Though minor in strength and economy, Pakistan is among very important Muslim nations and hence enemies of Islam have destabilized it. Having maintained good relations with Saudi Arabia and Iran, Pakistan has played important roles in Islamic world but, unfortunately, also has been aiding the anti-Islamic nations as well. That is source s and cause of tragedy of Pakistan.
Pakistan played mediatory role between USA and China and brought them together in many ways and today, while USA has destabilized Pakistan, Beijing is seen subsidizing the American economy and capitalism, thereby boosting the imperialist tentacles of all anti-Islamic nations, globally.
Islamabad has not been able to identify or choose its allies. By helping USA and NATO in invading, terrorizing and destabilizing Afghanistan, Pakistan has committed a big sin, willingly or otherwise.
It indeed unfortunate that right from its inception as a new soverign nation in Asia to look after the legitimate concerns of Muslims who hitherto had suffered heavily as a minority in united India under British rule, Pakistan has suffered mainly due to Indian ill-focus seeking make it a weak and destabilized nation. New Delhi has used all techniques to achieve its objective in Pakistan which now stands destabilized and economically weak.
Today Pakistan is being contained not just by India but by both USA and its new strategic partner India which has made efforts to shift its allegiance from Moscow to Washington to retain Jammu Kashmir’s occupational status. Pakistan while the sport Islamabad receives from china is unable to force the Indo-US duo moving about with Asia pivot to stay away from destabilizing Pakistan any further.
It appears, India also achieved to split US-Pakistan relations to some extent. A weak and destabilized Pakistan is the target of US led capitalist-imperialist nations which it has served so long for obtaining mere service charges. With US kicking its major non-NATO ally Pakistan in order to make India happy, Pakistan finds itself increasingly isolated.
Pakistan finds itself in isolation. Possibly Islamabad had never expected its NATO boss insult and abandon Pakistan once its objective of destabilization of Islamic Afghanistan.
Pakistan has never been a strong nation in any respect: in economy, politics technology, territory – not even promotion of Islamic faith as a Muslim nation in South Asia. As for sports and technology Pakistan is a failed state, unable to secure a firm policy for sports and technology except missiles and nukes, thanks to China. Today, Pakistan is big zero in intentional sports arena even in a fake sport called cricket which the Pakistani government promoted as the only “useful” sport for its 100s and 50s making Pakistani batboys the “proud sportsmen”.
In fact, in order to make Pakistan look a big zero even in false sport Cricket, jointly schemed against Pakistani bowlers and got them out of international cricket and Pakistan has to suffer because its American masters ask them to do more on genocides of Muslims in Pakistan and Afghanistan and earn the ”needy” service charges from USA and EU. Pakistan should also know part of money it receives from USA belongs to India which regularly pays huge sums for the continued support its Kashmir claim and for containing Pakistan.
Pathetically, Pakistan is not at all bothered about its weaknesses in every field as it makes its plans only to suit Indian strategic cases. This method caused Pakistan heavily for when India is moving fast in economy and technology, Pakistan is stand still, hoping the USA or China to help and do the thinking as well as for Islamabad. This has been the outcome of a dependent policy Pakistan has pursued so long and deliberate attempt to block non-rich and non-aristocratic families from ruling Pakistan.
Interestingly, all efforts by Pakistan to forge ties with Russia could not take off as both India and USA applied pressure on Moscow not to promote and help stabilize Islamic Pakistan. Russian President Putin was supposed to visit Pakistan on an official agreement but he abruptly cancelled the trip without even specifying the reasons for his harsh action. Obviously, Putin’s behavior belittling Islamabad made New Delhi happy and contented. China put India, seeking big status as being a strategic partner in its place by refusing to let it enter the NSG.
USA is well versed in all tricks of bullying Pakistan to coerce it do exactly what CIA wants. Recently, a former top American diplomat has said the USA should adopt a policy of “total isolation” against Pakistan to send a signal that it faces the prospect of becoming a “second North Korea” if it continues destabilising Afghanistan by supporting the Taliban and Haqqani network.
Such a policy would send a signal to Pakistan that it faces the prospect of becoming a “second North Korea” unless it changes its course on Afghanistan. Khalilzad was the highest ranking Muslim American in the history of the United States. He was the US Ambassador to the United Nations under President George W Bush. He also served as the US ambassador to Afghanistan and headed the country s diplomatic mission in Iraq. “If Pakistan truly changes course, then the US should be willing to be supportive in a significant way. But we have to substantially escalate the cost of Pakistan’s hostile policy in Afghanistan,” he said.
