New US strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan

The new US strategy on Afghanistan and Pakistan has inextricably linked future of both the countries and yoked them together in its official jargon as AfPak. The policy which came during “increasingly perilous” situation in Afghanistan has dragged Pakistan under the close watch of US government. Obama in his speech spilled out the outline of US policy in the region and his fears about the deteriorating situation in the lawless country, and admitted that “2008 was the deadliest year of the war for the American forces.”

The policy is three pronged to avert a defeat in Afghanistan, which Imperial Britain and Soviet Union had to face at the hands of Afghans and it entails military, political and economic approaches to tackle crisis.

Militarily, US is increasing its presence in Afghanistan by 17,000 more troops that would take the war to the Taliban in south and east of the country. The aim is to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda in AfPak. The militants have safe havens in the border areas of Pakistan, so this area has become the most dangerous for Americans in the world. At the same time any major terrorist attack anywhere in the world, is, too likely to have its ties with the Al-Qaeda leadership in Pakistan and it also hints at the pursuing terrorist targets “one way or another,” a reference towards the drone attacks, which have generated quite heat over the months. The policy maintains that Pakistan will no more have the blank cheque. The US would also send 4000 personnel to train the Afghan army, police and to provide support to civilian development. A day ahead of policy announcement State department announced US$ 5 million head money on Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsood, which was followed by two US generals who accused Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) of supporting Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants.

Politically, the strategy envisions dialogue with the moderate Taliban to isolate the hardliners. Similarly, US has also hinted at recasting war as regional conflict and said that he wanted to form a new contact group of Pakistan, Russia, Iran, India, China and Central Asian Republics (CARs).

Economically, the strategy offers US $ 1.5 billion aid to Pakistani people over the next five years and setting up Reconstruction Opportunity Zone (ROZs) in the insurgency hit areas.

Echoes from the past

Though, the policy is a carrot and stick at better, the question is that could it solve the American problems in Afghanistan. The British experience in Afghanistan in nineteenth century offers useful insights into the American predicament.

In 1838, British deposed Afghan king Dost Mohammad in a ‘regime change’ fearing a possible Russian advance on British India and crowned Shah Shuja as new king of the country.

In 1841 Robert Peel’s Tory government took over from Whigs, and England was facing economic recession following a global trade slump at that time. Peel administration tried to adopt stringent economic policy, which was based on the assumption that the military presence in Afghanistan was costing British exchequer too heavily and it postulated an exit strategy for the military through building Afghan forces. In Afghanistan a Kabul mob had murdered the British diplomat Sir Alexander Burnes and British forces were heading towards a disaster. Unaware of real situation London dispatched Sir Ellenborough to India to implement strict economic policy, before his arrival two more forces had moved for Afghanistan to the rescue of those trapped in Kabul. The Afghan problem was out of hand amid the quarrelling of British envoy Sir William Macnaghten and Genera Elphinstone and it resulted into annihilation of 16,000 strong British force.

The British in the first place misunderstood the public opinion and its top envoy to the court of Kabul Macnaghten even described the situation as “all quite from Dan to Beersheba,” while the conflict was conflagrating.

Secondly, during the crucial days instead of proper planning to avert the disaster Macnaghten tried to buy the loyalties of Afghan notables, which historian John Kaye mocked by saying, “The jingling of the coins could not drown the voice of an outraged and incensed nation.” The British envoy in utter confusion announced blood money of 10000 rupees for the ringleaders of mutiny, which neither weakened the Afghans nor allured people to kill them.

Thirdly, Macnaghten started plotting and win over some notables and when Afghans became aware of the plot, it resulted into his death. The British destroyed Kabul old bazaar and Shah Shauja’s son was crowned as new king as his father was killed by Afghans. Barely three months after British forces departure Shauja’s son was murdered and fearing anarchy British released Dost Mohammad unconditionally, whom they had deposed on such a heavy cost.

Back to the American strategy, Thomas L. Friedman wrote in New York Times on November 9, 2001, “Is America the Titanic and Pakistan the iceberg we’re about to hit while searching for Osama Bin Laden in the fog of Afghanistan? Or is Pakistan the Titanic; its President Pervez Musharraf [Zardari] the captain; America the only passenger; and Afghanistan the iceberg we are about to hit? Every spring brings new miseries to Afghans as fighting renews in the country and given the realignment and positioning of militants one could say this year is going to one of the worst.


