Standing beside Afghan President Hamid Karzai, US President Barack Obama claimed that the US was responsibly ending the war from a position of strength. President Karzai, whose country and people are at stake, had a different view. He admitted the failure to provide security to his people, putting the blame on international partners and then went on to blame Pakistan for providing sanctuaries to the Taliban in its tribal areas. On this side of the border, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani after getting consent from the recently held All Parties Conference, declared that Pakistan will hold talks with all factions of Taliban including the Haqqani network. The Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, reportedly declared that Pakistan has done whatever was required to be done. Former Nato commander in Afghanistan General McChrystal painted a dismal and pessimist picture of the prevailing situation in Afghanistan. Without declaring defeat, the blame game is on pinning it on Pakistan.
This is the position of strength which President Obama was talking about. A look at the ground situation on both sides of the border will refute this claim. Afghanistan’s Pashtun dominated provinces are under the influence of the Taliban, some being completely controlled by them. Their strategy of attrition has paid dividend and all opposing forces are tired and weary of the war. Their attacks, during the last few years were limited to occasional raids, suicide bombing and planting road side bombs. Initially soft targets were attacked. Now they have gained the courage to attack heavily guarded targets. Insurgencies are going on in almost every province barring a few in the extreme north and north west. Provinces bordering Pakistan are virtually under control of the Taliban. On our side of the border though, the situation has improved a lot as compared to 2007, yet almost every agency has to be reclaimed with repeated operation.
From this position of strength, everyone is desirous of negotiating with the Taliban. Militarily and politically, we are exactly at the position where we should not have been. The Taliban sensed victory the day President Obama made public his troops withdrawal plan. This came as news to Pakistan, but it has now been revealed that much before the announcement was made, behind the scene negotiations were already going on. In a war, the one who reaches out first for truce is the loser and has to agree to the terms of the opponent. Due to the tension between Pakistan and the US, over the last few weeks, a lot has been conceded to the Talibans without fighting.
It is time to concede defeat and salvage whatever we can. An immediate declaration of ceasefire will stop hostilities and may save precious lives getting lost. Talks can then be held on a fast track with real leaders of the Taliban. Pakistan, unlike the US has to bear the after-effects of the war for long. With the Taliban victorious in Afghanistan, it will be a matter of time before the religious right and the extremists try to win Islamabad as well. They may not use the kind of force that we have seen so far. They do not need to. The constitution of Pakistan provides everything required for a theocratic state. Pakistan, through these talks has to ensure that a comprehensive agreement is reached where all foreign militants leave Pakistan and no attempt is made to import the Taliban brand of Islam in Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2011.
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@Sohail: Statistically we are divided into Deobandis, Barelvis, Wahabis, Hanfis, Shias, Ahmadis, Ismailis, Bohras etc etc. And you want to impose Fiqah e Hanfia asuming that it will be acceptaable. You are totally mistaken.
i think the author has intentionally or unintentionally left out the TTP in the whole picture..for smeone like me..TTP is still a big mystery..nd in my humble opinion..it is the biggest issue or hurdle in the way of interior security..US will never ACTUALLY leave afghanistan....taliban have proved to the world they can take care of americans quite well..we on the other hand may survive like this for another decade but not any longer than that..i think we are still living in denial..that the moment of chosing between being a proxy state or and idealogical enemy of the west is knocking on our doors..nd so i await the brave and the courageous smeone from likes of V for Vendetta to take upon this nobel responsibilty..to set the direction. a war for peace is inevitable!
I simply don't agree that we lost the war.In Mumbai 26/11 we were the winner. Imagine what 10 brave soldiers led by Major general Azmal Kasav did to the Indian state, we couldn't do in 4 previous wars. Moral of the story is, invest in jihad, it's less costly and more effective.
Bring True Hanafi Sharia Law and Pakistan will be untouchable! Majority (over 95%) will agree and enjoy their lives in peace. Minorities will be protected more than ever before. And the elite (salman taseer crew) will do a runner! Pakistan Zindabaad! Quaid-e-Azam Zindabaad!
