Afghanistan quagmire

Absolutely not “has become very famous word in Pakistan and some interpret it a grand success in international politics for Pakistan. It is also being termed as bold decision in the history of Pakistan by any government when during an interview by a foreign correspondent put a direct question to Prime Minister about giving bases to US as happened in the past, his reply was “Absolutely Not”. It was clear message telling US that honey moon days are over, Pakistan shall never “Do More” as per past practice. Our media has by and large applauded the stand taken by the government but failed to realise far reaching consequences. What our people must understand that this is no time for celebrations but calls for more vigilance and unity because of our greater vulnerability. US has done exactly what they did in 1990’s after the soviet withdrawal but there is a big difference between Russia’s withdrawal and USA leaving Afghanistan. Russia was defeated and country broke apart whereas US has not been defeated but leaving Afghanistan after entering in to proper agreement with Taliban, but for this adventure they suffered heavily in men and material running in thousands and trillions of dollars respectively. Their exit is peaceful and shall remain peaceful and for all other NATO forces as long as they stick to withdrawal time frame agreed between the two parties
Pakistan has only one option to remain neutral, watch the situation and wait for the complete pull out of occupied forces. As anticipated Taliban are moving very fast after vacation of Air Base at Bagram by US on 5 July. To have firm control over Afghanistan Taliban’s are making swift advance and so far have captured 170 districts. Reports are pouring in that Taliban took control of Indian Consulate in Qandahar. India has airlifted their diplomatic staff comprising more than 50 personal including Raw agents. It is also reported that two C-130 planes loaded with military hardware have landed in Qandahar to which Taliban has warned India not to interfere. Indian intentions are very clear as they want to create internal disorder to destabilise Pakistan to which Taliban have reacted. In spite of the fact that Taliban are advancing but have reiterated that they are ready to sit and talk but there will be no compromise on Islamic State where media will be allowed to criticise the government but women shall not move freely and has to observe parda when moving out.
Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah of Northern Alliance who ignored Taliban in the past have now realised that Taliban is a force to reckon with. Afghan forces were trained by US and are equipped with most sophisticated weapons failed to put up any resistance instead reports are pouring in that Afghan troops are surrendering and joining Taliban. But, one thing is certain we should be ready to meet challenge of probable civil war unless Afghan government falls in couple of months and that means more problems for Pakistan. We shall witness action replay of exodus flow of refugees entering our side means more economic pressure. No doubt Pakistan has completed over 80 percent of border fencing on 2600 kilometre border but these can be crossed as history is full of such examples where even best arrangements remained unsuccessful like US Mexico border, Turkey Greece border we find refugees breaking the barriers. They failed to stop the refugees as such we may face same dilemma. Apparently it looks we may be facing another war on terror and this time without the support of US. US have their own objectives and most effective tool of pre-emptive strike to strike any country any time without UN approval. We have seen this happening in the past and it can happen again suiting to their convenience.
Pakistan has only one choice to back up any government formed after this turmoil is over. There are less chances of coalition government because Afghan government and Taliban are not on same page because Taliban do not accept their constitution and want to impose Shariah on their terms.The main question that is hunting the minds of everybody “Is Taliban takeover of Afghanistan” inevitable, but Joe Biden thinks Afghan army is in strength and it may be difficult for Taliban to capture Afghanistan.But the way Taliban are advancing and closing on to Kabul and it may take 5 to 6 months for Taliban to take over Kabul . Let us assume if it is complete take over by Taliban, will they pose any threat to US and its neighbours? If an ISIS situation develops as was post-Iraq withdrawal and the rise of ISIS, this may not happen in Afghanistan. The worry is once the Taliban takes over Afghanistan’s major chunk, they may allow Al-Qaida or other terrorist groups do what they want and they regroup themselves that may pose threat to Us and Pakistan.But it is certain that US will not get involved again in Afghanistan.
Will the Afghan government and its army hold back Taliban is million dollar question.Taliban would need legitimacy as happened earlier only three countries acknowledged their legitimacy Pakistan, UAE and KSA. USA shall not give legitimacy if Taliban come through military force not backed up by the people. US may impose sanctions. For last 20 years Pakistan desire has been to bring back Taliban. Now when Pakistan is about to achieve it it is not certain that out right victory by Taliban may not end up in disaster for all the actors, Pakistan Afghanistan and the region as a whole. Taliban want Islamic Emirate Afghan government wants Islamic Republic. Taliban shall never like power sharing when they can otherwise take it.The only option with Afghan government is to fight and that means prolonged war.Pakistan enjoys great strategic position. Taliban due to their own necessity to ensure movement of logistics the life line of Afghanistan passes through Pakistan, therefore it will be to their benefit to have cordial relations with Pakistan. It is true Pakistan is no more in position to compel Taliban to follow certain line of action as they have announced that no one can dictate them but they are willing to sit and discuss the issues. To protect our interest of CPEC we have to be in line with Taliban. LET US WAIT AND SEE WHICH WAY THE WIND BLOWS.

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