Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, June 24th, 2019

NATO Military Support to Afghanistan Should Encompass Social, Political, Geographic and Economic Areas

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member countries met in Brussels on 11thand 12thof July 2018 as part of their annual routine gatherings. Apart from discussing insufficient contribution towards general NATO budget by most of the member countries, which is set at 2% of total budget of a particular member country, and certain European countries’ – mainly Germany’s - economic relations with Russia in areas of gas and petroleum import, NATO has put in its agenda to discuss and pledge prolonged support to Afghanistan for up to 2024 in the ongoing war against international terrorismand an entrenched insurgency in areas of training of Afghan defense and security forces and political stabilization of the country. President Mohammad Ashraf  Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Abdullah Abdullah are in Brussels to participate in this major gathering.
Major decisions are taken during these yearly NATO gatherings since the organization’s active involvement in the country more than seventeen years ago. This year’s decision may include renewal of commitment to support Afghanistan, both militarily and economically to level playing field for social, political and economic development of the people of Afghanistan, and to defeat international terrorism, force the ongoing bloody insurgency to peace talks and promote social and political inclusiveness. Keeping in view long history of NATO involvement in the country, people of Afghanistan have developed special interest to follow what is discussed, planned and decided for Afghanistan. NATO comprises of important European and American military and economic powers, including the United States of America, Germany, United Kingdoms, France and others. In the immediate aftermath when the United States and NATO invaded Afghanistan, it was decided that a multi-national military force be constituted under NATO command by the name of International Security and Assistant Force for Afghanistan (I.S.A.F), which would work as the main vehicle for provincial rehabilitation operations provision of security across the country for the following decade. Keeping in view regional rivalry and sensitivities against certain neighboring countries of Afghanistan, armies of neighboring countries were excluded from the list of the countries to serve under NATO and UN mandated international assistance force in Afghanistan. The reason for their exclusion is mainly because some of the neighbors – including Pakistan and Iran – are actively pursuing their destructive agendas under the pretext of their ‘national security’ and ‘national interest’ to destabilize Afghanistan and pursue their so called ‘strategic depth’ in the country at the cost entire Afghan nation! Most and all of international military and intelligence organizations have hard proof of these countries’ meddling in Afghan affair to knowingly meandering the country towards destabilization and destruction, but keeping in view their ‘global’ and ‘regional’ agendas, ‘Afghan specific intervention’, and their ‘cordial relations’ with Pakistan and Iran, NATO member countries and the United States of America turn blind eye towards these blatant, inhumane and destructive interventions. The author of a book: ‘Directorate –S’ has recorded a quote from the ex-Vice President, Joe Biden, saying to ex-Afghan president Mr. Hamid Karzai during one of their meetings that ‘Pakistan was fifty times more important to United States than Afghanistan…’ when Mr. Karzai wanted to press United States to take action against Pakistan for their harboring and supporting insurgents and other terrorist groups the other side of the border in Pakistan. Numerous investigative journalists and authors have published books, written white papers and articles in the news about this shadowy game, but it seems no one is ready to take a stand and look Pakistan in the eye and tell her that enough was enough. In the advent of New Year on first January 2018, President Donald Trump tweeted against Pakistan intervention and their ‘deceits and lies’ under the cover of ally in the war against terror. But despite the passage of seven months, things don’t seem to take a positive shape. Instead, Pakistan continues to dominate and thwart the efforts to stabilize Afghanistan.
Recent decision by NATO to send United Arab Emirate (UAE) and Qatar military forces to Afghanistan smells foul as everyone knows that a large percentage of the members of security forces of these two countries are comprised of Pakistanis. Afghans look at this as another ploy and destabilizing effort by Pakistan to find a niche inside Afghanistan and to continue with her harmful agendas here. This may be a maneuvering by Pakistan in the face of increased pressure by United States new South-East Asia Strategy to force Pakistan to stop supporting, harboring insurgents and terrorists inside Pakistan who eventually infiltrate inside Afghanistan to fight Afghan and international security forces. In the event when Pakistan has its nationals under the cover of another countries’ army inside Afghanistan, it will do not good at all. Let me be clear here that both countries of UAE and Qatar are friends of Afghanistan and Afghans have no grudges against them. Even if Pakistan is given benefit of the doubt in this respect, it is hard to swallow to allow Pakistan nationals be part of an army of another country and perform duties in Afghanistan. It is, therefore, sensible to either scrap this plan or request the friendly countries of UAE and Qatar not to include Pakistanis in the regiments destined for Afghanistan. It is need of the hour and very sensitive issue to take heed of at this critical juncture in the history of Afghanistan.
The effort to stabilize Afghanistan by major international military and economic powers has turned to its 17th year in 2018 and there is no light visible at the end of the tunnel so far. War continues to grind and destroy Afghans at all social and geographical level. Regional rivalries continue to take their toll on this unfortunate country despite the fact that such a large international intervention is at play!? NATO and other friends of Afghanistan – including Government of Afghanistan should lay out inclusive strategy and plans under which all military operations be entailed with economic activities across the country. Afghans have suffered so much that status of poverty is more than forty percent. Ordinary people have suffered a big deal due to ongoing war against international terrorism. They at least deserve to be considered for palliative measures in the form of economic assistance – include dispatch of cash and basic food and non-food items in war-hit areas. Government Afghanistan should uplift its institutions’ capabilities to respond immediately after military operations end in certain geographical areas across the country. This is how Government of Afghanistan can garner support of its people. International community, NATO, the United States of America and United Nations should show due diligence in implementing this sort of economic intervention in large population centers to support Afghanistan Government to bring peace, stability and political inclusiveness. Eradicating corruption and bringing about good governance are equally important to level playing fields for genuine Afghan owned and Afghan led peace process in the country. It is incumbent on Afghanistan’s international and regional friends to support these measures to put a full stop to the present debacle in the country.