Here is another statement from the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the ongoing Heart of Asia conference in Amritsar labeling Pakistan as the source of the Taliban’s sustenance over the years of the ongoing war. My response to a friend who was claiming the innocence of Ghani in the face of an allegedly conniving Pakistani state is shared below. The conversation was informal and thus uses non-academic language. I felt like posting it here because it reflected my understanding and opinion on the consistent barrage of allegations that are thrown at Pakistan.
Me: As if Ghani and the Afghan establishment are the innocent victims of the demonic Pakistani state, and these officials are ones that have never had any kind of relations with the Taliban government during its regime and are doves for peace. Your paragraph and the statement dehumanizes the Pakistani state for something that the Afghanis themselves (whether inadvertently or not) did bring to the subcontinent. The nonsensical political atmosphere of Afghanistan which drew inspiration from the tribal codes of pashtunwali had invited the warring parties to the country, this ‘jihad’ was supported by not only Pakistan, KSA and the US but also by the so called democratic doves sitting in the Afghan parliament right now. These people believed in the same goals as the other parties of the time. Now they act as if they’ve just woken up from a cryo sleep to the realization of how inhumane and scary the Pakistani state is. You can label the Pakistani army as hawkish all you want but realpolitik dictated its support for the Taliban in the 1970s and 80s. Had India been Afghanistan’s neighbor it would’ve done the same. The Afghan state since time immemorial has been a gauntlet of warring factions vying for power by any means necessary. These very people who blame Pakistan for allegedly supporting the instability in Afghanistan forget the mediatory role that Pakistan has always tried to play in the Afghan conflict. Why is Ghani made out to be such an innocent baby face in this paragraph you’ve written? Was he not supported by Pakistan during his election campaign for the creation of a stable government? As soon as he assumed power his sights were set on creating political confusion, rather then initiating steps for stabilizing the security situation of Afghanistan. Why do people forget that when Hamid Karzai was in power his government was involved in the highest levels of corruption in cooperation with the Taliban where they squandered all the aid that was flowing in for them and only focused on filling their own pockets. The Afghan army which was suited with the best weapons and technology would desert as soon as they would realize that they couldn’t fill their pockets anymore and would rejoin the Taliban forces. When Pakistan tried to restart negotiations with the Taliban in July last year, in favor of creating a political settlement for Afghans, they decided to back out. The Afghans refuse to accept the International border that runs between their country and Pakistan, launch frequent artillery attacks across the border and protest at the Pakistani governments attempts at instigating border management systems. Their argument of Pakistan providing safe havens to militant groups is nullified when Pakistan takes the lead in trying to institute border controls which in essence benefit both countries in terms of stopping cross border terrorism and smuggling. This apathy to border management is the real issue that should be discussed. And even if the Pakistani Army has the power to bring the Taliban on the negotiating table then what is wrong with that? Should they turn a blind eye to the reality of the shithole of a place that is located in their north west (aka FATA)? Where tribal elders take pride in killing and flaunting weapons and have no respect for the writ of the Pakistani state? They’ve had to adapt and they did. And Ghani can run his mouth all he wants, people who know the reality of Afghanistan know that he is not a popular leader, only pandering to the bias of the CIA and others who want to punish Pakistan for not conforming to their interpretations of what is the solution to the war. The failed US campaign in Afghanistan, after 14 years of stalemate has refused to accept the very nature of the conflict. The Pakistani state has suffered dearly at the hands of these Taliban, who routinely attack soft targets (schools, hospitals, churches), and the state is gearing up for the 2nd anniversary of the most brutal of their attacks on 16th December, when they attacked a school in Peshawar. To allege that they (the Pakistani’s) would still support these elements is a gross mis-calculation.