Pakistan, heretofore, crushed under a heavy burden of debt due to its dwindling exports, earns the title of an exporter of terror to Afghanistan. Imagine, exporting something to a market which is already overflowing with that commodity. If that is true, Pakistanis are bad business people. People are anticipating a US misadventure. As a prelude to such an eventuality, Pakistan is being accused the US administration and US-inspired international media with one voice, as if it was a divine revelation suddenly, of being involved in export of terror to Afghanistan where the most modern and the mightiest armies of the world are fighting against terror. A few recent attacks in Kabul on the highly protected enclave and unfortunate murder of Professor Rabbani, clearly indicating NATO failure, are so embarrassing for the US that it had to find a scapegoat for its failure. The present administration of President Obama do not want to leave the White House as losers in Afghanistan A sudden campaign has effectively been unleashed against Pakistan and the tone and tenor of senior administration officials suggest as if a US invasion on Pakistan is now a matter of time.
Is Pakistan really exporting terror or re-exporting it. Or may be that the surplus terror already overflowing in Pakistan is spilling over across the Durand Line on its own?
In late 1970s, USSR was where the US is today. It had attacked Afghanistan in December 1979. This invasion was resisted by fierce Afghan fighters whose resistance against foreign occupation was glorified by the West. These fighters were later branded as Mujahideen, those fighting a Holy War. The history is now repeating itself when the same Holy warriors are fighting against another occupation force. Something which was kosher in 1980s cannot be forbidden in 2011. Pakistan found itself in the way of both these fights and has paid exceptionally enormous price. During the first Afghan Jihad, it had to fight soviet funded insurgency, today it is fighting an insurgency which is being funded and fueled by India and by implication by the sole super power. It has lost scores of precious civilian and military lives running into thousands, has lost economically to the tune of $100 billion and yet a target of US fury for none of its faults.
The terrorism Pakistan is fighting today is the relic of Afghan “jihad” and the NATO invasion of Afghanistan. In both the cases, Pakistan has been doing the US bidding. By hindsight, it is now clear that terrorism was a weapon used in the first war and now in this war on terror. The parties in case of both the conflicts have changed but Pakistan’s position remains constant, of a victim of terrorism.
Known military historian, Brian Cloughley in his article titled, Is this a price worth paying? which appeared in the News International, says that had there been no invasion of Afghanistan by foreign troops, Pakistan would not be in the dreadful situation in which it now finds itself. The fanatics came over the border and found sanctuary amid the lawless but culturally hospitable tribes, which at that very time were being encouraged, with signs of modest success, to join mainstream Pakistan. But the displaced militants began energetic campaigns of propaganda and hatred, and then wreaked havoc by brainwashing home-grown barbarians to develop their own brand of evil mayhem.
The fact is that Pakistan is not exporting terrorism or violence. This is a bogey raised to arm-twist Pakistan into helping the US have an honorable exit from Afghanistan. Mark Grossman, the US envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan has recently said without mincing words that they want Pakistan to pressurize Haqqani Network militarily to bring them to negotiations. Americans have learned the hard way that negotiations, and not the brute force, is the only way forward to an honorable endgame. Although Haqqanis have complete control of three of Afghanistan’s provinces, Americans find it difficult, despite all the power at their disposal, to push Haqqanis to negotiations. And Haqqanis are a potent opposition to reconciliation. Americans want Pakistan to open another front against militant and plunge itself into more bloodshed and chaos.
It may not be relevant to raise the question of US designs against Pakistan but the way events are unfolding substantiates the fear that everything is being stage-managed. Pakistan seems to have mustered the courage to stand up and warn the US that it could “lose an ally” if it persisted in allegations that its intelligence services was behind an attack on the US embassy in Kabul last week. If the US is choosing to alienate Pakistani people, it will do so at own cost.
Pakistan’s security establishment does not enjoying the luxury of saying things like Admiral Mike Mullen. However, it has conveyed the right message through its graceful silence by refusing to be provoked by Admiral’s frustration and a blunt tirade. Pakistan knows that any misadventure by the US will unite the nations which at present is divided and frustrated at the hands of politicians.
According to Brian Cloughley, a North Waziristan military operation would mightily increase the numbers of suicide and other attacks throughout Pakistan. The US objective is to make it easier for them to claim that their war is going well, as part of President Obama’s ‘New Strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Currently the US is threatening to invade Pakistan rather than endorse ongoing negotiations with militants in FATA. The intention was made clear when defense secretary Panetta, referring to Pakistan’s supposed support of militant operations in Afghanistan, declared that “We’re not going to allow these types of attacks to go on.”
If Mr. Panetta imagines the Pakistan Army will be a pushover like the Iraqis, warns My Cloughley, he should think again. If US forces attempt an invasion of North Waziristan they will meet reaction not only from militants but from an army which will not accept flagrant violation of national sovereignty. “I know the Pakistan Army, and I state flatly that man-for-man it will hammer any opponent, no matter if the skies are horizon-filled with US bombers.”
- Is U.S. Planning a Revenge Attack on Pakistan? (ktrmurali.wordpress.com)
- U.S. Recalibrates Mullen’s Remarks about Pakistan (nytimes.com)
- US ‘threat’ unites Pakistan – The Associated Press (news.google.com)
- Musharaff: Why Haqqani terrorist group can help Pakistan (telegraph.co.uk)