Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, August 1st, 2021

A Brief Glimpse at C. Christine Fair Research Work: Fighting to the end - the Pakistan Army’s Way of War


A Brief Glimpse at C. Christine Fair Research Work: Fighting to the end - the Pakistan Army’s Way of War

Ms. Fair is an American researcher who worked as a Senior Researcher with the Rand Research Institute and also worked in United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). She received her Ph.D. from the School of Civilization and Languages of South Asia at the University of Chicago in the United States and is fluent in Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi. The area of her research work is the political and military affairs of South Asian countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. She is the author of several books in this field and has written many articles about Pakistan and terrorism.  In one of her book which is titled “Fighting to the end: the Pakistan Army’s Way of War”, she reached to a pessimistic conclusion blaming the Pakistani army and its civil government for their hostile policy against India and Afghanistan.
Ms. Fair believes that the Pakistan interferences in Afghanistan are not linked to Durand line or Kabul Delhi relationships. She believes whether the border disputes resolved or not, the Pakistan interferences will not be ended in Afghanistan because fighting to the end forms the strategic culture of Pakistani military. In the other word, the nature of Pakistani military is based on ideology of Jihad and instrumental use of Islam. The author of the book stresses that the birth, growth, survival and glories of Pakistani army come from strategy of Jihad and instrumental use from Islam as if the Pakistan’s ideological goal is beyond its normal national interests. The authors of the book call the strategy of Pakistan irrational because the result of war, to win or lose, is not important for Pakistani army. She explains Pakistani army has repeatedly lost war versus India and there is no chance to win in the future, but it is not ready to change its mentality because fighting to the end is the inherent nature and military culture of Pakistani army.
The author compares the military strategy of Pakistan against India to strategy of Iran against Iraq during Iran-Iraq war and also, compares Israel strategy against Lebanon during Israel-Lebanon war. She says, after long war when Iran and Israel reached to a calculation that continuity of war is costlier than peace they accepted truce, but Pakistani army despite knowing the unpleasant outcome of war, especially war against India, it never put an end to its hostile policy. According to her, the civil government of Pakistan also accompanies the irrational and ideological military strategy supporting extremist and Jehadist groups in Afghanistan, India and in Kashmir. She wonders when the civil government of Pakistan desists from its hostile and senseless strategy. In the other word, the author of the book does not even consider the transfer of foreign policy on India and Afghanistan from the military to the civilian government  and leaders of political parties to change the policy of strategic military culture of supporting Islamist and jihadist groups.
According to Ms. Fair, the next point which strengthens the military strategic culture and doubles its confidence to support militant ideological groups and use them against India and Afghanistan is its nuclear weapons. For example, During the 1980s, Pakistan intensified the use of jihadist militant groups after its nuclear tests but it was the culmination of this policy as Pakistan extended its asymmetric warfare strategy beyond what it had done so far. This reflects the fact that nuclear weapons have made Pakistan more confident and courageous in its use of militants and inflexible policies.
According to understanding of this American researcher from politics of Pakistan, Afghanistan will never see the end of destabilizing policy of Pakistan and its indirect war. Therefore, resolving the border disputes or other issues between the two countries will never save Afghanistan from Pakistan’s interference and its policy of supporting anti-government Islamic groups. Even, if Afghanistan resolves the Durand Line dispute with Pakistan and become ready to negotiate everything on the basis of mutual interests, it will not be able to prevent war and its destabilizing policy against Afghanistan due to strategic culture of the Pakistani military.
Another important point which the author adds the Pakistani army considers itself the guardian of ideological integrity of the country which is based on Islamic extremist interpretation. In fact, Islam was the fundamental logic its separation.  The army leaders of Pakistan have not only used this ideology to achieve national unity of the multi-ethnic country but also to reach the dream of confrontation against India. This American researcher says, “according to the evidence I have inferred from the professional military publications and the study of the dominant strategic culture in Pakistan it is not possible to hope that Pakistan desist from variable goals and demands against its neighbors.” The Pakistani military believes that its duty is to protect Islam as ideology of Pakistan and the theory of two nations.
On the contrary to Ms Fair, there are researchers who do not put all responsibilities of the conflicts on shoulder of Pakistan. They say as long as Afghanistan does solve the Durand line issues considered as a threat to national security of Pakistan, there is no option for Pakistan other than imposing its hostile policies. In fact, Ms Fair does not explain what Pakistan should do if  a large part of  its territory is claimed by Afghanistan. As Ms. Fair is the citizen of United States and given that her country already recognized the Durand line as border between the two country, but she also does not explain the role of her country and also the proper response of Pakistan when a large part of Pakistan is claimed by Afghanistan. In general, the international community has already recognized the Durand line as border between the two countries, but they never played an active role to put an end to the controversial issues.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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