" The constitution of Pakistan provides everything required for a theocratic state. "
That is chilling.
@Abdul Rehman Gilani: Islamic, Welfare and Democratic, all have to be understood in depth. Islamic is what the Talibaan want or perhaps you would like to propagate a different brand of Islam (Sect) , Welfare is a socialist state more like China and Democratic is what USA is. Be very clear what you want. In my opinion state and religion must be kept apart. Europe flourished only after they were able to separate the State and Church.
Pakistan should be made an Islamic welfare democratic state, as envisaged by the Quaid.
No one in their right mind would disagree.
Fact is that the US has failed in Afghanistan.
The suggestion of asking Taliban to leave Pakistan alone is like looking up in a hailstorm and asking the clouds to spare "my little patch". Naive.
As you talk of US withdrawal or defeat in Afghanistan, does it occur to you that Afghanistan has become India's strategic partner. If Taliban kill Pres. Karzai, Pakistan could be facing armies from the East and the West. I am surprised that Pakistan's strategic defeat has not sunk in yet. For Pakistan army to survive, they do not have another option but to rope in their proxies. Haqqanis and Taliban must be stopped just like daily murders stopped all of a sudden in Karachi. A defeated army must surrender to the necessity of survival, sir. No ego, please. Gen. Kayani and Pasha must present themselves to parliamentary committee instead of summoning parliamentarians at the GHQ. This is the new reality. After Dhaka surrender in 1971, India has done it again. Since Pakistan's army must embrace India as a friend now, is there any justification for a huge defense expenditure and a very large army? Thanks.
Even after retirement the Taliban affection is not wading. Perhaps the author will support the Taliban in their constitution claim on PAK in establishing sharia in full force.
As a declared war allies, gloating on US withdrawal is equally painful for Pakistan as it is for Afghanistan.
Support Taliban now and you have no option but to agree to their demand in Islamabad.
Good luck to the free spirited women of Punjab and Sindh.
Mr Khalid Munir,I normally do not say,or agree,or complimentary comments on going plans,war or policy statements,but you come very close to articulating facts on ground very factually.Without varnish you have stated facts as they are on ground.USA,though cought in a pickle,will extricate itself,it is too big to fail,ultimately,14 trillion economy,large land mass,great social and civil structure,military,fairly adequate population but not crushing ones like India and China,makes her the only super power and machine.Unfortunately it is not the same set of factors in Pakistan,any worse for Afghanistan,really does not matter,they never had it good,ever,in fact they have more to gain,if Taliban come back to power in afghanistan,and with 1/2 of Pakistan leaning towards Taliban rule,and the other 1/4 in sympathy,it will be matter of time before all of Pakistan fall,you have to remember,unwittingly the constitution of Pakistan is Islamic Republic,masses do not distinguish real sharia,Islamic sharia or sharia of Taliban verision,by the time Pakistan wake up,it will be in knee deep in extreme form of Taliban rule.This is what USA fear,they will put the fear of God in whosoever rule afghanistan,but the Pakistan of the dream of Jinnah would be big loser,I'm extremly grived that Pakistan has never realised the danger it is in making this unholy Faustian deal with extremist,who more believe in death cult than life.It is not too late for the army and Real patriots of Pakistan to wake from bad dream.Time is approaching,the clock has not struck 12 yet.CASENDRA,ORACLE OF NEW JERSEY.H.M. HARIHAR USA.If Tribune does not allow this,as it is not flatering to Pakistan,I'm not the real loser,the masses are.Good sense prevail.thank you
Your sentence "The constitution of Pakistan provides everything required for a theocratic state", brings shivers down our spine. Unless we get rid of this constitution we are going to have it in our necks. It is just a matter of time.
Seems like a perpetual merry go round, the same thing is said over and over again, just the faces change. While you await the "Taliban victory" what makes you think a bunch of people who have no problems using women and children as suicide bombers are going to respect our constitution? And why shouldnt the foreign militants be expelled right now? Why wait for the band of thugs to win?