Afghan pull-out: Pakistan needs to revise its role
So what must we do?
• Pakistan must be on the right side of history.
• That means that we must consider and respect the needs and wishes of the Afghan people.
• The Taliban may not be popular, but neither is Hamid Karzai.
• Our negotiations with non-state actors and individuals are unsustainable in the long-run, and risks inflaming public opinion against us.
• Efforts should be made to resolve differences and grievances with non-Pashtun groups.
• Importantly, what is often overlooked is the dispute over the Durand Line.
• Afghanistan still disputes the Durand Line as a working international boundary.
• Resolution of this issue once and for all, rather than brushing it under the diplomatic table would help calm the Pakistani establishment’s fears of an unfriendly Afghan government stirring up trouble along the border.
• As for negotiations, it’s obvious that in the most conflict ridden parts of Afghanistan, the east and the south east, local communities are between a rock and a hard place.
• Both ISAF and the Taliban are unpopular.
• Communities want to see an end to violence.
• Pakistan should do what it can to facilitate this process, but do so without taking sides overtly or covertly.
• If not then we will return to the early 1990s.
• The West will pump money from a distance into a dysfunctional government in Kabul.
• Ethnic and regional factions will divide the country up, and Pakistan will be accused of interfering and pushing its agenda in another country.
• After all, treating the Afghan’s in the same way, we accuse the US of treating us, is not going to win us many Afghan friends.