the only Muslim majority state that India is holding on to by force.
- Pakistan may be allowed to develop its infrastructure and economy with Chinese money and CPEC.
- No funding for disruptive forces inside Pakistan, such as Islamic militants and military coups.
- Pakistan may be allowed to trade with Iran bypassing sanctions, as this is vital for Pakistan’s economy.
- Pakistan is allowed to cross-linkages with Central Asia, through Afghanistan.
- Let Pakistan be the voice of the democratic Muslim world, in accordance with its original plan.
- Support to Pakistan’s economy that has been destroyed over decades of unrest and covert warfare.
With the USA’s footprint receding from the world, it will only get worse for the USA, their western allies, and India that are just there for the party – from here on end.
Pakistan has its eyes trained on Kashmir and it might not stop there, considering what India has been doing while it still had the might.
India refused to engage with Pakistan leaning Taliban, with the result that Taliban now calls them – “always siding with the enemy of Afghanistan’
India nearly succeeded in convincing the world with the ultimate lie that Pakistan is responsible for the terror in South Asia.
The USA fell hard for that, and that leads to its inevitable downfall in Afghanistan.
What the western architects of the invasion of Afghanistan failed to comprehend was Pakistan’s deep-rooted insecurity when it comes to India and its geographically indefensible depth.
“Strategic Depth” 0f Pakistan is a real security imperative.
India, being the stronger country, has repeatedly demonstrated that it is an existential threat to Pakistan, therefore, the Pakistani military establishment made it a point to wipe out India’s footprint from Afghanistan.
This view was recently expressed by General Austin Millar USA, when he said, “the regrouping of terrorists like the IS and AQ militants would be the biggest concern for Pakistan”
Someone ask this guy what he has been doing for 20 years in Afghanistan?
This is interpreted as a threat, which has been repeated several times over the decades and parroted by afghan rulers and Indians.
It’s about time the USA starts thinking out of the box when it comes to Pakistan
For the last time, Pakistan is not an Arab state ruled by planted kings – show some respect for public opinion.
The USA cannot disrupt the region around Pakistan and then go to hide on its island like their western allied do – every action has an opposite reaction.
Is it not what the 9–11 commission report advised the USA government, “democratic reforms” in the Islamic world – not disruption?
This failure in Afghanistan happened because of the USA’s arrogance and lies they had been feeding their people about why they were there in the first place and who their real allies were.
Pakistan has always been the real ally of the USA, with nothing to show for this servility in return.
Afghanistan is no exception.
For all those who still feel Pakistan was wrong to defeat the USA and India combined in Afghanistan, here is the reason why it had to happen this way.
- Afghanistan was the only country in the world not to vote in favor of Pakistan joining the UN in 1947
- Afghanistan has never been a democracy, just a kingship around Kabul with the rest of the country ruled by local warlords.
- The central rulers have always institutionalized hatred for Pakistan and the region as allies of the Soviet USSR.
- The USSR and the Colonial British had till 1907 agreed to a ceasefire around Afghanistan from the “great game,” granting Afghanistan a buffer state status, separated by the Wakhan corridor.
- This stability led to an afghan king taking over in 1907 and agreeing to further consolidate his empire through a formal border of 2640 km with the British Empire, called the Durand Line.
- This lead to a period of relative stability for the north of the country, bordering USSR until 1970.
- As kings are usually imprudent, King Zahir Shah continued the policy of destabilizing Pakistan’s western Border by promoting militancy in Pashtun territories and even Baluchistan.
- Pakistan’s first Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan was also assassinated by an Afghan mercenary, sent in by USSR through Afghanistan.
- It was this chronic hostility by Afghanistan that prompted the first popularly elected prime minister of Pakistan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to launch a counter-campaign of militancy inside Afghanistan after 1970.
- The USA by now felt confident enough to breach the agreement between USSR and colonial British and started meddling with the stable King’s government, to promote their “democracy.”
- USSR overreacted and formally took over after the assassination of President Nur Muhammad Taraki In 1979
- All this while Afghanistan and India would vote and work in tandem in the global sphere, as they were staunch USSR allies.
- The USA then recruited Pakistani dictator General Zia to launch a full-scale Islamic militant resistance against USSR, eventually defeating them and leading to the dismemberment.
- When democracy returned to Pakistan in 1988, instead of supporting the fragile Pakistani society, the USA sanctioned their most allied of Allies.
- This further cemented Pakistan’s paranoia of the USA and their acting in cohorts with India.
- Pakistan’s popular former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was also assassinated by armed proxies being launched from Afghanistan, the TTP.
This time around, Pakistan only gave just enough support that it could not justify launching an all-out war against Pakistan.
Still, militant proxies of the USA and India killed 70,000 Pakistanis and led to the loss of $100 billion the decade after 9–11.
The political aim of Pakistan in Afghanistan was
- Not to have a hostile government in Afghanistan and
- No major armed footprint of India.
Pakistan has managed to achieve the first political aim of this war and will aim for the second after the new government takes over.
Some might argue that Pakistan paid too heavy a price for this win, but when you are baptized by fire, no loss seems big enough to achieve security.
The inevitable blowback that will come toward Pakistan again through the Durand Line, which must be blocked through border fences and disrupted before execution.
You cannot dismiss a country like Pakistan because it is a basket case economically, poorly raised, and has weak political institutions.
USA’s interests are better served by building Pakistani political institutions.
These are Pakistan’s implicit requirements that must be met, for Pakistan to work in harmony with the world and your beloved ally India.
- Pakistan must be granted Muslim majority regions of Kashmir, as they have Pakistan’s water lifeline
- Pakistan must be supported in the political-institutional building when never came about so that there is someone to counter the security establishment.
- Pakistan must be granted dominion status with Afghanistan so that Pakistan’s rightful paranoia of not having enough physical depth can be allayed somewhat
- The buffer zone of the Wakhan Corridor be sold to Pakistan so that Pakistan’s trade starts moving across into central Asia.
- Pakistan may be granted a waiver to trade with Iran, as there is no other country that can help in the short term in this bad neighborhood
- Pakistan must be helped in extracting minerals and hydrocarbons from Baluchistan, which is a prohibited zone for all exploration companies.
- Stop supporting military dictators in Pakistan for your short-term ends.
- Bangladesh may be allowed to return to Pakistan’s fold, as a dominion, to mitigate the violent hostility that India’s unwise action has ingrained in Pakistan’s psyche vis a vis India, USSR, and the USA.
- Pakistan may be allowed to gain from Chinese Investments in CPEC, as other lending institutions are too disruptive and exploitative.
- Pakistan’s passport may be allowed to recover from the Junk Category that it has been relegated by the USA and their ally India.
- India may be asked to release waters into the five rivers that they have withheld.
A stable and prosperous Pakistan will have a nation-building effect on Afghanistan as well as there are 48% Pashtu-speaking people there who will gain from the Islamic and democratic values of Pakistan.
In any case, Afghanistan has traditionally been part of the Indus Valley civilization that was mostly centered on Pakistan since the 3rd millennium BC.
The Islamic militant aspect will die its own death in a secure, prosperous, educated Muslim democracy in dominion countries Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Pakistan has won in Afghanistan because it is willing to go beyond what a normal county can accept as a reasonable loss. Instead of prolonging everyone’s agony, the USA should commit to helping Pakistan feel secure with robust democratic political institutions, recovering economy, and just resolution of border issues with India.
P.S. for the massively overambitious Pakistani establishment, build your wealth reserves for the inevitable expansion you have started.