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Karzai’s Outburst

06 June, 2006

By Prof. Khalid Mahmud


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Hamid Karzai has a reason to be jittery. He is finding it hard to establish a semblance of peace in the country he is supposed to govern. But his misdirected aggression against Pakistan had no justification. He cannot blame others for his own failures, or as the foreign office in Islamabad rightly pointed out, Hamid Karzai himself should be held responsible for lawlessness and disorder in Afghanistan. He cannot acquit himself by shifting the blame on Pakistan.

Pakistan has always been a convenient whipping boy for rulers in Kabul. But then much water has flowed down river Kabul since the heyday is ‘favorites’ being sponsored from across to border to contend for power in Kabul. The ‘godfather’ has arrived on the scene of action to decide who would be incharge in Kabul. And Karzai being the handpicked nominee of the American-led coalition, all the necessary measures have been duly taken to install him in the Afghan capital as the lawful Afghan ruler. The warlords who are virtually autonomous in their fiefdoms may still have foreign connections, but no one other than the reigning superpower has the authority to upset the system. The question of protégés of one or the other external power being in the run for control in Kabul does not arise under the circumstances, since deviation from the rules of the game will incur the wrath of the US-led coalition.

Karzai charge that Pakistan was assisting the Taliban to regroup does not make sense. He is no longer content with alleging that Pakistan was not doing enough to contain the Taliban fugitives in the Tribal Areas who thus have the facility to undertake militant operations across the border. Karzai has now accused Islamabad of having a hand in Taliban-led armed resistance in Afghanistan. In precise terms, Karzai has blamed Pakistan for providing shelter and training to Taliban fighters, or in other words has held Islamabad responsible for sponsoring resistance against the regime in Kabul. Although Karzai did not say it in so many words what his statement implied was that Islamabad was double-crossing the Americans.

In case Pakistan has been trying to take the Americans for a ride, as Karzai suggested, and following a strategy of ‘hunting with the hounds and running with the hare, the Americans should have been the first to detect the ‘double dealing’ and condemn Pakistan for what would have been called ‘treachery’. But the Americans have been until recently showering praises on Pakistan for the wonderful job it did in advancing the cause of ‘war against terror’. Karzai has either been utterly naives or flabbergasted by Islamabad’s skill to do two conflicting things at the same time, fighting the Taliban, as the Americans believed it, and assisting the Taliban to regroup for action, as Karzai said. Hamid Karzai has indeed make a fool of himself by accusing Islamabad of a wrongdoing which the whole world testify as ridiculous.

Why should Islamabad try to destablise the Kabul regime when its national interest calls for peace and stability on its western frontier, and above all choose a conduit for fomenting strife in the neighboring country which has created more trouble back home than any other recent phenomenon. It is known to all and sundry that law and order situation in the tribal areas has taken an ugly turn because of the pro-Taliban tribesmen’s refusal to abandon the ‘soldiers of Allah’ who have following the fall of regime in Afghanistan converged on the area and have been involved in fighting running battles with Pakistani security forces. It sounds ridiculous but what Karzai seems to suggest is that Pakistan is on the one hand engaged in fighting pro-Taliban forces, local as well as foreign, in the federally administered tribal areas, and on the other hand assisting these elements to carryout ‘acts of terrorism’ across the border in Afghanistan.

Accusations of interference, destabilization and subversion etc. are not something which Islamabad has not heard before. On the contrary the Northern Alliance faction of the Kabul regime has never stopped its anti-Pakistan tirade even after joining the Karzai-led coalition and prima facie willing to do business with Islamabad at the government level. Hamid Karzai has of late himself joined the chorus to the utter surprise of some ‘Kabul watchers’ in Pakistan who had given him a clean chit for honorable intentions and were urging Islamabad not to equate him with compulsive ‘Pakistan bashers’. What is the matter with Karzai calls for an incisive analysis. Nevertheless his newest charge-sheet against Islamabad has a startling dimension – the tone and tenure of his tirade could not have been more aggressive.

Acts of terrorism can also reach Pakistan, Karzai held out an obvious threat of retaliation. Needless to say Islamabad has already been complaining of funds and arms being channeled to subversive elements in Balochistan from across the Afghan border. But official quarters in Islamabad have been quite discreet in the war of words against Kabul, as the regime has never been blamed for involvement in sponsorship of subversion in Pakistan. And Islamabad has not even hinted at the possibility of a tit-for-tat vendetta. Karzai must realize that, he being as offensive to Pakistan as he has been in his latest utterance, could be asking for trouble. Given his limitations playing the bully is not Karzai’s cup of tea, since Pakistan can do more harm to his ‘captive’ regime than he can do to Pakistan. Karzai may have been harboring wrong notion about his leverage and bargaining counter because of American patronage and the presence of NATO troops in Afghanistan, but then as the old saying, ‘if wishes were horses beggars would ride them’.

Whatever are the Indian designs in Afghanistan, their substantial presence there has been a source of strength to the ‘anti-Pakistan lobby’. Observers in Pakistan have been alleging that, apart from scores of engineers, technocrats, and technicians, engaged in the running of one or the other development project, the tentacles of Indian support-base are being spread in different parts of Afghanistan via diplomatic missions which are intriguingly large in number and engaged in activities beyond their diplomatic mandate. These missions, critics in Pakistan suspect, are just covers for RAW operations aimed at subversion in Pakistan’s troubled areas. Needless to say, propaganda to discredit Pakistan constitutes an essential part of RAW’s agenda. Some undercover RAW agents must have been handy for advice to the bigwigs in Kabul, including Karzai, on policy matters, and their stamp on pronouncements by the regime could be detected.

Opinions differ on whether Karzai’s anti-Pakistan tirade was meant to tell the Americans that he was doing his job well, but Pakistan was not letting him run the show, or it was a ploy, endorsed by the American commanders and their surrogates, to pressure Islamabad into falling in line with their prescription of combating the Taliban resistance. Ironically, a British commander almost said the same thing, even though the British government promptly disassociated itself from his statement, saying these were his personal views. It is now an open secret that the American military commanders are not satisfied with how Pakistan has been conducting operations against pro-Taliban forces. And when they say, ‘not enough’, Pakistan should do more to catch the ‘terrorists’, they are suggesting that Pakistan should resort to an all-out crackdown against its own people in areas of suspected Taliban support.

The Americans would want Pakistan’s tribal areas, where they say the Taliban/Al-Qaeda fugitives are hiding and being protected by the local people, to be turned into another Afghanistan, or Iraq, and an army of occupation be deployed to settle scores with the ‘insurgents’. Little wonder Pakistan is not prepared to indiscrimately kill its own people in pursuit of apprehending a handful of terrorists, or mortgage its territory to an ‘army of occupation’ which claims it can do more to contain the threat of terrorism.

End.

Reader Comments:

Karzai the failure

The Americans are insatiable and the Afghans are treacherous. Pakistan needs to stop appeasing these people and do what is necessary and not a step beyond that. We tried to appease these people, the result was constant insults and scapegoating for Pakistan.

Aamir Ali, Pakistan - 06 June, 2006

I guessed it right when I read the title that India will be pointed out in this.

Arun, Hungary - 06 June, 2006

Tale without a Head!

Karzai seems to have fallen in the propaganda trap of the
one Mullah Rabbani whose hate
for Pakistan has no bounds.If
President Karzai wants peace
for his nation he must find a
solution within and not with
the support of outside forces
as they have no interest in the welfare of Afghans.This is evident from effort being made towards reconstruction.I
see no pressure by Bush on Karzai to control corruption!

Khalid Rahim, Canada - 06 June, 2006

India is innocent??

why? is India some innocent country which has never used Afghanistan as a base to sponsor violence in Pakistan? no it has happened many times before and is happening again. Karzai has been talking like an Indian of late.

