By: Ajmal Shams

While the atmosphere still remains relatively tense as far as the relations between the neighbouring Afghanistan and Pakistan are concerned, a window of opportunity remains open in terms of a number of commonalties that define geo-politics in the two countries. There are many areas where the two countries have had to adopt conflicting stances. However, there do exist some common grounds which can help the two neighboring countries to transform the existing tense political environment into more of a congenial atmosphere appropriate for confidence building measures. These include, but are not limited to, the combat against terrorism, the fight against drugs and a common desire for rapid economic development. The problem lies in the fact that the two countries have not yet been able to evolve a mutually agreed strategy whereby the above-mentioned objectives can be achieved within the context of their respective national interests and geopolitical goals.

There has been a gradual increase in the Taliban insurgency, especially in the Southern and Eastern Afghanistan over the past two years which has seriously hampered reconstruction and developmental process besides putting the government credibility at stake. Pakistan is being portrayed to be primarily responsible for this growing wave of the Taliban activities and not without understandable reasons. It is not just the Afghan government and intelligentsia, but also ordinary Afghans who have been pointing the accusing finger at Pakistan that the former has been covertly collaborating with the insurgents. While it is true that there might be certain elements in Afghan government who would rather like this blame-game to continue for their own vested interests, the fact remains, however, that after their defeat by the US military the remnants of Taliban and Alqaeda went into hiding inside the tribal belt along the Pak-Afghan border for shelter and support. The initial few years of Karzai’s government provided them with an opportunity to reorganize and get replenished to be able to re-emerge with renewed tactics of guerrilla warfare.

Most analysts tend to oversimplify the Taliban phenomena. They usually overlook the multi-faceted nature of their background and fail to view them in a broader international context that encompasses the wider Alqaeda network to which some regional powers, local miscreants, druglords and vested interests have become partners. The result appears as killing of innocent lives, destabilised government and disrupted reconstruction activities.   

Ever since the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan and the subsequent events like Islamic revolution in Iran and the uprising in Kashmir and Palestine, Islamic extremism has been steadily growing particularly among the economically desperate classes of the Muslim Societies. Therefore the current wave of Islamic Radicalism, irrespective of the nature of its historical development, is a function of ideological, political and economic factors that are now affecting the Muslim societies in one way or another. The most desperate and economically disadvantaged groups in the Muslim world are the main targets of those seeking political advantage for their own extremist agendas. Soon after the tragic events of September 11, President Bush declared that terrorism in Afghanistan will be fought on three different fronts i.e. military, political and economic. Unfortunately the battle on political and economic fronts has not achieved its targeted objectives although billions of dollars have been spent so far and the efforts for reconciliation and bringing in the Taliban into the mainstream have not brought any substantial results.  

As mentioned earlier, Afghanistan and Pakistan have never engaged in a serious dialogue aimed at evolving a joint strategy to fight the growing terrorism in both countries, with Afghanistan being the main target. The constantly increasing insurgency in Afghanistan has made the political environment so tense which does not allow any friendly gesture from either side to pave the way for restoring confidence. Pakistan with a well-established and professional army is in a much better position to combat terrorists on its soil. From the number of casualties its army has suffered by the Taliban and Alqaeda in Waziristan it might appear that the country is determined to flush out the remnants of the extremist groups. On top of that the government has managed to round up hundreds of Alqaeda activists and has turned them over to US authorities, getting the latter’s appreciation in its war on terror. However, the efficacy of such efforts becomes questionable with a non-stop Taliban violence especially in Southern Afghanistan.

Both Pakistan and Afghanistan have been termed as failed states by US based organization Fund for Peace, ranking ninth and tenth on the failed states index respectively. It would be wise for them to do more to combat the menace of terrorism through a joint strategy, mutual trust and efficient information sharing system because the scourge of terrorism is the biggest enemy of stability and development.  

President Musharraf during his recent visit to Afghanistan delivered a comprehensive speech to a large gathering of Afghan parliamentarians and high-ranking government officials highlighting his government’s efforts to combat terrorism through military and political means. He also called for a joint strategy to scholarly approach the issue of Talibanisation in both Afghan and Pakistani societies. One can only wait and see how the recent truce between Pakistani government and the Taliban and Alqaeda operatives will impact the intensity of insurgent operations in Afghanistan. The initial euphoria has already started diminishing with several consecutive suicide attacks only a day after President Musharraf returned home. If Musharraf really means business then Afghanistan is definitely expecting to see a reduction in the Taliban insurgency in the near future because actions speak louder than words.

The writer is President of the Afghanistan Social Democratic Party (well know as Afghan Millat National Progressive Party) Courtesy: The News International - 17 September 2006

د ګوندمرامنامه  دګوند تاریخچه زمونږ دریځ لیکنې دا فغان ملت نومیالي دګوند مشر انځورونه خبرونه او غونډې مونږ سره اړیکې د ګوند اخبار

دافغان ملت ملي مترقي ګوند

 Afghanistan Social Democratic Party

Home Manifesto History President Journal News & Events Articles Renowned Figures Photos Contact Us

Copyright © Afghan Millat 2007-2013 All Rights Reserved