Obviously, USA exploited vulnerable Pakistan for its domestic and foreign needs as its alliance added credence to US lies. Following the Sept-11hoax, Washington easily bullied Islamabad to support the US cause by letting NTO use Pakistani territories for its anti-Islamic terror operations first targeting Islamizing Afghanistan and gradually killing Pakistanis themselves and its military personnel. Pakistan willingly supported all nefarious operations because of India factor.
Over decades of joint operations by USA-Israel on the one hand and USA-Pakistan-Turkey on the other made Pakistan a weak nation depending on foreign aid to sustain its military spending to catch up with fast rising Indian military. Not just a weak nation, but Pakistan is also rendered a slave nation now, unable to decide its requirements as USA refuses aid to Islamabad.
Had Pakistan not joined Indian agenda for invading Jammu Kashmir by annexing parts of Kashmir, perhaps, Pakistan as newly born soverign nation would have freely devised its plans and programs for the better designing of a strong Islamic state!
USA did not let Pakistan to become a strong Islamic nation to advance the Islamic curse along with other Muslim nations, especially Arab nations and Iran and Turkey, for instance. Later, USA made Pakistan a Muslim nation supporting led terror operation as Islam.
Today, Pakistan is a major pauper puppet regime of USA seeking for a comity of puppet nations in Islamic world.
Earlier, as Pakistan was all out supporting the NATO terror operations in Afghanistan, Washington had given Islamabad to understand that whenever, if at all, NATO leaves Afghanistan the USA would make Pakistan the controlling nation of Afghanistan plus all terror goods left behind in Afghanistan after the “war” would belling to Pakistani military. It was just a hard mischief played out on Pakistan to encourage the regime to actively participate in the genocides of Afghans which Pakistani military did in perfection. . .
In order to make things easy, USA has used India to upset Pakistan’s plan for future Afghanistan. “In the aftermath of the US drone attack killing Taliban leader Mullah Mansour, increase the pressure by suspending all assistance to Pakistan — military and civilian — and move towards isolating Pakistan internationally, including not supporting IMF renewal of financial support,” Zalmay Khalilzad, a former top American diplomat in the Bush Administration, said. Khalilzad, who played a key role America’s policy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan and Iraq after 9/11 terror attack, said the US should adopt a policy of “total isolation” against Pakistan.
India fails Pakistan
Right from the day one as a soverign nation Pakistan always has to be on the heels preparing for dealing with any deadly eventuality with India. Then onwards, Islamabad spent all its resources and entire attention on making WMD to take the nuclear challenge from New Delhi very seriously. And Pakistan also became a nuclear power. Like India, Pakistan also refused to sign the NPT after getting nukes arsenals.
Constantly ill-focused by its Hindu neighbor India from which it ceded to form a soverign nation meant for protection of Muslims and promotion of their genuine interests, Pakistan sought to protect its interests by aiding a capitalist-imperialist USA. USA also brought anti-Islamic Israel to be friends with Islamic Pakistan while Israel began selling terror goods to Hindutva India.
And, how far Pakistani military is strong or modern enough to face the new threats from all sources around is not clear as yet. Pakistani regime failed to protect its citizens, protect the interests of Islam because it (Musharraf) attacked the mosques, killing the Imams in order to protect the interests of foreign nations that are deadly anti-Islamic. Pakistan began thinking in US mode and refused to protect the Islamic faith and Muslim interests.
When India, with help from Soviet Russia, blasted it first bomb against all nuclear regulations of UN and IAEA, Pakistan became too scary and worried about its exultance as a weak nation vulnerable to Indian provocations.
The point is Pakistan’s energies were wasted on dealing with challenges of Hindu India as both share parts of neighboring Jammu Kashmir. In order to retain the parts of Jammu Kashmir they occupy in their own ways, both India and Pakistan used the nukes as deterrence.
As India got all sorts of help from Moscow, Pakistan leaned towards the USA for help, but the US help does not come free. As Pakistan moved to get aid cum military assistance from Washington as return favors for helping the anti-Islam8c forces in killing Muslims, Pakistani planning has fallen apart.
Pakistan has taken US help for granted and needs to understand the complexity of post Cold War and relations with Pakistan’s two neighboring states. Pakistan has absolutely failed to maintain robust relations with its all neighbors. Over years of over dependence on US money and terror goods for its existence has brought Pakistan to become a destabilized and confused state.
