With all the allegations Pakistan has on its head, its role and relations with the US and Afghanistan is to be considered important for stability in Afghanistan at a point where Afghanistan is standing at an important juncture – talks with Taliban and withdrawal of international community.
Three decades of war in Afghanistan has caused every Afghan to suffer. Who can be held responsible? Foreign hands, especially of our neighbors, can be largely blamed. Even today, it is firmly believed that the troubles of Afghans are merely because certain power circles of the world are pursuing varying benefits in Afghanistan.
These power circles are utilizing our neighbors as a tool to meddle in Afghanistan and Afghans have seen several forms of foreign interference in the last three decades, at least. For Afghanistan it has, now, become quite difficult to distinguish its true friends and real enemies. Whom to trust and whom not to trust? This is the most difficult question for the government and the people of Afghanistan. The most unfortunate part of the story is that even if we can identify our friends and enemies, we have no independence to improve our relations with them.
Our neighboring countries are believed to be playing a double role in Afghanistan. According to many, the same applies to the role of international community in Afghanistan and growing insecurity is clear evidence to proving this fact as true. However, except trusting the international community - even it is with closed eyes – Afghanistan has no other choice. Afghanistan needs to establish bridge of cooperation and trust with the whole world, particularly with its neighbors and near neighbors.
Whenever there is talk about our neighboring countries, its significant portion would pertain to Pakistan. Pakistan is a country that shares the longest border with Afghanistan and has numbers of commonalities ranging from language, tradition, customs, culture and religion to the most hated factor of terrorism.
After the Taliban government was expelled in Afghanistan in 2001, Taliban and Al-Qaida leaders and fighters fled to the tribal areas of Pakistan. There, they gained strength and support with each passing year and continue launching attacks inside Pakistan and on the NATO and Afghan forces in Afghanistan. The government of Pakistan holds them responsible for the death of thousand people who became the victims of targeted killing, suicide bombing and other forms of terrorism in last years.
The growing attacks by insurgents on both sides of the border have resulted in the ongoing blame game between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Both the countries have been accusing each other for supporting the Taliban and other insurgents. In the last ten years the ties between the two neighbors have been fluctuating between normal to tense. But in general, the Hamid Karzai government has had a friendly attitude towards Pakistan. Despite everything, the role of Pakistan is being deemed very vital for bringing peace and stability in Afghanistan and up to a great extent the role of Afghanistan is equally important to improve security condition in Pakistan. The two countries are in dire need of mutual cooperation based on trust and sincerity.
The United States is leading the counter-terrorism war in Afghanistan. Over the past ten years, Pakistan has been an important US ally in the War on terror. That is what the US government maintains. The US-Pak relation is believed to have deep impact on the situation of Afghanistan.
The US and Pakistan enjoyed better relations until the death of Osama bin Laden. On May 2, Osama bin Laden the leader of Al-Qaida – the network responsible for launching the 9/11 attack on the US – got killed in Abbottabad of Pakistan. Since then the relation between the two has gone abnormal.
There have always been controversial views both in the West and Afghanistan over the role of Pakistani government in combating terrorism. Although it is maintained by many that the US government has made a big mistake by trusting Pakistan, certain high authorities of US think the other way – Pakistan has been an important ally of US in countering terrorism and without cooperation of Pakistan it would difficult for US to invade Afghanistan and capture certain important figures of Taliban and Al-Qaida.
To Karzai administration, Pakistan is a brotherly country. Yet there are voices in Afghanistan blaming ISI for backing Taliban and other groups of terrorists in launching attacks on NATO and Afghan forces. Afghanistan is in dire need of assistances from regional countries and other members of international community for its security, reconstruction works and overall economic and social development. Therefore, any damage in the relation between US and countries close to Afghanistan will have negative impacts on wellbeing of this country.
With all the allegations Pakistan has on its head, its role and relation with the US and Afghanistan is to be considered important forstability in Afghanistan at a point where Afghanistan is standing at an important juncture – talks with Taliban and withdrawal of international community.
For the peace reconciliation program to succeed, the Karzai government needs to go further close to Pakistan. The international community, before withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan, needs to work out a plan for stable security in the region and for making sure that Taliban and Al-Qaida Would not use Afghanistan as a platform to launch terror attacks. Here the role of Pakistan becomes more significant as for stability in Afghanistan, both international community and Afghanistan would require cooperation from Pakistan.
But Pakistan itself is burning in the fire of terrorism. The insurgency and sectarianism have had quite a rapid growth over the last few decades which, in one or other way, has been harmful for stability of Afghanistan. Therefore, we need Pakistan to remain stable as a stable Pakistan is in the best interest of Afghanistan.