FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
How Ghani’s appeasement towards Pakistan has worsened the situation inside Afghanistan
Posted:Jun 15, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
Afghan president Ashraf Ghani referred to Pakistan nine times in his 36-minute speech at the Kabul Process conference on June 6, a one-day meeting between the Afghan government and representatives of 27 countries and international organizations charged with restarting a peace process in this violence-torn country. While Ghani’s central demand was to urge the world community to act on its “promise” to fight terrorism and help Afghans in responding to the threat of terror, he stressed on Islamabad’s disinclination to genuinely commit itself to peace in Afghanistan.
 
He desperately urged Pakistan, once again, “to propose its agenda and a mechanism” for joint political efforts which can “lead to peace” in Afghanistan. But wasn’t this the right time and occasion for Ghani to share his own spy agency’s intelligence, that the Haqqani terror network, with “the direct guidance and assistance from Pakistan”, had carried out the recent massive bomb attack in Kabul, which killed over 150 Afghans and injured hundreds more?
 
Question is, does the Afghan government have accurate, actionable and relevant intelligence in this regard? In fact, does Washington have the specific intelligence or not to conclude whether Pakistan was involved in the May 31st deadly terrorist attack in Kabul? But Ghani seemed to let Pakistan off the hook. Instead of stating that “we cannot figure out what is it that Pakistan wants” or asking what it takes “to convince Pakistan that a stable Afghanistan helps them and helps our region”, the President must realize that all Afghans want is to urge Washington and the international community to fix or capture the Haqqani Network and the Taliban leaderships in Pakistan.
 
Begging for peace and cooperation from Islamabad means that the Afghan president, a steadfast US ally, is desperate and has failed to push for a shift in Washington’s strategic thinking vis-a-vis Pakistan.
 
Offering an olive branch to Pakistan
 
On November 14, 2014, shortly after assuming the presidency, in an effort to appease Islamabad, Ghani visited the General Headquarters of the Pakistan Army in Rawalpindi. His message to the Generals was, “Afghanistan wants to bolster security and defence ties with Pakistan”.
 
Over the next few weeks, a series of closed-door meetings were held between Afghanistan’s National Security Advisor, Mr Hanif Atmar, and Pakistan’s military and spy agency chiefs in Kabul as well as outside the country — in UK, UAE, China and Saudi Arabia.
 
President Ghani met the Pakistan military and spy chiefs in Kabul and Saudi Arabia, while Atmar met them in Kabul, UK, UAE and China. When the President and his NSA met them in Kabul on November 10, 2014, the Afghan leaders even asked their own intelligence agency’s head, Mr Rahmatullah Nabil, to wait outside as the “the ISI chief did not want him to be in the meeting”.
 
President Ghani established a hotline with the erstwhile Pakistan army chief, General Raheel Sharif and his NSA. Atmar set up another hotline with Lt. Gen. Rizwan Akhtar Baig, the then director-general of the ISI. In this new chapter of apparently warm relations, Afghan cadets were sent for military training to Pakistan. The Afghan president allowed Pakistani intelligence officers to interrogate prisoners in Afghan prisons. Under the name of “joint military operations”, Pakistani forces were given Kabul’s consent to conduct selective operations in different parts of Afghanistan.
 
Ghani went even further. He even described Pakistani state-supported terrorism in Afghanistan as a “proxy war” between India and Pakistan. Then in May 2015, Ghani authorized the inking of a secret intelligence cooperation agreement between Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
 
All President Ghani wanted and hoped for in return was the genuine start of peace talks with the Taliban and a change in the Pakistan military’s mindset, so that Afghanistan could bring an end to the war and the violence that has ripped this country apart for nearly four decades.
 
Speaking at the Kabul Process conference on June 6, President Ghani gave voice to his efforts. “From the day I took office, I went far out on a limb to offer an olive branch to Pakistan. But it has not been taken.”
 
Indeed, with a green light from the Americans and the British, Ghani’s policy of appeasement and offer of “an olive branch to Pakistan” not only resulted in the deterioration of the security situation in the country and the region, but also distanced many Afghans from the
 
National Unity Government and widened the war in the country.
 
Fighting Pakistan in Afghanistan
 
But as Kabul’s efforts to cultivate a genuine friendship and true cooperation with Islamabad failed, Ashraf Ghani waged an intensifying military campaign in Afghanistan, against an enemy whose sanctuary, training ground, supportive system and network were in Pakistan.
 
In his public statements, he stated that Pakistan is in a state of “undeclared war” with Afghanistan. But, in line with US military
 
strategy in Afghanistan, Ghani ordered Afghan security and defense forces to apply an unprecedented level of force against the Taliban.
 
Within a year, tens of thousands of military operations were conducted by Afghan security forces inside the country. US forces were also given a free hand in conducting their own military campaign, to fight a threat which nevertheless had its origin outside Afghanistan.
 