Surveying all its immediately neighboring countries except China, Pakistan has maintained ties with Nepal and Sri Lanka but failed to sustain good relations with Afghanistan, China, India and Iran. This indicates a failure of Pakistani foreign policy in a region that gave rise to its isolation, which will have serious existential repercussions in the long run.
Pakistan’s obsession with India has strained its western border, affecting its own Pashtun population on its side of the Durand Line, mainly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA. Movement across the Afghan-Pakistani border generates revenue for both Afghanistan and Pakistan. The two countries exchange goods and services worth some 2.7 billion Euros ($3 billion) annually across the Durand Line. Despite the illegal trade and smuggling, both countries benefit a great deal from cross-border movement.
Even though a wrong notion was spread in the media about USA supporting and helping Pakistan, the fact is that it is China that has been helping Pakistan even with nuclear development. Both are not one of the fastest relationships developing in the world.
The idea of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor might work for its eastern border but not for its western border with Afghanistan, whose own dynamics must be recognized. The Durand Line as a border is much less relevant to ordinary citizens than to the state. Poverty, poor infrastructure, healthcare and other important state functions tend to be precarious on both sides, and the weak presence of the state has left locals on both sides to provide for their own needs. Pakistan needs to realize that hostile relations with Afghanistan are unsustainable in the light of its growing regional isolation.
Logic fails while Indian economy is steadily rising; Pakistan is getting weakened day by day. As India’s power in Afghanistan expands, especially its soft power, Pakistan is losing its position of economic and strategic privilege. Since India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power, he has paid two visits to Afghanistan. On his first visit, he inaugurated the new Afghan parliament building that was built with the support of Indian government, while on his second visit on June 4, to the heart of Asia, he inaugurated the $290 million Indian-funded Salma Dam, one of the country’s biggest hydroelectric projects. Pakistan, on the other hand, has been dealing with the awkwardness of either stating its reputation or support for the Haqqani group or the Taliban insurgent leader Mullah Mansour, killed in a drone attack on its soil.
In fact, America’s Asia pivot targeting Russia and China has brought China still closer to Pakistan as India crawls faster toward USA and Israel- the nations that hate Islam and promote fascism and imperialism.
Weak Islamic faith and crisis
In fact, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia gave credence to American claims of Islamic terrorism and USA used both to propagate anti-Islamic themes, including Islamophobia. But o when it achieved the goal of killing millions of Muslims in what looks like a permanent war on Islam and making Islam look like terror religion, USA dropped Pakistan and adopted India as a strategic partner.
Pakistan has absolutely failed to maintain robust relations with its all neighbors. Surveying all its immediately neighboring countries except China, Pakistan has failed to sustain good relations with Afghanistan, China, India and Iran. This indicates a failure of Pakistani foreign policy in a region that gave rise to its isolation, which will have serious existential repercussions in the long run.
USA and its western allies have isolated Pakistan and Pakistani puppet regime is at fault for its facing isolation now. Pakistan is Islamic only in name sake and the fervor it had when the Islamic nation came into being in 1947 is no more in the vogue. US led war on terror or Islam has made Pakistan look like an anti-Islamic nation, helping all anti-Islamic nations on payment basis. Pakistan does not openly help India because of the Kashmir issue.
The post-9/11 involvement of the international community in Afghanistan and its commitment to quelling the Taliban-led insurgency have, however, left Pakistan regionally and internationally isolated, despite its involvement as a key ally in the War on Terror.
Pakistan readily agreed to US demand for Pakistani lands for the NATO troops to pass through to attack Afghanistan. Possibly Pakistan regime thought if it did not agree that would give opportunity to India on a platter and USA and India would jointly attack Pakistan on the lie that Osama has sneaked into Pakistani tribal areas.
Any way USA did attack Pakistan as well after the fall of Afghanistan even while Pakistan was helping the NATO, killing many civilians and military personnel.
Regionally, the leaders of Iran, India and Afghanistan have signed a historic deal to develop the strategic port of Chabahar in Iran, and agreed on a three-nation pact to build a transport-and-trade corridor through Afghanistan, which could not only help strengthen regional connectivity by boosting economic growth in the region, but by the same token reduce the time and cost of doing business with both Central Asia and Europe. Pakistan’s suspicion of India threatens to entrench relations of conflict and competition at the expense of cooperation and stability with all its neighbors. The knee-jerk reaction of Pakistan’s foreign policy to the Chabahar port was to close down the Torkham border crossing with Afghanistan and enforce visa restrictions for both sides of the Durand Line, leaving those on both sides in the lurch.
