The intent of US blame game
Dr. Raja Muhammad Khan
Chairman Joint Chief of Staff, US Forces, Admiral Mike Mullen, during a recent statement in Pakistan accused Pakistani intelligence agency ISI, of its alleged relationship with the Haqqani Network in North Waziristan Agency.
He like many other US officials believes that, this network is supporting the Afghan insurgents against the International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF). Admiral Mullen and many other US officials have made these accusations many a time and have been demanding Pakistan to launch a military operation in North Waziristan. This top US military officer said in his recent statement that, “It is fairly well known that ISI had a relationship with the Haqqani network and addressing the Haqqani network from my perspective is critical to the solution set in Afghanistan. … That’s at the core – it’s not the only thing – but that’s at the core that I think is the most difficult part of the relationship.”
On its part, Pakistan outrightly rejected these accusations and feels that, it is indeed the, “negative propaganda of Pakistan not doing enough”. ISI had linkages with all Afghan factions, including Hamid Karzai and Northern Alliance besides Haqqani during 1980s, against Soviet invasion in Afghanistan. At that time these linkages have indeed served the US purpose against its arch rival; the former Soviet Union. Since these former Afghan warlords and Jihadists were serving the US purpose at that time, while using Pakistani soil and other facilities, therefore, US regarded and honoured them. Now, once US has assumed the role of former Soviet Union as an occupying power, these former jihadists and warlords are struggling against it. Haqqani also have the same perception about US position, being the Afghan national. After all who allowed US to occupy Afghan soil for an indefinite period?
Pakistan neither supports nor provokes Afghan factions to wage war or insurgency against any one. It has suffered on account of its support to US in 1980s and during the ongoing global war against terror, after the incident of 9/11.
Since it has been the worst target of terrorism, therefore, Pakistan and its premier intelligence agency ISI, only wishes a peaceful Afghanistan as its neighbourhood. Pakistan envisions a peaceful Afghanistan would guarantee a peaceful and stable Pakistan. Projecting a linkage between ISI and Haqqani indeed clearly aims at negatively projecting Pakistani security forces and its spying agency. This is being done to defame the agency once it refuses to become instrument of CIA.
Indeed a few days earlier Pakistan warned US to end its CIA driven covert activities inside Pakistani territory and handover the list of all those operating inside Pakistan whether having valid or invalid passports. Besides, Pakistan also demanded the US to bring an end to the drone attacks in tribal areas.
In fact these drone attacks have compromised the sovereignty of Pakistan and further provoked militancy particularly in areas hit by drone attacks. Pakistan is neither desirous of interfering in the affairs of other countries nor would like interference in its own affairs by any outsider. At the same time it wished that Afghanistan should be free from foreign occupation and its people must be allowed to decide their future as per UN charter. After all why should US be allowed to remain as occupying power in Afghanistan for an indefinite period?
Instead of accusing Pakistan and its security setup for these alleged linkages, US needs to pursue a realistic approach and reconcile its rigid policy on account of its successes or otherwise in Afghanistan. US needs to consult its own realistic and unbiased analysts and think tank reports. Just to quote, a few months ago the distinguished United States think tank; the Carnegie Endowment had published a very well researched report regarding the current situation in Afghanistan.
The report entitled “The Afghanistan at the Breaking Point” was written by a famous scholar of the think tank, Gilles Dorronsoro. The crux of the report is that coalition forces under United States are unlikely to win in Afghanistan. The report says: “The current strategy of defeating the Taliban militarily is unrealistic.
The coalition is on the defensive across much of Afghanistan and, with current troop levels, can at most only contain the insurgency. On present course, the coalition is swiftly heading towards an impasse.”
This otherwise distinguished think tank views that US military commanders are painting wrong pictures of the situation in Afghanistan. These military commanders portray the Obama administration as if they are winning the war against the Taliban by pursuing unrealistic objectives. Contrarily, the fact is that these coalition forces, “cannot defeat the Taliban militarily”. The maximum they can do is to fleetingly contain their gains in some of the areas they have under their occupation.
Taliban on the other hand are really gaining day by day. The think tank thus advises the Obama administration to go for a political solution; cease fire and better negotiate with the Taliban insurgents “rather than be boxed into dead-end military logic”. The rapidly deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan warrants a quick action as, every passing day strengthens the position of the Taliban viz-a-viz the coalition forces.
Pakistan has long been emphasizing US and NATO to realistically pursue a political solution, rather a military one. That indeed could have given US and its coalition partners an honourable exit from Afghanistan.
On their part, US military commanders in Afghanistan consider military solution as the only way out to tackle the Afghan imbroglio. After 10 years of the military engagement, US military commanders are perhaps sceptical that, if they now resort to a political solution, the US people back home would question them, as why did they make so much military expenditures over these long years, causing considerable debit to the US treasury.
Owing to its engagement on overseas wars, currently US economy is facing a debt of trillions of dollars. Indeed US has spent trillions of dollars to sustain its forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, South Korea and Japan. Besides, CIA driven covert operations all over the world has caused considerable financial implications for this sole super power. People in US now raise question, after all why US Government and its defence establishment is operating everywhere in the world both covertly and overtly.
What gains these clandestine operations are accruing for the people of US, whose taxpayers money is being spent everywhere. In return US is earning a bad name for itself and its people. The academic circle of the world wonders as to why, US is engaging everywhere in the world.
Over 10 years of occupation, US has developed many secure bases for its own forces stationed in Afghanistan. Had this money been spent on the rehabilitation and collective welfare of Afghan people, US forces could have earned respect for themselves in the eyes of Afghan masses with a security guaranteed for them.
After having read writing on the wall, which is nothing else but a US failure in Afghanistan, US and NATO forces have started looking left and right. Finding it almost impossible to have a military victory, they are in search of a scapegoat to apportion the blame. Perhaps, in the same milieu, Chairman Joint Chief of US Forces, Admiral Mike Mullen, has issued such an unsubstantiated statement. Astoundingly, US military commanders have gone off balance and are behaving irrationally while making such accusations. Global analysts including its own think tanks questions US as; who is actually holding the Afghan affairs since the last 10 years; ISI or US? Is it not true that, 150,000 NATO and US troops are occupying Afghanistan since 2001? If yes, why cannot they are held responsible for this entire mess and consistent malfunction? Is ISI dictating these 150,000 coalition forces in Afghanistan? Is it not true that US enjoy an absolute power in Afghanistan?
Besides, through the use of its latest surveillance equipment and weaponry, US forces can see and engage even a very small object on ground and then can hit that hard. Its forces are deployed all around, including Pak-Afghan border.
If at all Haqqani people are operating in Afghan territory, they should be using some ground route, which should have been under US heavy surveillance. Why cannot US stop them from doing this all with its huge military forces? Surely Haqqani men would not be an unseen creature, crossing over to another heavily guarded country without having been seen.
Otherwise, stopping the infiltration from one agency (North Waziristan) should not cost them too much, if really it is affecting their military gains too seriously. US must realise that this globalized world has gone wise enough and do not believe in such unsubstantiated accusations in the presence of latest information and awareness.
There is yet another question boggling the mind of global acumen, had US and NATO forces defeated all other Taliban and warlords in Afghanistan, if at all Haqqani is backed by Pakistan. Or else Haqqani is the only one operating in Afghanistan against US and NATO forces. If Haqqani, a non-state actor, with only few hundred people is really defeating the Coalition forces and Afghan National Army and Police in Afghanistan, then he deserves to rule that lawless state and US, NATO and Karzai must surrender to him.
Let us accept the fact that, over the years, US and NATO coalition could do anything against Afghan Taliban, who indeed resides inside that country. Rather subduing them, they become powerful and more popular amongst the Afghan masses over the years. They are using the weapons and equipment as being held by coalition forces. In most of the areas, coalition forces are living with the tacit approval of the Taliban, who are being paid in return.
Every Pakistani desires a peaceful and a stable Afghanistan. Indeed, as once stated by General Kayani: “Pakistan cannot wish for Afghanistan anything which it does not wish for itself.” It only wants peace and stability in its brotherly and neighbourly Muslim country.
Our Afghan brethren have suffered a lot in their struggle against foreign invasions and occupations. Every Pakistani feels the sufferings of their Afghan brothers and sisters at the hands of ISAF’s ground and aerial attacks. These brutal attacks have not spared children and women attending marriages and men attending funerals or other social gatherings.
Through these misleading reports and statements, US indeed, is trying to sow the seed of hate between Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is pressuring Pakistan to accept the Indian role in Afghanistan, once it starts pulling out from that country. US together with its strategic South Asian partner desire that, there should remain a constant rift between Pakistan and Afghanistan, which should be cashed by both these partners.
Indeed, as history proves US is an unrewarding country. Should not it be obliged to Pakistan for supporting its cause in 1980s and now as a front line state against terrorism since 2001? People sitting at Pentagon and White House should be realistic in appreciating the situation.
They should have been indebted to Pakistani contributions for this Westernized Camp ever since 1950s. The need of the hour is US must stop this unfounded propaganda against Pakistan, which is being used as a tool just to hide its incompetence in handling the Afghan problems.
People of Pakistan and Afghanistan have their historical, cultural, religious and family linkages hence cannot be untied to please US or its partners. However, Pakistan has no ill intentions for its influence in Afghanistan. It desires a political solution of the issue attained through the amalgamation of all factions, ethnic and religious groups.