One Response to New US strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan

  1. Union of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    Only solution to present problem of Instability in Afghanistan and Pakistan is in the Union of Afghanistan and Pakistan, based on the basics principles of Democracy in which Government should be composed of representatives of all sections of society and regions, No one will be dominant to each other, and that country will be easily governable by Government, In history Durani Empire was composed of all areas in which today Pakistan and Afghanistan are located, During Mughal Empire both Afghanistan and Pakistan were a single country, During initial period of British Empire they were also same country, During British Empire, some vested interest forces kept at distance to both these lands from each other , Due to which borders between these two countries have become hiding place for criminals of both countries and theft automobiles and others stolen assets are stored in this region, this large uncontrollable region is basis of many evils , Narcotics are grown in these areas ,and addiction of which is destroying youths and humanity and due to poverty and non development, people are going towards extremism and militancy, Union of both countries will make the single government of this region more responsible in stabilizing the region and in satisfying the nationalistic pride of people and people will be able to serve humanity as other large nations of world are serving the humanity, other wise this region will always remain as a nuisance for world, as this region already has destroyed Soviet Union it may also take down to western world which will be a great blow to development of Science and Technology specially Medical science.

    Advantages to world.
    Control of Terrorism:
    Instability in this region is causing great damage to humanity, soldiers of USA and NATO are sacrificing their lives just to eliminate Terrorists from these countries, while by unification it will become sole responsibility of the people and government of unified nation to control terrorists and it will be more convenient for that government to administer as there will be unity in chain of command.

    Control of Extremism:
    As unified nation will be composed of multiethnic groups such as Punjabies,Sindhies,Baloachs, Pukhtoons,Urdu speakers,Tajiks, Persians and Hazaras and will be composed of multisectarian society such as Sunni and Shiites it will become impossible for any ethnic group or religious sect to find any future in extremism

    Stabilization of Region:
    Although now a days in this region there is problem of terrorism but infact from a long time (about 50 years) this region is suffering from instability, reason is that people of this region are finding no hope and future for themselves due to division of this region and interference of large nations such as Soviet Union, USA, China and India but when the people of this region were unified at the time of Durani Empire this region was stable and same was case during Mughal Empire..
    As there are three main groups in Asia i.e. Chinese, Hindues and Muslims. Chinese and Hindues are satisfied with their Dominion states of China and India, but as there is no large state of Muslims in Asia while their numerical population is greater than Chinese and Hindues, therefore Muslims are suffering from distress which is causing instability and irritation in common Muslims, therefore by creation of a unified state of Pakistan and Afghanistan a sense of satisfaction and respect with the existence of a national state will be achieved

    Solution to Economic Problems.
    At present both countries are burden on other countries and in fact are a barrier in exploring the resources of Central Asia by world. After stabilization it will be useful for not only for Central Asia and World but also for the new unified nation itself

    Advantages to Pakistan:
    It was the vision of Founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam to unify region of West Pakistan with Afghanistan and East Pakistan with Malysia and Indonesia and that is still the need of time.
    • By unification with Afghanistan, areas which are included in Pakistan will be stabilized, and migration of people from disturbed areas will be stopped,
    • Law and order situation due to smuggling of weapons from Afghanistan will come to an end.
    • Similarly illicit drug trade will be minimized.
    • Whole areas of Pukhtoons speaking population will become unified and which will be helpful for development of culture and language of that group which is now divided in two nations.
    • Security measures expenses on borders will be minimized which may be used for welfare of people.
    • Interference of other nations in this region will be stopped.
    • Due to historical and unique region and having importance for Buddhism and Hindues religion, tourism industry will be flourished and business activity in the region will be increased,

    Advantages to Afghanistan:
    • By unification status of Afghanistan as land lock country will come to an end, and Union will increase the freedom of people of Afghanistan for travel and economic activity,
    • Extremism and terrorism will come to and end, as the people will become more engaged and involved in adjusting themselves in new union. it will increase the utilization of raw products of Afghanistan ,
    • Security and military expenses will be minimized,
    • Doors of job for people of Afghanistan in Pakistan will opened ,the desire of unification of people of Afghanistan with people of Pakistan will be fulfilled.
    • Shortage of food products in Afghanistan will be decreased and it will increase the utilization of raw products of Afghanistan in the region.
    • Due to linkage of central Asia via Afghanistan, will cause extraordinary development in the whole region.

    From all above points it is clear that unification of Pakistan and Afghanistan will be fruitful for every one and for world at large by each and every angle.

    Written By:
    Baldia Town,Karachi.Pakistan.

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