Many speculate that the tightening security at the Torkham border is a political move rather than a curb on militant activities
Sure of getting the left over arms of NATO forces in Afghanistan as well as the nation of Afghans for control after the NATO leaves it, Pakistan has failed to utilize the shared cultural, linguistic, economic and ethnic realities of its western borders, while India has moved in to execute huge economic development, both real and symbolic, of the Afghan state. Despite having a Pashtun president in power in Afghanistan, and the Pakistani establishment’s claim of having forged closer ties with Afghanistan’s Pashtun population, ties could not move beyond the historic burden of Pakistan’s deep involvement in Afghanistan.
India’s containment mechanism
The post-9/11 involvement of the international community in Afghanistan and its commitment to quelling the Taliban-led insurgency have, however, left Pakistan regionally and internationally isolated, despite its involvement as a key ally in the War on Terror.
Following the Kargil War in 1999 with India, Pakistan faced international isolation, and national anxieties shifted to its western border, in order to stave off the very real risk of nuclear escalation with India and continue with its proxy war in Afghanistan. Pakistani foreign-policy makers and mostly military elites thought that acquiring the upper hand in Afghanistan and containing the warring tribesmen next door would be a much easier task.
India has been exploiting the isolationist and weakened position of Pakistan to its own advantage.
Regionally, the leaders of Iran, India and Afghanistan have signed a historic deal to develop the strategic port of Chabahar in Iran, and agreed on a three-nation pact to build a transport-and-trade corridor through Afghanistan, which could not only help strengthen regional connectivity by boosting economic growth in the region, but by the same token reduce the time and cost of doing business with both Central Asia and Europe.
Pakistan’s suspicion of India threatens to entrench relations of conflict and competition at the expense of cooperation and stability with all its neighbors. The knee-jerk reaction of Pakistan’s foreign policy to the Chabahar port was to close down the Torkham border crossing with Afghanistan and enforce visa restrictions for both sides of the Durand Line, leaving those on both sides in the lurch.
The anti-Islamic and anti-Pakistan spirit that Indians and their teams display in tournaments is missing among Pakistani team and players. One gets the impression they don’t want India is defeated and they have to help India save its bi brotherly prestige as the deadly faces of a defeated Indian team would be horrible to watch. Or, maybe Pakistanis are really weak. Not very sure
International relations are governed by two basic facts, rather plain truths: there is no free lunch and there are no permanent enemies and friendships in international politics. USA helped Pakistan for its own causes in South Asia and Mideast
Depending too much first on USA and now on China for their economic assistance and defending itself from possible Indian maneuvering and attacks, Pakistan does not seem to have any clear cut polices of their own but only follows what the USA and Saudi dictates, supported USA on its own to keep India out of US reach, but the US ally Saudi role in pressuring Islamabad to make Pakistan a safe place for the NATO terror gangs with its target on Islam and Muslims, their resources.
Pakistani policymakers regard the instability of the western border and its Pashtun population’s sacrifices rendered easier to deal with and placate than any disturbance on its eastern border of Punjab, in the context of Pakistan-India relations and engagement with Afghanistan.
Foreign-policy makers interpret the shift in border hostilities from east to west as being in the broader national interest of Pakistan, and they consider tragedies like the Peshawar Army Public School attack, where 140 children were mercilessly killed, or the young lives lost at Bacha Khan University, as collateral damage in the pursuit of Pakistan’s core national interests and territory, particularly Punjab.
Because of USA, Pakistan has failed to utilize the shared cultural, linguistic, economic and ethnic realities of its western borders, while India has moved in to execute huge economic development, both real and symbolic, of the Afghan state. Despite having a Pashtun president in power in Afghanistan, and the Pakistani establishment’s claim of having forged closer ties with Afghanistan’s Pashtun population, ties could not move beyond the historic burden of Pakistan’s deep involvement in Afghanistan.
USA knows too well that there are potential risks in isolating Pakistan, with continuing the current course in Afghanistan and Pakistan and therefore has called for having a contingency plan to deal with the nuclear scenario risks.
Indians say the role that Pakistan has played is that of a double game. It has signaled that it wants to be helpful to the USA in fighting terrorism and stabilizing Afghanistan. But in reality, it has been energetically supporting the Taliban and the Haqqani network to achieve the very opposite. “That has been the essence of the Pakistan policy on Afghanistan,” they said.
A sovereign state’s foreign policy changes with the times, and according to its domestic needs and external changes in global politics. Nations have national interests, and there are no permanent enemies and friendships in international politics. Neighboring states can be a boon or a bane, depending on the ability to recognize one’s long-term interests of sustainable peace on its borders.
Pakistan currently has strained and difficult relations with all its neighbors except China which is helping with military and technological briefs.
While India has moved beyond the Cold war mindset, seeking profitable links with various countries of the ideological divide, Pakistan has been unable to define its foreign policy and national interests beyond a Cold War paradigm. An India-centric foreign policy, focusing on Kashmir as being a part of the country, has stalled Pakistan’s natural foreign-policy evolution and tainted its worldview of international politics. However, even though Pakistan is eager to make fronds with Russia, USA and India do not let Moscow pursue it sown foreign policy.
Even while Pakistan would try to formulate its foreign policy at macro and micro levels, it would still expect change of mind in Washington for easy money. That is the problem which Islamabad must confront and over come.
Time is overdue for Pakistani government to search for alternatives in politics, economics, foreign policy and international relations. It is quite likely Pakistan incapable of changes, and so it may not change at all. But for other Muslim countries seeking “ties” with enemies of Islam like USA, Israel and India have a fundamental lesson to learn from Pakistan’s bitter experience. .
Panjshir – the last stronghold of democracy in Afghanistan
The Taliban’s rapid advance in Afghanistan has briefly stalled only in the face of strong resistance mounted by the people of the country’s recalcitrant mountainous province of Panjshir. Whoever controls the region’s passes controls the routes leading to China and Tajikistan, but to seize this mountain valley and, most importantly, to keep it permanently under control has always been a problem for all invaders. Eager to let the international community see for the first time in 40 years a united Afghanistan as a sign of their final victory, the radical Islamists were prepared to make any sacrifices, including filling the approaches to the Panjshir Valley up with dead bodies. Moreover, the Taliban’s longtime ally Pakistan, which, regardless of its status of an ally of the United States, has provided them with direct military support. In fact, Islamabad admitted its less than successful role when it proposed signing a truce to find and take out the bodies of its special Ops forces who had died during the attack on the valley. However, drones flown by Pakistani operators, professional commandos (possibly once trained by the Americans), air support and other pleasant gifts from the allies eventually bore fruit letting the Taliban be photographed in front of the mausoleum of Ahmad Shah Massoud Sr., the famous “Lion of Panjshir,” who controlled the valley from 1996 to 2001. The Islamists also took control of the province’s central city of Bazarak.
Having deprived the province much of its Internet access, the radicals, who control most of the Afghan territory, found it easier to wage an information war. Their claims of victories were now more difficult to contest, even though information about their retreat did reach the outside world. Reflective of the heavy losses suffered for the first time by the Taliban and their allies – the Haqqani Network and other remnants of al-Qaeda, as well as by the regular Pakistani army is the brief truce arranged by Islamabad. Looks like the mountain passes leading to Panjshir were literally filled up with corpses…
As for Massoud Jr., the young lion of Panjshir, and his supporters, they retreated to the mountains. In fact, they had nowhere to fall back to. The problem of Afghanistan is its ethnic diversity. Thus, the country is home to 23 percent of ethnic Tajiks, most of whom live in the Panjshir Valley. However, the Taliban rely mainly on the Pashtuns, who account for over 50 percent of the country’s population. As for the new masters of Afghanistan, they are ready to carry out ethnic cleansings and even commit outright genocide in order to bring the valley into submission. To make this happen they are going to resettle there their fellow Pashtun tribesmen. Local men aged between 12 and 50 are already being taken away and, according to the National Resistance Front, no one has seen them again. However, due to the information blockade, the Taliban will not hesitate to refute such facts. One thing is clear: Massoud’s Tajik fighters and the government troops that joined them are fighting for their lives, and there will be no honorable surrender!
The main question now is whether the young lion of Panjshir will receive the same support as his father once did, or will find himself without ammunition and food. After all, the Taliban leaders have reached certain agreements with the United States. Suffice it to mention the numerous remarks made, among others, by President Biden himself about the Taliban now being different from what they were 20 years ago.
