The US demand for Military Bases around Afghanistan is illogical

The US is looking for military bases around Afghanistan and has approached few countries. It is worth mentioning that Afghanistan has borders with Pakistan, China, Iran, and Central Asian states. China and Iran are two countries in which the US is in confrontation and may never ask them for military bases, Central Asian states were approached but American could not succeed. Even, the US has approached Turkey and few countries in the middle east but failed to convince them.

Pakistan a long-time close ally with the US, especially during the cold war, has facilitated their military bases. During the USSR invasion of Afghanistan, Pakistan was a front-line state in the war against the former USSR in Afghanistan. Pakistan was given the non-NATO close ally in the American war on terror.  But each time when the US won the war, betrayed Pakistan. Pakistan was always punished for its sincere friendship with strict sanctions. Either Pressler amendments or Kerry Loggar Bill, or undeclared sanctions, but Pakistan was victimized every time.

Of course. The US has provided meager financial assistance, which was given to few blue-eyed persons in the steering seats in Pakistan. Only a few selected people were beneficiaries of US aid, the people of Pakistan or as a country, the impact of American aid was never trickled down. The aid was designed to bribe a few important people or decision-makers who matter. The aid was never meant to help the nation. Of course, the corruption culture induced by Americans was promoted and few persons or families in the ruling elite was benefitted. We must also blame the individuals who accepted the bribes under cover of US aid and compromised national interests.

Pakistan was always paying a heavy cost for helping America. Like during the cold war, helping America resulted in annoying Russia, and Pakistan lost half of the country East Pakistan, today known as Bangladesh, in 1971. The Afghan war was an American war with the former USSR, but Pakistan was used as a front-line state and Pakistan suffered the largest casualties estimated at 80,000 precious human lives, which are much more than any other country alone. Aerica lost a few thousand casualties, all of its allies collectively suffered only a couple of thousands of casualties, but Pakistani blood was cheap and was sacrificed. Pakistan suffered an economic loss estimated at around US Dollars 250 billion. In addition to it, the social impact was adverse. Intolerance, extremism, terrorism was promoted in Pakistan by design to destabilize the country. Drug culture and gun culture were an additional gift of the Afghan war. Pakistan once considered a booming economy in Asia during the 1960s and 1970s, was ruined and pushed backward. Pakistan knew the most attractive destination for tourists as a friendly, tolerant, hospitality, rich culture, safety, stability, and comfort, was turned into a terrorist state, unsafe, and prohibited country by the US travel advisory.

People of Pakistan can not be betrayed forever, and have learned a bitter lesson from the past and have decided to stay away from any war or confrontation and will be never a party in any war or conflict. Pakistan will strictly remain limited to only peace, stability, and developments. It is the decision of Pakistan, supported by 220 million brave Pakistanis.

Pakistan was approached by America to bring Taliba to the negotiating table, and Pakistan did it very well. Pakistan was tasked a limited role, and Pakistan was restricted only to that. Pakistan was not part of the Doha negotiations and it was direct negotiations between the Taliban and America. Pakistan remained outside the course of negotiation. However, as a result of several rounds of talk, a Peace agreement between the US and Taliba was reached in February 2020, under which the US announced the withdrawal of troops. Pakistan and all its neighbors and the international community welcomed the Afghan Peace deal. The whole world was looking forward to the implementation of the deal. Pakistan’s role was admired by President Trump and got international recognition to achieve a Peace deal.

It is worth mentioning that, Afghanistan is a land-locked country and accessible from its neighboring countries only. Through Pakistan was the most convenient route to reach Afghanistan. Pakistan has been providing land routes and air routes for American and its allies o reach Afghanistan. Even today, Pakistan is the only country providing land and air access for food supplies and withdrawal of troops. Pakistan ensures the safe and peaceful withdrawal of American troops. Pakistan does not want America to lose face and assisting the withdrawal smoothly.

However, providing military bases to attack Afghanistan, is against the basic principles of Pakistan and also violations of the UN Charter. Pakistan can not be a partner with any country in any war or conflict. Pakistan promotes peace, harmony, and developments only. American demand for military bases is illogical.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his article published in the Washington Post, highlighted different aspects of this policy candidly and strict adherence to the policy would, hopefully, bring positive results in the long run.

Despite repeated pronouncements by all concerned that Pakistan would not grant permission for the establishment of the US military bases in the country following the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, there are indications that the US was keen to have one on the pretext of monitoring activities of the terrorists and extremists both in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In this backdrop, the Prime Minister categorically stated that Pakistan was ready to be a partner for peace in Afghanistan with the United States — but as US troops withdraw, the country will avoid risking further conflict.

He pointed out that in the past, Pakistan made a mistake by choosing between warring Afghan parties, but it has learned from that experience.

It has no favorites and will work with any government that enjoys the confidence of the Afghan people as history proves that Afghanistan can never be controlled from the outside.

Keeping in view the fallout of the Afghan situation on their national interests, different countries of the region and beyond supported their favorites as has also been revealed in the latest reports that India funded, trained, and armed the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan.

But events in Afghanistan have proved that the policy of supporting favorites did not succeed and there is now a near consensus on the sharing of power by all segments of Afghan society.

Most of the regional and global powers, except India, are contributing their share for the realization of this cherished objective and the future of Afghanistan hinges on the outcome of these efforts.

Pakistan has demonstrated its sincerity for peace in Afghanistan and a just political settlement by announcing that it has no favorites and would work with any Government that emerges as a result of intra-Afghan dialogue.

As for military bases, the Prime Minister has exploded the rationale being offered by the United States for the purpose by reminding Washington that if it couldn’t win the war from inside Afghanistan after 20 years, how America would do it from bases in our country.

He also legitimately warned that if Pakistan were to agree to host US bases, from which to bomb Afghanistan and an Afghan civil war ensued, Pakistan would be targeted for revenge by terrorists again.

Because of what the Prime Minister has stated in black and white, the world community should focus on spoilers of peace efforts and not on those whose peace credentials are beyond any doubt.

It is worth mentioning that as long as Pakistan was a trusted and close ally, Pakistan looked after American interests in the whole region and ensured that the US achieved all its strategic goals in this part of the world. The American establishment knows it very well and has been acknowledging it from time to time. Pentagon understands the strategic importance of Pakistan and the real potential of Pakistan. The shifting of American priorities from Pakistan to India was a political transformation and proved wrong already.

It appealed to the international community to stand us and support Pakistan’s stance and play their due role in bringing peace and stability in this part of the world. All peace-loving nations, countries, and individuals must play their positive role and transform the whole world into a better place to live for humankind.

Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan
Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan
Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan.