by Shafaq H
Trump’s speech on August 22nd, 2017, clearly points towards the formation of an upcoming nexus of power and control brewing among USA, India and Afghanistan.
When Trump joined office in January 2017, he was adamant at withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. However now, he has gone back on his word. In his speech he talked about winding up the stagnant situation in Afghanistan by sending a number of troops. He stated that hastily withdrawing troops from Afghanistan would create a vacuum for terrorist groups like Al-Qaida and ISIS, eventually giving them space to spread their wings even further.
Trump’s speech not only highlights policy shifts towards Afghanistan but also gives a glimpse of the change in trajectory of Pak-US ties.
None of Trump’s predecessors used such harsh words for Pakistan. Pakistan was blamed and accused of providing “safe havens” to the terrorists.
Pakistan’s sacrifices and efforts to curb terrorism and destroy its roots have been applauded by many nations; nevertheless, Trump did not acknowledge them in his speech. To add fuel to the fire, Trump asked Pakistan’s seventy year old rival India to join hands with America in resolving the Afghan issue.
India wants to set foot in Afghanistan and establish its control by using the American card. India is leaving no stone unturned in trying to project Pakistan as a “terrorist state”. All out efforts are being made to dismantle Pakistan and defame its reputation around the world; these efforts to bring Pakistan to its heels have intensified after the CPEC initiative. The new agenda is aimed at isolating Pakistan and delaying the materialisation of the project which holds the key to bringing economic prosperity to Pakistan.
Washington must recall and acknowledge its 38-year old ally: Pakistan. It is not America, but Pakistan who has paid heavily for the Afghan war and the war against terror.
The menace of these wars has infected the society with sectarianism, religious extremism, smuggling of weapons, pouring of drugs across the border, along with an influx of a huge number of refugees to Pakistan’s land. Not to mention how these wars have drained Pakistan’s economy, which has declined from direct foreign investments, down to massive destruction of infrastructure.
Furthermore, operations conducted by Pakistan’s Army, including Zarb-e-Azab and Radd-ul-Fasaad, in order to target terrorist bases, has not only resulted in a large number of internally displaced persons but has also put a strain on the defense budget.
Pakistan has paid the price with the blood of many innocent lives killed at the hands of terrorist. The victims of Army Public School massacre, the martyrs of Pak Army, the civilians who were killed in drone strikes, did not die in vain, but for a cause to bring peace in the region.
The hegemony of USA, India and Afghanistan seems imminent in the near future. Nevertheless, Donald Trump should not take a stern stance towards Pakistan. It is high time that America acknowledges the sacrifices that Pakistan has made and how Pakistan has served America in its motives as an ally and at battlefield. The Afghan issue cannot be resolved with the use of force as the past three decades have reaffirmed.
USA must not emasculate Pakistan’s role in the region and should work together with it in devising a strategy for bringing peace in Afghanistan.