The fate of the war in Afghanistan and by extension, the fate of Afghanistan as a nation is increasingly being tied to Pakistan's internal situation and whether that country will be able to successfully pull itself through the multitude of crises that are laying siege on it. While many of Pakistan's internal challenges such as its economic and energy crises, burgeoning militancy and ethnic and sectarian conflicts are products of Pakistan's internal developments over decades, insidious Western designs for Pakistan are out to further complicate these challenges. While these are no conspiracy theories but amply documented facts, it is in these circumstances of evolving Western machinations against Pakistan that the countries in our broader region, including Afghanistan, must tighten a web of regional dialogue, consultation and cooperation. Afghanistan, having a critical stake in Pakistan's internal stability and its economic and political viability, must continue to strive towards building bridges of trust and cooperation with its besieged neighbor, Pakistan, as well as other countries in the region.
However, in the short run, hostilities, skirmishes and suspicions between the two neighbors seem to be unavoidable as a natural legacy of years of conflict in the region. In the long run, however, Afghanistan has an important stake in Pakistan's internal stability and its political and economic viability as there can be no peace and stability inside Afghanistan without a stable and secure Pakistan. Conversely, Pakistan too cannot escape the eventual imperative of focusing on development of its beleaguered economy as its sliding economy, burgeoning energy crisis and social and ethnic challenges have already turned into burning issues of grim consequences.
For Pakistan and over the long run, moving towards these ends would require a stable regional environment in which neither Afghanistan nor India consume much of its attention and resources. Acknowledging these sets of inescapable realities, Afghanistan must move towards building bridges of trust with its neighbor and assert itself as a stakeholder in Pakistan's internal stability and its economic and political viability. The region's salvation lies in such a vision of regional dialogue, cooperation and collaboration on issues of existential importance; more so in the face of sinister Western designs for Pakistan that threaten Pakistan's territorial integrity and consequently that of Afghanistan.
In the absence of such an approach, the fate of Afghanistan and Pakistan might be left to the whims and fancies of powerful Western actors who, as Afghanistan's ambassador to Pakistan, Daud Omarzai recently pointed out, do not wish to see genuine cooperation between the two neighbors in pursuit of their own ambitions in South Asia - Central Asia region. Let us delve in further detail into how Pakistan's internal stability and its long-term economic and political viability are under immediate threat partly as a result of Western machinations and why Afghanistan's role in this conundrum has become more important than ever.
The fate of the conflict inside Afghanistan involving the Taliban, as a broad coalition comprised of many other militant groups, the government of Afghanistan and the U.S.-led international coalition has an important dimension in the form of Pakistan's internal situation and whether it will be able to stall its deteriorating condition. Today, Pakistan confronts myriad challenges from multiple sources which are putting under pressure its economic, social and political viability. Continued instability inside Pakistan and the possibility of Pakistan's descent into further chaos and disarray will have powerful repercussions in the broader region including Afghanistan. While Pakistan's increasing difficulties are taking on serious proportions, it is Pakistan's entanglement in a web of insidious Western designs that is further complicating Pakistan's challenges.
American and NATO's ominous designs for Pakistan have been known at least since 2007. The coalition of Western countries' intentions to promote disarray and chaos inside Pakistan – itself part of a broader U.S.-NATO designs for the South Asia- Central Asia region, have been amply documented. While the American and NATO's relentless war against the Taliban and other militant groups inside Afghanistan and Pakistan's tribal areas is ongoing, it also happens to shield the larger Western plans for Pakistan – promotion of civil strife, fomenting ethnic turmoil, disarray and gradual "Balkanization" of Pakistan.
It is from the prism of these Western designs for Pakistan that one has to go about acquiring an understanding of what will be the fate of the war inside Afghanistan and by extension the very fate of Afghanistan and its territorial integrity. Pakistan's unclear assets and its geo-political and geo-strategic position vis-à-vis China and Iran are two reasons among many that have pushed Pakistan into gradually becoming a target rather than a "strategic ally". In a future article, we will delve in detail into the dynamics of American-NATO military-intelligence thinking towards Pakistan and why it is, unfortunately, becoming more of a target rather than an ally.
In relation to Pakistan, maintaining continuity of government through imposition of military administrations and weakening the civilian governments is no longer the mainstay of U.S. foreign policy towards Pakistan. By 2007, it had become evident that the policy of U.S. and NATO towards Pakistan was shifting away from propping up military administrations and towards promoting gradual political and social fragmentation, fostering civil strife and potentially a final Balkanization on the lines of dismemberment of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
The American and NATO's agenda of destabilizing Pakistan is not limited to waging and abetting the current low-intensity warfare in its tribal areas and near its borders. Pakistan will increasingly come under greater economic and financial pressure from the Western coalition. The recent withholding of $800 million aid package to Pakistan is what constitutes tightening the economic and financial noose on Pakistan. The economic and financial warfare against Pakistan in the form of "structural adjustment programs" imposed on Pakistan by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as its "bitter economic medicine", much like in Yugoslavia in 1990s, prepares the ground for further impoverishing the people and the government, and weakening the federal structure of government in Pakistan.
Naturally, the Pakistani military-intelligence community has for long suspected the American intentions for Pakistan.
These suspicions came to fore with the arrest of Raymond Davis, the CIA operative, in January 2011 after he shot dead two Pakistanis in Lahore. The arrest of Raymond Davis and his subsequent detention and interrogations, led the Pakistani authorities to uncover a sprawling "private CIA network" of covert operatives who, shockingly enough and in conjunction with private security companies, were actively colluding with various militant groups to destabilize Pakistan. Pakistan, aghast by American duplicity, cut back cooperation and the ties between the two "allies" went damaged beyond repair.
There are rumors and unconfirmed reports of American plans to surrender to Taliban a number of provinces in the South and East of Afghanistan. While the veracity of such reports can not be substantiated, such a plan would conveniently fit into the broader American agenda of targeting Pakistan through fomenting separatist movements on its Western and Northwestern borders with Afghanistan.
In spite of Western machinations for Pakistan and their sheer interest in pushing Pakistan towards Balkanization, that country is resilient and the sense of national solidarity amongst its various ethnicities is stronger than what the scheming Western military Generals are prepared to acknowledge. While fomenting chaos, disarray and instability inside Pakistan on the part of the American-NATO alliance would make the tribal areas once again the epicenter of international terrorism, the cabals of militarists and the "military-industrial complex", who have hijacked Washington and American foreign/military policy since 2001 and steer the NATO, are prepared to go to any length, including risking a nuclear showdown with Pakistan and China, in order to promote their own sinister geo-political and geo-strategic agendas in the heart of Eurasia.
A Wikileaks cable of July 7, 2009 reveals that Hamid Karzai asserted to the then American ambassador, Karl Ekinberry that the U.S. "intended to divide Pakistan". The American government and the Western media, in chorus, were quick to label Hamid Karzai as "prone to conspiracy theories". However, the bitter fact is what Karzai had come to understand and asserted has never been a mere "conspiracy theory"; it has been a documented fact and part and parcel of the Western designs for Pakistan and consequently Afghanistan. It is under these circumstances that the fate of the war inside Afghanistan, among other things, also depends on whether Pakistan, over the medium to long term, will be able to pull itself through these difficult times.