But no, the Taliban`s remain the same – they have only hired new PR people. Meanwhile, hating to admit their defeat, Brussels and Washington will have to engage in a dialogue with those who are responsible for the tragedy of September 11, 2001, and for the numerous terrorist attacks in Europe. The Taliban are pretending to make minor cosmetic concessions. Minor indeed, since they are still depriving women of the opportunity to work and study, destroying higher and secondary education and brutally clamping down on people who simply do not want to live according to religious norms.
The United States is actually helping the “new-look” Taliban. Their potential opponents, including the famous Marshal Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek, left the country under various guarantees, and Washington is trying to keep them from any further participation in the conflict. Democratic politicians naively believe that by creating an Islamic state and ending the protracted civil war in Afghanistan the Taliban will ensure stability in the region and will not move any further. Uzbekistan and Tajikistan do not think so and are strengthening their borders and preparing to protect their Afghan compatriots, because they know full well that the Taliban`s are not a national political party; they are a radical Islamist ideology.
It knows no borders and spreads like a cancerous tumor, destroying all pockets of Western culture. It can only be stopped by force. However, the two decades of US military presence in Afghanistan showed that Washington, which quickly took control of the country in 2001, simply had no strategy to keep it. The Afghans were given nothing that would appear to them more attractive than the ideas of radical Islam. As a result, the few Afghans who embrace European values are fleeing the country, and those who, like Massoud Jr., decided to fight for their freedom, now risk being left to face their enemy all by themselves.
Misjudgements in India’s Afghan policy
India’s Afghan policy has always been obsessed with the desire to deny Pakistan the “strategic depth” that Pakistan, according to India’s perception, yearns. If India had a pragmatic policy, it would not have found itself whimpering and whining like a rueful baby over spilt milk.
India supported the invasion of Afghanistan by both the former Soviet Union and the USA, both losers. President Trump mocked Modi for having built a library for the Afghan people. Trump expected India to contribute foot soldiers, and by corollary, body packs to the Afghan crisis. India played all the tricks up its sleeves to convince the USA to make India a party to the US-Taliban talks. But the USA ditched not only Modi but also Ashraf Ghani to sign the Doha peace deal with the Taliban.
India’s external affairs minister still calls the Taliban government “a dispensation”. Interestingly, the USA has reluctantly accepted that the Taliban government is a de facto government.
The United Nations’ Development Programme has portrayed a bleak situation in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is faced with multifarious challenges. These include prolonged drought and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, upheaval caused by the current political transition: frozen foreign reserves, and rising poverty.
About 47 per cent of its people live below the dollar-a-day poverty line. If the poverty line is pushed to $2 a day, 90 per cent of Afghans would be poor. About 55 per cent of Afghans are illiterate.
Ninety seven percent of the population is at risk of sinking below the poverty line, As such, Afghanistan teeters on the brink of universal poverty. Half of the population is already in need of humanitarian support. The UNDP has proposed to access the most vulnerable nine million people by focusing on essential services, local livelihoods, basic income and small infrastructure.
Currently, the gross national product of Afghanistan is around $190 billion, just a little more than the $160 billion economy of Dhaka city. The country’s legal exports of goods and services every year account for $1 billion. It imports$6 billion worth of goods and services every year.
About 80 per cent of world production of opium comes from Afghanistan. Every year, Afghanistan produces nearly 10,000 tons of opium and the revenue generated from it amounts to $7 billion approximately. About 87 per cent of the income of opium producing farmers comes exclusively from this single product. The illicit opium export by Afghanistan is worth $2 billion every year. The role of opium is significant.
About 80 per cent of public expenditure in this country is funded by grants. Since 2002, the World Bank has provided Afghanistan with a total of $5.3 billion as development and emergency relief assistance. The IMF earmarked for Afghanistan $400 million in Special Drawing Rights (SDR) for combating the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
The United States has frozen about $10 billion worth of Afghan assets held at various banks in Afghanistan. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has withdrawn the $400 million worth of SDRs allocated earlier to Afghanistan for addressing the Covid-19 crisis. The World Bank has not said anything as of yet, but it may also put restrictions on its funding to Afghanistan.