Aamir Ali, Pakistan - 06 June, 2006

Karzai's Outburst

It happens when a leader failes to deliver his promises to his people, then he makes others skape goats. Pakistan being a country sharing border with Afghanistan gets the easy blame. Surely Pakistan does not deserve this from Karzai. There are 3.5m Afghan refugees in Pakistan who are cared and given jobs etc. to stay until the country returns to normalcy but its not likely to happen under the Karzai government. As he is a US stooge and majority of Afghanese do not like him to be there as head of the state hence giving problems inside and also infilteration into Pakistan. There are many militants coming from Afghanistan who are not wanted in Pakista but there is nothing at the moment Pakistan can do much about it. I wish he steps down for the sake of his people. Let his people decide who they want to stabilize the economy and frontiers.

mohammad, United Arab Emirates - 07 June, 2006

THE BUCK STOPS WITH US...

Ladies and gentlemen. There is a pressing need to shun all this hue and cry. There are the short-term outbursts, and there are your long-term solutions.

Let's STOP blaming our neighbor and such and start implementing constructive strategies of our own. In other words using more of our head than the heart (which was forgotten soon after the Soviets left)

We need policies in Afghanistan which seed us there as a good, permanent, stable and strong neighbor that can be relied on. In other words something along the lines of what India has been doing for DECADES, for keep in mind, none of our Romes will be built in a day either. So the time to start is now.

The day we Muslim's start shunning 'brotherly' emotions and start employing pragmatism drawn upon calculated and prudent mental prowess, is the day when we'll finally start emerging as a viable entity - sort of what Pres. Musharraf has been trying to do.

So again, the buck AND responsibility stops here. We need to rise to the challenge and change our policies, strategies and implementations, for truthfully, we are a capable lot and together WE CAN DO IT!


N. Javed, United Kingdom - 07 June, 2006

Good Guess

It's never difficult to guess things which are based on certain facts.

50 years of bitter rivalry between India and Pakistan, why do you think India should have not been pointed out?

A, Pakistan - 09 June, 2006

y u blame india

its common for u pakistanis blame india for everything.india has no time to wage terrorism against u.we are fully concerned for the development.it is u people brain dead simply acusing india.if india has intention it would have joined coalition forces to fight against taliban.this is ur military ministers who are simply spreading rumours.

prashant, Hungary - 09 June, 2006

Karzai is an MA from Himachal University, Shimla and knows very well why he should develop his nation as a liberal democracy like India. Pak was one of the 3 nations which recognized Taleban as a govt. Rest of the world and Afgans esp. women hated them. Read BBC articles if you want the impartial truth. Only warlords and drug lords in Afganistan dislike India and NATO. Afgans have voted a govt. already.

Dayal, Hungary - 10 June, 2006

None Sense

First of all answer this! Where did the talibans come from? Who sent the talibans in the first place? Thats right you sent them. That is why we have to clean this mess up and have Karzai a U.S. nominee make the orders. I suggest that you write to your Govt. and People to stop the hate, crimes, and nonsense and make peace in the region.

ARMAN, Pakistan - 13 June, 2006

Karzai

There is no adoubt that Indians are involved in all that is happening in the troubled areas of Pakistan. It is very naive on the part of the Indians to dney that. As far as Karzai is concerned. The man can not step out of Kabul and feels he is the ruler of Afghanistan. Poor fellow!!! Even when he talks he is full of flippant remarks. If he thinks Pakistan is not stopping the flow of Taliban from her side why does not he stops it from his side. You can see the parallel between his and the Indian allegations who want Pakistan's 250,000 soldiers to do in Kashmir what their 800,000 soldiers can not do.
Who are these two nations kidding. Certainly not me.

Jaber Malik, United Arab Emirates - 14 June, 2006

To Prashant and Dayal

The warlords have benefitted from the post-911 war and even before received funding from India, why should they dislike it? I also think it is India which blames Pakistan for everything and cannot wage war on terrorism against Pakistan since your source of terror is internal. Your government makes only ambigious allegations in the media.

Aamir Ali, Pakistan - 07 July, 2006

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