Lately I have read a few interesting but contradictory news about the US policy towards Pakistan. It is not only a mockery of diplomatic relationship, but also shows the complete disarray in the US administration. According to one of the news, the US Military Chief, General Joseph Dunford Said that no victory in Afghanistan was possible without Pakistan’s support. As against this, the US Defence Secretary, James Mattis said that the recent decision to stop reimbursements to the Pakistani military was not a tougher new policy for Pakistan but did reflect ground realities. He went on to say that the President Trump’s administration was reviewing its policies for the entire South Asian region and not just Afghanistan.
This takes me back into the history as back as 2012 when the then US Secretary of Defence, Leon Panetta had said, “In order to really have a secure Afghanistan, ultimately Pakistan is going to have to take responsibility for taking on these terrorists and eliminating the safe havens”. He also said that the US presence in Afghanistan would continue beyond 2014 if more of the safe havens were not dealt with more stridently than they’ve been to date.
Over the years I have been saying that the US troops will never be pulled out of Afghanistan. My point of view has been recently substantiated by General Dunford as he warned against placing the artificial timeline on operations in Afghanistan. He went to the extent of saying that additional forces for Afganistan security forces would make them more competitive.
This is not something new; over the years the US has been saying that restoring peace in Afghanistan depends on the commitment of Pakistan to fight the terrorist. Instead of stopping incursions from Afghanistan, Pakistan is often accused of providing safe sanctuaries to those who are fighting with the occupying forces.
May be the time has come to find explanations for some basic questions:
1) Why Afghanistan was invaded by the USSR as well as the US?
2) Why US wishes to keep its forces there?
3) Why should Pakistan fight a proxy war of the US?
There is growing realization in Pakistan that if the USSR had attacked Afghanistan for a passage to warm waters, the US is not serious in bringing peace to Afghanistan but achieve other motives. There are suspicions that troops are being kept there for two reasons 1) to protect the opium growers and refining laboratories and 2) a built up troops for immediate attack in case US arrive at the conclusion that appropriate time has come to attack Iran.
It may not be wrong to say that soon after getting independence from the British Raj in 1947, Pakistan became subservient to the US foreign policy, dominated by ‘cold war’. Despite putting its existence at stake, it followed the US dictate of taking anti USSR and anti China stance. However, when the US wanted to make China friend, Pakistan secretly took Henry Kissinger, the then Secretary of Sate, to Beijing. Since the late seventies, Pakistan has been fighting US Proxy war in Afghanistan. Therefore the time has come for Pakistan to decide if it wishes to remain part of the US proxy war or protect its sovereignty.