The relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan is in different forms flanked by different regimes. But in fact, the people of both states are tied to each other historically and traditionally. The people living in the North and West have strong associations with the people of Afghanistan in all aspects, i.e. culturally, traditionally and in all mores.
The undemocratic forces, dictators and establishment of Pakistan had drawn the negative policies and perception in the chapter of Afghanistan and they aligned the relationship with Afghanistan deleteriously.
They took Afghanistan as undeclared enemy and started intervention in the internal matters of Afghanistan with the support of religious actors and intelligence agencies. There is also a history behind that adverse policy against Afghanistan like the issue of Pashtoonistan and other political and regional disputes. So from day one, Pakistan is in search of friendly and controlled Afghan Government and this goal is joined by another neighbor Iran which is also the immediate neighbor of Afghanistan and it shares 936 KM of border area with Afghanistan. Both the countries had decided to achieve the goal of control over Afghanistan.
There were different stages of relationships aroused between Pakistan and Afghanistan. For example, the relation became tenser when In November 1955, the Afghanistan Grand National Assembly adopted a resolution stipulating the non-recognition of Pashtun territories as the part of Pakistan and in 1960, When Pakistani Embassy and Consulates were under attacked in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s flag was molested and to that response, Pakistan imposed trade embargo over Afghans goods. The relationships were became little normal in 1962 when Shah of Iran meltdown the freeze of tension between two countries and the trade was once again restored with the efforts of Shah of Iran.
The state of Pakistan had decided to get control over Afghanistan and for that goal; they started proper intervention in late 70’s When late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the Ex-prime minister of Pakistan had started to allocate the secret funds for insurgents and anti-afghan Governments elements. Pakistani religious actors like Jamat-e-Islami, JUI and others had provided the hole of intervention and guided Pakistani agencies for the attainment of that objective. With the support of Jamat-e-Islami, Pakistani intelligence agencies were succeeded to find their supporters in Afghanistan like Burhanuddin Rabbani, Gulbaddin Hikmatyar, Ustad Sayyaf, Maulana Fazal Hadi and some other campaigners. These people were trained under the supervision of Pakistan Army and they properly started to destabilize the Afghan Government on the instructions of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.
That intervention was reached at its full intense when the so called Jihad was declared on the instruction of United States of America against USSR presence in Afghanistan. For that purpose, Pakistan had offered each and everything and sailed down in that war by founding the opportunity to get more control over Afghanistan. More than one million Afghanis had lost their lives in that war and Millions of people migrated in neighboring countries. The religious actors were propagated the so called and US declared Jihad very brightly and they played vital role with the support of Arab countries to make blood shedding in Afghanistan by name of Jihad and Islam. For the cause, Pakistani establishment and their army were leading the role from the front and they took every step to make the region full of explosive and weapons.
The spirit of so called Jihad was regularly penetrated in the Pakistani Army and in society as well. The Mullas (religious clerks) were one step forwarded by preparing the innocent and uneducated youths of society to participate in that Jihad. Hundreds of new mudrassas (religious schools) were establishment for the recruitment of young people and thousands of militant groups were brought in Afghanistan from Arab and Central Asian Countries with the help of CIA and other intelligence agencies.
They were quite succeeded in achieving the purpose and after the defeat of Soviet Union, the Afghanistan was fully under the state of anarchy and thousands of people were killed by different militant groups prepared for that Jihad. They started to kill their allied Mujahideen just for the sake of power. Pakistani establishment had got very strong arm in Afghanistan and they got the opportunity in the shape of Mujahideen and Taliban. Finally they were succeeded to get control of Kabul with the help of Taliban, Arab and Central Asian Militants like AL Qaeda.
Pakistani establishment imagined Afghanistan as fifth province and they started to allocate the proper funds in their annual budgets. The policy makers and think tanks were celebrating their victory; the political and religious parties of Pakistan had also remained the part of this game. According to some US official secret documents, 20-40 percent of Taliban’s regular soldiers were belonging to Pakistan Army. It further stated that, there were total 38000 regular Taliban militants and among those, 20000 were regular Pakistani soldiers either from Frontier Corps or Pakistan Army and the rest of 8000 there Pakistani Religious extremists recruited in madrassas.
There were also some estimated 3000 Arab and Central Asian militants in Taliban’s regular Army.
After the incident of 9/11, the policy was changed and the Pakistani policy makers have started to play the double game with world. In Musharaf’s regime, US and NATO-led International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) deployed in Afghanistan and struck out the Taliban Government and they got the control of more than 90% of Afghanistan. Musharaf joined US and NATO sides to eliminate Taliban but the sympathies towards Taliban and other militants remained in close touch. The establishment of Pakistan was infact sailing in two boats at a time. They started military operation in tribal areas to remove militancy and extremis from the region and on the other side, the intelligence agencies have tied more relations with these militant groups.
In the same way, in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, they brought called Islamist groups in the power to provide them political and moral support in the region and they were quite succeeded. There was an operation in Waziristan, the safe-haven for every terrorist group in the world and on the other hand they organized and established militant group to encounter the Allied Forces in Afghanistan.
Now the world is known to all the tactics used by Pakistani Establishment and their policies have brought both the countries on extreme violence. There is always blood shedding in both the countries, even Pakistani major cities like Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Quetta are not safe due to these militant group’s attacks and suicide bombings. More than 40000 people and security forces have lost their lives due to this strategic depth policy.
The policy makers in Pakistani establishment must revise their policy of strategic depth. Due to the same policy of supporting militancy in Kashmir, now the world is not ready to highlight the crimes and cruelty of Indian Forces in Jammu and Kashmir. I think due to this policy, Pakistan is fallen in tough economic crisis and severe power shortage, GDP growth of the country is facing losses for last few years. There are still many religious parties and groups which are apparently supporting Taliban and Al-Qaeda in public and making grounds to give them moral support and recruit the innocent youths in these forces. This approach is also adopting in print and electronic media. For example, the retired army officers of Pakistan Army are still having soft corner towards these forces and announcing the Afghanistan as Pakistan’s colony.
The current crisis clearly mentioned that the military led-foreign policy is absolutely failed and the re-thinking mode of policy should be adopted by Pakistani establishment and their political forces. The political forces should take the responsibility of revising the foreign and internal security policies and they should streamline the processes to make a real democratic Pakistan.
One important point must be noted here that Military and Civil bureaucracy shall never withdraw from the power as they have been in command from almost 65 years. Now the political forces must united and take strong step my ensuring military and civil bureaucracy withdrawn from the state affairs. A complete revise foreign policy is required to guarantee the peace and stability in the whole region. The pro-militancy policy must be eliminated and friendly relationships with all the neighboring countries including India, Afghanistan, Iran and China must be imposed. Also a lot of work is required for internal security policy and democratic forces of the country must also remolded a new and federation friendly internal security policy and all kinds of violent must be unacknowledged strongly.
By Zahid Khan Kakar