Opinion by Abdul Hameed Mubariz
US failed Karzaiâ€™s peace plan
“Pakistan has no right to carry out military operations and airstrikes in Waziristan and the tribal belt under Durand Line agreement”
The United States failed the peace plan of Hamid Karzai by forcibly taking Latifullah Mehsud from Afghan security forces. And then the United States discredited the National Unity Government (NUG) by handing over Mehsud to Pakistan. Hamid Karzai traveled to Pakistan 20 times during his tenure in past 13 years in order to maintain friendly ties with Pakistan in order to establish lasting peace in Afghanistan and see extremism subdued in both the countries. When his friendly attempts turned out to be all in vain, Karzai’s government was pushed to follow direct talks with the Taliban and negotiate with representatives of tribal belt aimed at pressurizing Pakistan through them to change its policy regarding Afghanistan and the Taliban militants and let the issue be resolved through negotiations between Afghanistan and the Taliban. The United States scuppered Karzai’s peace plan when Latif Mehsud came to Logar province was forcibly taken from Afghan security forces en route to Kabul. This very act damaged Afghanistan’s sovereignty. Thus Karzai’s peace plan went abortive.
The US by handing Mehsud over to Pakistan severely damaged the credit of the NUG among Pashtun tribes particularly on the other side of the Durand Line that have been our natural allies in the course of history and who, like other Afghans (those living in Afghanistan), given sacrifices for independence and freedom of Afghanistan. Now rumors are doing rounds that the NUG has allowed Pakistani military to build installations along the Durand Line. If there is any tinge of reality in the rumors it means President Ghani has surrendered before Pakistan what Karzai seriously resisted.
It indicates that Afghanistan and US are continually paying a heavy price for Pakistan’s doings while the kings and leaders like Amir Habibullah Khan, Amanullah Khan and Mohammad Zahir Shah, all of them, have tried during the first and second world war to regain the lost lands and find a route to sea port therefore none of them accepted the Durand Line as an international border. Well known British figures like Durand, Patrick the governor of tribal belt at that time, Bizhan Omrani and Ledwich in 2007 termed the Durand Line only a separating line between Afghanistan and semi- independent tribal areas. We are happy that recently Barnet Richard Robin who was the special advisor for UN high secretary and also special advisor for the US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan expresses his candid viewpoint about the Durand Line, and says that the British officials in British-India and well known figures have never given the status of international border to the de facto Durand Line rather it was just considered to be a line separating zones (area of influence) between Afghanistan and the British-India. Barnet supports the idea that the Durand Line is only a line not a border. This issue was re-emerged and re-fueled after Afghan security forces and Pakistani military traded bullets in Goshta district of eastern Nangarhar province. This incident took place when Pakistani military crossed over the Durand Line and started building military installations on Afghan soil.
Dr. Barnet Robin says there is no agreement that confirm the Durand Line as an international border. Some documents show that British have never wanted the Durand Line to be an international border however this line played a line (for indication) to tell Russians not to cross over the line to attack British Empire. It means the line established the “Great Game” buffer zone between British and Russian interests in the region.
After assessing the historical documents and remarks by well-known international and British figures, it is proved that the tribal land was made just a buffer area between Afghanistan and then sub-continent of India and today’s Pakistan and has been separated from Afghanistan by the Durand Line. This line has been maintained as a buffer zone (area of influence) between Afghanistan and Pakistan, therefore Pakistan has no right to capture or to control the areas situated along the Durand Line. Pakistan has no right to attack or raid Waziristan. The US should not carry out drone strikes in Waziristan for targeting the residents of the tribal belt because terrorists are living in Akora Khatak, New Town of Karachi, Quetta and Lahore and have full support of Pakistan’s intelligence agency.
Dr. Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah should not allow the US to fly its airstrikes from Afghan soil and bombard tribal areas in interests of Pakistan. Such an act not only destroys our brotherhood with tribal belt but also changes it into enmity. The people of Afghanistan want clarity from the new government about the handover of Latifullah Mehsud and the rumors about agreement on the Durand Line. Afghans surprise about the silence of the president and the chief executive officer regarding the issue.
The United Arab Emirates, England and Arab Sheikhs give millions of dollars to the terrorists’ leader Mullah Fazlur Rahman while at the same time the US also provides $1.5 billion annually to Pakistani military to train and equip terrorists. The security situation in Afghanistan is worsening day by day as Pakistani military wants to reach their strategic depth to the Central Asia through three phases—Durand Line, Hindukush and Amu River . To achieve these goals, Pakistan combines its military, religious, economic and political strategies and follows it by putting pressure on Afghanistan through terrorists. Here, Pakistan gains full support by England and Saudi Arabia, because Saudi Arabia will support a government in Afghanistan that will be under the control of Wahabites or a government where Wahabi leaders can have their first say in decision making. If this happens, a united Afghan government with Saudi Arabia will prevent Iran to infiltrate into Gulf.
Pakistan follows the goal that was designed by Britain in 19th century therefore it supports Pakistan’s plan and tries to first weaken Afghanistan, then divide it into two parts and later eliminate it. It was the main reason that the presidential election in Afghanistan was failed and the disruption it created was an attempt to make a make two-head government with a weaker position. This situation paved the ground for equal division and this division was started from low to high ranks. In next steps, they will decrease the central power by making provinces and districts free from center and through this they will pave the ground for division. For adopting this plan, which I hope that will not happen, they will mount pressure on Afghanistan by militants until Afghanistan and its forces are weakened whereas Afghan security forces already lack air support in battle against militants. Step second will push Afghanistan to accept Pakistan’s superiority and accept Pakistan to count the tribal belt as its own territory.
It will deprive Afghanistan of the influence among the residents of tribal areas it has had over there in the course of history. Resisting this divisive plan is possible only if we have a powerful national government with leaders like those we had in 18th and 19th centuries. Another solution for this issue is that our leaders follow national goals. They should take the issue of Afghanistan’s sea port, the legal status of the tribal belt and the Durand Line to international court and find a permanent solution to the problem aimed at making a win-win situation for both Afghanistan and Pakistan. We should protect these three things or else we should be ready to face disastrous effects in case of failure as Pakistan doesn’t look in the mood to accept any other option.
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