Drone strikes, house searches and the illegal detention of Afghans by US forces soon became the order of the day — Ghani signed a decree to allow detention without trials of terror suspects. It is worthwhile to point out here that none of these measures by US forces had earlier been authorized by former Afghan president Hamid Karzai.
 
Yet, waging more war within Afghanistan proved counterproductive to the rapidly deteriorating security situation in the country. Washington and Kabul’s nearsighted war policy gave birth to new terrorist brands such Daesh or ISIS in Afghanistan.
 
Soon the province of Kunduz and several other important districts repeatedly fell to the Taliban and foreign-backed terrorists. But simultaneously, the number of foreign fighters increased from 200 to 11,000 fighters in these past two years – these figures have been given by President Ghani himself. Meanwhile, civilian casualties and the death rate of Afghan security forces rose to an alltime high.
 
Trying Pakistan again
 
Fast-forward two and half years. Ashraf Ghani now says his “top priority must go to finding an effective way to build a different relationship with Pakistan.” He told the participants of the Kabul Process conference: “We want to be able to trust Pakistan.” The Afghans feel as if they have been struck by thunder. As if the experience of the last two and a half years hasn’t been enough. But if the President is still looking for answers to “what is it that Pakistan wants” from Afghanistan, he is simply playing with people’s emotions.
 
Mr President, perhaps I can tell you what Pakistan wants! Pakistan wants to control Afghanistan’s foreign policy, especially with regard to India. It wants the recognition of the Durand line by the Afghans and an Islamabad-centric government in Kabul. But here is something else, Mr President ! All of this is a dream which will never come true!
 
We should clearly call upon the region and the world to tackle the political dimensions of terrorism and end support to states who sponsor terrorism. Today, the Frankenstein’s monster – the terrorist and extremist outfits in Afghanistan — are as much a creation of the US as it is of the Pakistan. The Pakistani military establishment continues to serve the US in securing its strategic interests in south and central Asia.
 
In pursuit of their strategic and geopolitical agendas, foreign states continue to use terrorist groups in Afghanistan and the region. But the truth is that there will be no change in Pakistan’s double-sided policy towards Afghanistan, unless there is a strategic shift in Washington’s policy in dealing with Islamabad and in its dealing with Pakistan-sponsored terrorism at the same time.
 
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina assumed office again in Bangladesh in 2009, bilateral relations between New Delhi and Dhaka have been on a steady upward trajectory.
 
read-more
Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Wednesday received a telephone call from US Vice President Mike Pence who offered thanks for the rescue of an American hostage, her Canadian husband and three children, the Prime Minister's office said.
 
read-more
Ruskin Bond’s first novel ‘Room on the Roof’ describes in vivid detail how life in the hills around Dehradun used to be. Bond, who is based in Landour, Mussoorie, since 1963, captured the imagination of countless readers as he painted a picture of an era gone by.
 
read-more
India’s foreign policy under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has attained a level of maturity which allows it to assert itself in an effective manner. This is aimed at protecting the country’s national interests in a sustained way.
 
read-more
Braid-chopping incidents have added to the already piled up anxieties of Kashmiris. Once again they are out on the streets, to give vent to their anger. A few persons, believed to be braid-choppers were caught hold by irate mobs at various places. They were beaten to pulp.
 
read-more
The report delivered by Xi Jinping at the opening of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) declared that socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era and the CPC has drawn up a two-stage development plan to develop China into a "great modern socialist country" by 2050.
 
read-more
The capture of Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital in Syria, by U.S.-backed Kurdish and Arab troops this week is a crushing blow to the group.
 
read-more
In West Asia, the end of one war paves the way for the next. Raqqa, the Syrian capital of the self-styled Islamic State (IS), has fallen to a coalition of rebels, the Syrian Democratic Forces that is backed by the United States.
 
read-more
On “Defining Our Relationship with India for the Next Century”
 
read-more
Column-image

Title: The People Next Door -The Curious History of India-Pakistan Relations; Author: T.C.A. Raghavan; Publisher: HarperCollins ; Pages: 361; Price: Rs 699

 
Column-image

Could the North Korean nuclear issue which is giving the world an anxious time due to presence of hotheads on each side, the invasion of Iraq and its toxic fallout, and above all, the arms race in the teeming but impoverished South Asian subcon...

 
Column-image

Title: A Bonsai Tree; Author: Narendra Luther; Publisher: Niyogi Books; Pages: 227 Many books have been written on India's partition but here is a firsthand account of the horror by a migrant from what is now Pakistan, who ...

 
Column-image

As talk of war and violence -- all that Mahatma Gandhi stood against -- gains prominence across the world, a Gandhian scholar has urged that the teachings of the apostle of non-violence be taken to the classroom.

 
Column-image

Interview with Hudson Institute’s Aparna Pande, whose book From Chanakya to Modi: Evolution of India’s Foreign Policy, was released on June 17.

 
Subscribe to our newsletter
Archive