Asif Haroon Raja
Either Obama Administration is totally confused or is inept or is purposely behaving wickedly. What is certain is that it is not behaving straight and with honesty of purpose? Lot of hopes were pinned on Obama in the Muslim world that he will undo the wrongs inflicted upon the Muslims by Bush led draconian regime. Instead of getting rid of highly unpopular war in Afghanistan Obama inherited from Bush, he has got tied to it. As against overwhelming support Bush received from Americans to invade and occupy Afghanistan, Obama is confronted with divided opinion. Majority seeks end to war and withdrawal of US troops while shrinking minority want continuation of futile war and are in favour of sending more troops into the inferno of Afghanistan till the accomplishment of unachievable objectives.
Ignoring the sentiments of majority in America, Obama opted to take the unpopular decision of sending additional 30,000 US troops to Afghanistan. He hopes that troop surge would help in stabilising deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan not realising that it will result in more destruction and bloodshed on both sides and also contribute towards instability of Pakistan. In other words he would be reinforcing failure. Americans suffering under back breaking taxes, spiralling prices due to rising inflation and unemployment are least interested in senseless Afghan war. They want jobs, healthcare, homes and early return of their near and dear ones who have been pushed into the inferno of Afghanistan.
Irrespective of divided opinion on Afghanistan, both Republicans and Democrats place Pakistan in bad books and India in good books. Ignoring huge sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in fighting US war on terror, the US regards Pakistan as a tactical partner and India as a strategic ally. It has taken India, Israel, Afghanistan and UK on board but kept Pakistan out of the loop although it doesn’t tire saying that Pakistan is its strategic partner and is doing a very fine job and without its support the US cannot hope to win war in Afghanistan. It is playing a crude joke with Pakistan since all what it is professing is humbug and far from truth since Pakistan is a target and not an ally.
USA is not only concerned about its own homeland security but also of Israel, India and Afghanistan but is least concerned about Pakistan security. Band of five, USA-UK-Israel-India-Afghanistan have ganged up to trap Pakistan under the garb of friendship so that it could be denuclearized and ultimately reduced to a vassal state. While preparing India for carrying out two-directional war, all efforts are geared towards achieving their objectives without applying military instrument since it has an element of risk. Application of covert means to weaken institutions and destabilize Pakistan as a whole is the preferred course of action.
US leaders speak with a forked tongue. While one official praises Pakistan Army but soon after another official says something quite opposite which further vitiates the atmosphere. Same kind of duplicitous stance is adopted on our nuclear program. While some say that Pakistan has set up a robust security system, but it is soon contradicted by someone else saying that nuclear sites are unsafe. Pakistan on one hand is incessantly pushed by USA to do more and on the other it expresses its mistrust and lack of confidence. It ignores cross border terrorism of RAW and RAAM against Pakistan taking place right under its nose but joins hands with the two to malign Pakistan on similar charges. Any act of terror taking place in India and Afghanistan is promptly lumped on ISI. While the US is trying hard to negotiate with Afghan Taliban, it bars Pakistan from talking to any militant faction in Pakistan including Tehrik-e-Taliban, which is sponsored by RAW. It also wants Pakistan to gun down Afghan Shura allegedly based in Quetta without providing intelligence. It provides aid tied to stringent conditions but deceptively takes back half of it as service charges, counselling, coordination fee and still keeps censuring Pakistan that aid money has been pilfered.
Appointment of Richard Holbrooke as coordinator for Pak-Afghan affairs, framing of Pakistan specific Af-Pak policy, making Afghanistan-Pakistan into single battle zone, placing Al-Qaeda leadership including Osama in FATA knowing full well that he is dead since long, positioning Mullah Omar and his Shura in Quetta, acceleration of drone attacks in Waziristan against pro-Pakistan elements, threatening to send forces into FATA, insisting upon Pakistan that India is no threat to Pakistan and it should move all its forces from eastern to western border to fight the militants, assigning key position to India in Afghan affairs, ignoring Pakistan protests and closing its eyes to cross border terrorism of RAW from Afghan soil, slanderous media warfare to undermine Pakistan and its premier institutions, mistrusting ISI and the army and wishing the ISI to be placed under total control of civilians, projecting Pak nuclear assets unsafe, putting economy in the stranglehold of IMF and leadership in the grip of Washington, issuance of harsh Kerry-Lugar Bill to rob Pakistan of its sovereignty point towards biased and discriminatory posture of Washington. Obama Administration is repeating old policy of Bush regime based on lies and deception.
When the time and circumstances were favourable for USA and people of Afghanistan and Pakistan wanted USA to stay put, it decided to quit in indecent haste. Now when political and military environments are unfavourable and people of the two affected countries are keen that US troops should exit, it doesn’t want to leave on the plea that it must not commit the same mistake of ditching Pakistan and Afghanistan again. Those constantly advising US leaders not to abdicate but to increase military presence and convert Afghanistan into a permanent military base fail to realise that ground situation has undergone a radical change. The US today is seen as an opportunist imperialist power and Muslim basher. It is seen as a betrayer who had used Muslim fighters as cannon fodder to serve its selfish interests and when the time came to recompense them for their colossal sacrifices rendered they were ditched at a time when they needed their support the most to rebuild devastated Afghanistan. They were betrayed and converted from holy warriors to terrorists, hounded, put in infamous Guantanamo jail and mercilessly killed by trigger happy US forces in Afghanistan.
Pakistanis too have genuine grievances against USA for leaving them in a lurch after playing a key role in defeating Soviet forces which paved the way for fragmentation of Soviet Empire. Instead of rewarding Pakistan for sacrifices rendered, the US opted to penalise it by putting it under harsh sanctions for a full decade and befriending India that was part of Soviet camp and had decried USA. It is again playing a wicked game by sidelining Afghan Pashtuns including the Taliban that had ruled Afghanistan effectively from 1996 onwards till they were forcibly dethroned. It is supporting highly unpopular US stooge Karzai and non-Pashtun war lords of Northern Alliance.
The US doesn’t want Pakistan to sink, but it also doesn’t want it to become politically, militarily and economically healthy and starts pursuing an independent foreign policy. The US would prefer an unhealthy Pakistan, dependent upon oxygen provided by USA and subservient to India. Like Bush, Obama too is pursuing imperialist agenda. His decision to send additional US troops to Afghanistan is a precursor for physical intervention into Pakistan so as to secure US objectives in Middle East and Central Asia. For the attainment of vast energy resources, it is essential for USA to assert its military and geo-political ascendancy over these strategic regions. All those nurturing fond hopes that Pakistan is an ally of USA and hence out of danger should keep its finger crossed. Ongoing acts of terror are coordinated by invisible hands. Coming months are crucial for Pakistan.