India’s lip service to Afghanistan
India provided around $3 billion in aid to fallen U.S.-backed Afghan government. It trained the Afghan army and police. But now it is not willing to pay or pledge a penny to the Taliban government. Look at the following Times of India report:
“India did not pledge any money to the Taliban ruled Afghanistan probably for the first time in 20 years. That it has not done so as Jaishanker declared … (At UN, India offers support to Afghanistan but does not pledge money. The Times of India September 14, 2021).–The Hindu, September 11, 2021
India’s tirade against Afghanistan
Indian policymakers and experts say they see no guarantees that Afghanistan won’t become a haven for militants. “Afghanistan may be poised to become a bottomless hole for all shades of radical, extremist and jihadi outfits somewhat similar to Iraq and Syria, only closer to India,” said Gautam Mukhopadhaya, who was India’s ambassador in Kabul between 2010 to 2013. He added that the Taliban victory could have an “inspirational effect” not only for Kashmir’s rebels but wherever religiously-driven groups operate in the broader region… Lt. Gen Deependra Singh Hooda, former military commander for northern India between 2014-2016, said militant groups based across the border in Pakistan would “certainly try and push men” into Kashmir, following the Taliban victory in Afghanistan (With Taliban’s rise, India sees renewed threat in Kashmir, Star Tribune September 14, 2021). “Meanwhile, Rajnath Singh conveyed to Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton that the rise of the Taliban raises serious security concerns for India and the region. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appealed for an injection of cash into Afghanistan to avoid an economic meltdown that would spark a “catastrophic” situation for the Afghan people and be a “gift for terrorist groups.”). Afghan economic meltdown would be ‘gift for terrorists,’ says U.N. chief” (The Hindu, September 11, 2021)
India’s former envoy to Kabul, Ambassador Gautam Mukhopadhyay is skeptical of the conciliatory statements by the taliban government. He advises: “We should welcome recent statements by Stanekzai and Anas Haqqani that suggest some independence from the ISI. But we should also ask some hard questions and judge them by their actions and words, and not let down our guard, both with regard to our multiple security concerns such as whether they can protect us from the Ias and ISI, sever ties with other terror groups, especially those supported by the ISI against India, deny Pakistan strategic depth, and preserve and build on our historic P2P and trade ties; and a genuinely inclusive govt in Afghanistan that accommodates the majority of Afghans who want the rights and freedoms enshrined in the 2004 Afghan Constitution or at least acceptable to the Afghan people.” (Taliban move to form govt, Naya Afghanistan brings new challenge for India, September 2, 2021).
India wants a “central role’ to be given to the UN in Afghanistan. India’s mumbo jumbo implies that Afghanistan should be made a UN protectorate. Indian media is never tired of calling the Afghan government a bunch of terrorists. They have even launched video games about it.
India needs to rethink how it can mend fences with Afghanistan that it regards a hothouse of terrorists.
Afghanistan: Hazaras in danger of extinction
As reported on August 30, 2021, Taliban shot dead 14 people belonging to the Hazara community in Khadir District of Afghanistan’s Daykundi Province. Among those killed are 12 soldiers, who reportedly surrendered, and two civilians.
Earlier in between July 4-5, Taliban tortured and killed nine men of the Hazara community and looted their homes in Mundarakht village of Malistan District in Ghazni province. Reportedly, six Hazara men were shot while three of them were tortured to death. The entire episode was part of a ‘door-to-door’ killing operation as orchestrated by Taliban.
On May 8, 2021, explosions outside Syed Al-Shahda school for girls in Dasht-e-Barchi neighbourhood of Kabul, killed at least 68 people and wounded over 165. The majority of victims are girls attending school. The attack targeted Afghanistan’s ethnic Hazaras who live in the Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood.
The Taliban are yet to spell out finer details of how they will impose the Sharia law in Afghanistan. Interestingly, on August 17, Taliban ‘spokesman’ Zabihullah Mujahid said that Afghanistan’s new government would be “inclusive.” On the same day, Taliban officials visited a Hazara neighborhood and attended a Shiite mourning ceremony for the death of Hussein ibn Ali, the third imam of Shiites and the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson. But, on August 18, 2021, sadly, after ‘coming to power’, the Taliban forces destroyed the statue of prominent Hazara leader Abdul Ali Mazari in Bamiyan. Mazari was tortured and killed by the previous Taliban regime in 1995.
