A report written by Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at Brookings Institution, states that Pakistani safe havens for the Afghan Taliban remains the most difficult task in NATO’s effort to restore stability in Afghanistan.
Riedel says that eight years ago former U.S. president Barack Obama called him and asked if he would chair an urgent interagency review of American policy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“He had discovered on his first visit to the Pentagon that the war in Afghanistan was much worse than his predecessor had admitted. Pakistan was abetting the Afghan Taliban in the war with NATO forces, and the United States military needed immediate and substantial reinforcements. Worse, al-Qaida was running rampant inside Pakistan, posing an urgent threat to the American homeland. The president announced the results of the interagency study in a speech to the nation in March 2009, just before a NATO summit in France. After 60 days in the White House, during which I was on leave from Brookings, I returned to the Institution. ” Riedel wrote.
The report which was published by Brookings says that Washington’s efforts to encourage the Pakistani military to curtail their assistance to the Haqqani network and the Afghan Taliban have failed despite over $25 billion USD financial cooperation to Pakistan by two U.S. presidents in the past 15 years.
The report illustrates that the longest war in American history is a proxy war with Pakistan, and it has the fastest-growing nuclear weapons arsenal in the world.
Based on the report, there is a need for a new approach to persuade Pakistan to cut off ties with the Taliban and other terrorist groups which are operating in the Pakistani soil including the Afghan Taliban and notorious Lashkar-e-Tayyiba group which was accused of plotting an attack in the Indian city of Mumbai in November 2008.
The report suggests that a review of whether Pakistan should be considered a state sponsor of terrorism—a draconian measure—should not be ruled out if conditions don’t improve.
“Using almost entirely unilateral means, President Obama succeeded in significantly diminishing the al-Qaida threat in Pakistan over the last eight years. The SEAL team that delivered justice to Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, the home of the Pakistani equivalent of West Point, was the dramatic high point of Obama’s war. He specifically ordered that no one in Pakistan be informed of the commandos operation until they were homeward bound out of Pakistan’s air space,” reads the report.
The report concludes that America is safer today for his leadership, but it has a long way to go with Pakistan. It’s critical to get this right—for Pakistan, as both a victim and patron of terrorism, its region, the United States, and beyond.
What Afghan Political Analysts Say About The Report?
“Trump is kind of a person who is always changing. Mostly he thinks about money and trade. Certainly he will focus on economic development in the United States in the next four years rather than focusing on the war against terrorism,” said political analyst Entizar Khadim.
“If we say that Osama Bin Laden was the biggest enemy to the United States, his killing and his presence in Pakistani safe havens were proved not only to the U.S. but to the entire world; however, despite that, no action was taken against Pakistan and ties were not soured,” former governor of Nuristan Jamaluddin Badr said.
Hamid Karzai’s Pakistan Policy:
In 2001, a US-led western coalition military intervention led to the downfall of the Taliban regime, a hardline movement which had the full support of Pakistani intelligence service (ISI). Despite major international efforts, peace and security still remain a dream to the Afghan public who constitute the main victims of the 15-year Taliban insurgency.
However, the government in Kabul under former president Hamid Karzai tried extensively to motivate the Taliban endorse the Afghan Constitution and enter peace dialogue with the government. But the defiant movement never responded positively to Karzai’s calls for peace and instead continued their attacks on certain targets in Afghan cities which is still taking victims from the Afghan people.
As part of his regional efforts, Karzai travelled 20 times to Pakistan to persuade the neighboring country to help in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table. But Karzai’s attempts also failed and the Taliban continued to target the Afghan forces and members of the public.
Later, Karzai’s successor President Ashraf Ghani also tried to reach the Taliban for direct peace negotiation talks. But Ghani’s bid for peace also failed following a number of deadly attacks by the Taliban in Kabul and some other regions across the country.