Will NWA operation bring peace to Afghanistan?
Abdul Zahoor Khan Marwat
Following Admiral Mullen’s recent visit to Islamabad, reports say the United States has linked the end to the drone attacks in Fata areas to a full-scale operation against the influential Afghan Taliban group, the Haqqani network, which it believes is based in North Waziristan. However, Pakistan has made it clear it cannot give any timeline for the operation in the NWA, which would be launched only if Islamabad feels it is in its national interests.
The ISPR, on the Mullen-Kayani meeting commented: “The COAS highlighted that Pakistan Army’s ongoing operations are a testimony of our national resolve to defeat terrorism. The COAS reinforced the government’s stance on drone strikes and emphasised that they not only undermine our national effort against terrorism, but turn public support against our efforts, which remains the key to success.” It said Kayani strongly rejected the negative propaganda of Pakistan not doing enough and Pakistan Army’s alleged lack of clarity on the way forward.
Following the incessant demands to start an operation in the NWA, some pertinent questions come to one’s mind.First, Pakistan armed forces have taken on the militants in all the federally administered agencies. Everyday, Pakistani soldiers, officers, policemen and civilians are being killed. Why is not the focus of western media on the sacrifices being made by the Pakistani security forces? Why is that only negative stories are being carried?
Second, has Obama administration kept its part of the bargain and provided Pakistan with the necessary hardware that Islamabad has repeatedly demanded to tackle the extremists in NWA?
Third, why don’t the Western countries try to bring about a negotiated settlement of the Kashmir issue so that more Pakistan armed forces can be put up against the terrorists?Fourth, is it really true that all so-called terrorists are concentrated in NWA? Which hostile foreign intelligence agency has made efforts to convince Washington that Fata areas are a safe haven of al-Qaeda? Have the Western countries ever sifted facts through fiction?
Fifth, what would happen after NWA was overrun by the Pakistan Army? Would there be claims that Taliban and Haqqani group have shifted to the Peshawar cantonment or Shakarparian in Islamabad? What would be the demands then?
Sixth, would the US-Nato finally succeed in Afghanistan if the Pakistani forces capture the North Waziristan Agency? Would all the suicide attacks on foreign forces finally end and would peace prevail in Afghanistan?
Seventh, how is it that according to Western media, a large number of terrorists are based in North Waziristan but the US forces are unable to point out their exact locations despite highly sophisticated technology?
Eight, how many terrorists have already crossed over to Afghanistan from the NWA following the pressure on Pakistan to invade the territory? How many are left behind?
Nine, what would be the impact of an attack on North Waziristan? Would the terrorists and their supporters not attack Pakistani cities and military installations? How would Pakistan, with few resources and fragile infrastructure, cope with it?
One should not become beholden to shortsighted narrow-minded regional strategies and also take into account the other side’s dilemma and limitations with regard to the NWA operation.
Meanwhile, it is important to acknowledge General Kayani’s affirmation that the evolving Pak-US strategic relations are important for mutual long-term objectives of comprehensive security in both the countries.