Afghan Government: Pakistan – Strategic Error or a Strategic Partner?

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Context

The Afghan national security adviser Rangin Dadfar Spanta was recently visiting US. In an article published in Washington Post on August 23, he blamed the role of Pakistan in addition to corruption inside the Afghan government for the predicament facing the country. He advised the US to re evaluate its strategic partnership with Pakistan as it has sustained supporting the extremists, which is leading to the erosion of assistance for the Afghan war.

The Afghan officials went as far as to suggest that Pakistani generals should be barred from visiting United States, perhaps modeled on the recent denial of visa to Lt-Gen BS Jaswal. He is the Indian Army’s Commander-in-Chief for Northern Command that includes Jammu and Kashmir, and was schedule for a regular official visit to China.

Analysis

The Afghan national security adviser went on to write:

“It is my firm conviction that securing our people, districts and towns from terrorists; institutionalizing the rule of law; and fighting corruption are necessary steps toward building a strong and responsive state. But that is not enough. No domestic measure will fully address the threat of international terrorism, its global totalitarian ideology or its regional support networks. Dismantling the terrorist infrastructure is a central component of our anti-terror strategy, and this requires confronting the state that still sees terrorism as a strategic asset and foreign policy tool.”

Ever since a democratic set-up was installed in Pakistan, the Afghan and Pakistan governments were believed to be cooperating more closely in fighting extremism. The consequence of this close cooperation resulted in a feeling of being ‘left out’ and not ‘properly’ consulted, on part of the US.

Under international pressure to deal with rampant corruption, Afghanistan is becoming increasingly frustrated by the global attention and sympathy Pakistan is generating in the aftermath of the devastating floods. It perhaps also senses an opportunity as the prospect of weakened Pakistan looms on the horizon. Due mainly to its rescue and relief efforts, the graph of Pakistan army’s image is on the rise both domestically and internationally. This is troubling for India and Afghanistan as they have worked feverishly against this trend. The official reports recently leaked by Wikileaks were considered by many in Pakistan to be part of this global campaign towards maligning the repute of Pakistan’s military.

The Pak-Afghan relations appears to be heading towards turbulent waters once again. PoliTact will be watching this unfolding trend and its possible implications on the politics of the region.

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