The Afghan jirga has concluded by allowing the presence of American troops in the country for 10 years beyond 2014. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has set and provided the US with terms and conditions for a long term troop presence in Afghanistan.
On one hand, he wants and demands for national sovereignty to be given back to him while on the other hand is ready to allow indefinite foreign invasion and troop presence are antithetical to each other. That the demands of discontinuation of night raids that become instrumental in the killing of thousands of innocent Afghanis and controlling the activity of civil-military presence in the garb of development workers are pre-conditions that he has posed for such an eventuality.
Such demands, it needs to be noted, have been made by Karzai for a long time now. Either his voice is not reaching the US ear or his tone lacks substance is something that needs to be pondered upon as it has made no difference in the US operations in Afghanistan. So how can Karzai ensure that the preconditions will not be flouted once again? Conditions or no conditions, allowing extended US military presence in the region is something that will affect the entire South Asian region.
Prospects of further extension in the insurgency can surely be guaranteed as the Taliban have already made this amply clear. And that its aftershocks will prevent peace in the tribal areas of Pakistan that is inextricably linked to the security situation in Afghanistan is inevitable.
One thing is for sure keeping in mind all previous endeavours made towards attaining a peaceful resolution in Afghanistan that views of every group either in minority or majority, need to be accommodated and the objectives that are to be achieved should also be presented in a clear transparent manner. Does the fact that a prolonged military presence be beneficial in training the Afghan National Army enough reason for doing so or is there more than what meets the eye?
DR SAFA RAHMAN