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ہفتہ، 15 اکتوبر، 2011

The Afghan cauldron

The mughal president of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai is again at its best,vitriolic on one hand appeasing on other. Pakistan bashing is at centre stage and Pakistan fanny at off stage.

India is the strategic ally and partner, Pakistan is a twin brother. The person on protamine (the protein in caviar) can only give such an expensive statement, expensive “cause” it is going to cost the political fortune to many. The mughal president of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai is again at its best, vitriolic on one hand and appeasing on the other.Pakistan-bashing is at centre stage and Pakistan fanny at off stage. Give it a break. The political vibes from Afghan president are complicating the already complexed situation of the region.Afghanistan is becoming a rentier state, at least the presidential palace and its environs. Is it going to be the strategic partnership with India or it is going to be the much dreaded strategic encirclement of Pakistan? Pray that it is none; the Afghan tectonics cannot bear the political or diplomatic shenanigans. Who is the sorcerer’s apprentice here?The Afghanistan-India pact is a serious development in the region on three accounts, one, India is the first country with whom Afghanistan has made a military pact, and even the military interventions of Russians on the behest of Afghan rulers were termed as the corollary of a pact of friendship. This is no small an achievement for Indians. Secondly, Americans are now all out to give clear messages, no more Morse codes, the enhancement of Indian stature is at the cost of Pakistan, it is due to the diverging interests which cannot converge being polar opposites. US has entered into an upping the ante policy with India as its corner stone. The stone wall is being built around the bay and barn, every one appreciating the collection of stones from far flung quarries, no one asking the purpose, the necropolis of history is sliding slowly towards the ultimate irrelevance, Afghanistan the graveyard of invaders is the new necropolis of history. History no more judges people by the deeds they under take, history now takes into account the things which you are supposed to do but it is never done, owing to some unknown reasons.Thirdly is the emergence of India as the new economic power house with the fastest growing middle class in the world, it is becoming the pillar of the new economic and political world order. Two regions, the Middle East and Central Asia are going to be dependent on the oceanic India; the third, power houses of pacific rim are also going to be a partner in coming decades.In this scheme Afghanistan is going to be the land mass bridge of diminishing value, because the routes of new silk road will only have the geographical tranquility rest of Afghanistan will be ruled by the perennial war lords, who are to keep coming like the Egyptian locust. The strategic pact of India-Afghanistan envisages military training to the Afghan national army, training to Afghan police, joint explorations of minerals, control of Hajiqak iron ore, building of dams on river Kabul, road and infrastructure development and a number of other security, political, economic, educational, and parliamentarian initiatives which India is under taking in Afghanistan. Virtually it is going to be the bonhomie the Indian way and the indianization of Afghan society.Pakistan as the neighbour has very less concerns till the time Indian mechanizations are in the sector of development only, but military matters are a different ball game. Indians say they are very relevant in the Afghanistan, well relevance is an intricate phenomenon in twenty first century, Pakistan being direct neighbour and the country who hosted the largest number of Afghan refugees in the world is irrelevant and the neighbour’s neighbour is relevant. Kudos and keep it up, it is all imperial hubris.US lost its high moral ground in Afghanistan because the military approach to the Afghan problem made it irrelevant to the situation on ground, a common Afghan thinks then what is the difference between a red army soldier and an American GI. Absence of political approach resulted into a zero sum game. Americans did not give any concept of a political product for Afghan people, the chaos after Russians left was to be dealt by a home grown or at least domestically imbibed political product. Afghanistan was a political failure, but what it got was a doze of military concentrate.A Taliban phenomenon was a reaction to war lordism, so if some one wants to replace Taliban with a better system it is ought to be the political one. But where are the product and the system approach there in. War is too serious a thing to be left to the Generals, even if they are trained in the first world. Pakistan is an easy punching bag, thanks to the national tradition of malmasti (hospitality). Admiral Mullen calls Haqqani network as the veritable arm of Pakistani intelligence service. Who is going to establish the alibi or the link to what ever is said, believed and displayed through words and deeds?Pakistan was always sensitive to Indian presence in Afghanistan, the allies were also conscious of the fact, now they are behaving in the alien way, it is not a mere change of heart, it is a change which is skin deep and up to the bone, the DNA of friendship has trans mutated.Pragati, an Indian magazine in year 2008 dedicated one of its special issues to the topic that India should have military presence in Afghanistan. Indian trainers are not new in Afghanistan; the rebuke to Pakistan is definitely new. There had been ebbs and flow in the relations of two countries (Pakistan and US), the lean years and the mean years, the average outcome remained within the halo of friendship.For the first time the things are pretty complexed between Pakistan and USA. The pent up emotions are the product of misreading the lessons of relevance. The hype of bad patch is not good for both the countries, empires die not from their strategic fatigue, and it is the imperial hubris which moves the corner stones of a giant plinth.If India is to be taken as the player, then it is to be in the political plane otherwise it is not to be. The backyard analogy apply equally every where, more so to the Hindukush Mountains, a name itself implies the untold stories of yester years.

By Abid Latif Sindhu (Frontier Post)
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