Comprising roughly 10-20 percent of Afghanistan’s 38 million population, Hazaras speak a dialect of Dari (Farsi dialect) called Hazaragi and the vast majority follow the Shia sect (Twelver Imami) of Islam. A significant number are also followers of the Ismaili sect. Hazaras have long been persecuted for their largely Shia faith in a country racked by deep ethnic divisions. Their distinct features make them easy prey for Sunni hardliners, both Taliban and the Islamic State, (IS) that consider them “infidels”. The Hazaras are also accused of being too closely allied to Shia Iran, and tens of thousands have moved over the years as economic migrants to work mostly menial jobs.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan: UNAMA’s “Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict Midyear Update: 1 January to 30 June 2021”, suggests that in total, 20 incidents targeting Shia/Hazara, resulted in 500 civilian casualties (143 killed and 357 injured). The report also states:
…a resurgence of deliberate sectarian motivated attacks against the Shi’a Muslim religious minority, most of whom also belong to the Hazara ethnic minority, nearly all claimed by ISIL-KP. These included a string of non-suicide IED attacks and shootings, including at least eight IEDs in May-June alone that targeted buses or similar vehicles carrying members of the Hazara community…
Reportedly, a large number of Hazaras live in Hazarajat (or Hazarestan),’ land of the Hazara’, which is situated in the rugged central mountainous core of Afghanistan, in the Bamiyan province and in cities such as Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif. With others living in the Badakhshan province. Many Hazaras settled in western Turkestan, in Jowzjan and Badghis provinces. Ismaili Hazaras, a smaller religiously differentiated group of Hazaras, live in the Hindu Kush Mountain region.
Hazaras in Afghanistan have faced decades of abuse and state-sponsored discrimination, most recently under the Taliban regime between 1996-2001. Hazaras have been singled out for killings, beheadings, suicide bomb attacks, and kidnappings. They have been targeted at weddings, schools, mosques, sports clubs, and even at births.
As reported on September 1, the killing of Hazaras, are a tiny fraction of the total death toll inflicted by the Taliban to date, as the group had cut mobile phone service in many of the recently captured areas, efficiently controlling which photographs and videos are then shared from these regions. Habiba Sarabi, a Hazara political leader, told she had proof of more atrocities but could not share the details, as it might endanger surviving eyewitnesses. Sarabi was the first female Governor of Afghanistan (in Bamiyan Province) and one of four women representing Afghanistan in the negotiations with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar. Unfortunately, soon after the interview, Sarabi sent a link to a short, grainy video, which showed two Taliban militants. Speaking into the camera, one of them said they are waiting for permission from their leaders to “eliminate” all Hazaras living in Afghanistan.
More worryingly, over a period of time, out of the dire necessity of self defence and mistrust over government and administration, many Hazaras have either formed or joined armed militias to counter radical forces operating within Afghanistan. One of the examples is that of Zulfiqar Omid, a former lawmaker turned resistance leader. He has reportedly established an armed Hazara resistance in Central Afghanistan, comprising some 800 regular fighters and 5,000 volunteers. Abdul Khani Alipur, is another such militia leader from Maidan Wardak province. As reported on July 13, 2021, his militia boasted of patrolling roads and launching brazen raids on Taliban areas to abduct the relatives of militants, later used as bargaining chips to release Hazara hostages. Such developments would only bring more bloodshed in Afghanistan.
Further, the Hazaras have also taken refuge in Pakistan since many decades, due to violence meted against them. As reported on September 1, 2021, up to 6,000 refugees, among them many Hazaras, have already made their way to Quetta, Balochistan in Pakistan, a city with a sizeable Hazara community. But unfortunately, Pakistan also has a history of frequent attacks on the minority Hazara community, due to the exact same reasons of their different religious and ethnic identities, as in the case of Afghanistan. According to the 2019 report of Pakistan’s National Commission for Human Rights, about 509 Hazaras were killed since the year 2013. Moreover, according to partial data collated by South Asia Terrorism Portal, since 2001, 386 Hazaras have been killed, 480 injured in 80 incidents in Pakistan. Therefore, the danger of death and persecution doesn’t end when these people take refuge in Pakistan.
The Hazaras are victim of a double-edged sword of religious and ethnic differences, causing their death in Afghanistan. The Taliban ‘takeover’ of the political structure of the country can only ensure one thing vis-à-vis the Hazara population- their absolute annihilation. They will either die or flee the country in whatsoever means. The practice of ‘othering’, as preached by the militant Islamist groups, be it a religious minority, or a woman, or non-Pashtun person, would cause harm to the Hazara community. Along with the Taliban, other terror groups of IS, Al Qaeda and their various affiliates are definitely going to have their own game plan for Afghanistan, of which ‘persecution of Hazaras’ be an important constituent.
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