Your enemy is not afraid of where you are, but certainly where you are going
Afghanistan surpassing a history of civil war and internal unrest is taking the baby steps to leave its devastating experiences behind and move forward with the rest of the world.
Unfortunately, a prosperous and ethnically integrated Afghanistan is wrongfully perceived as a threat to our western and eastern neighbors’ national security concerns.
In the case of Pakistan that has always looked down upon Afghanistan as a sovereign and independent state, it is absolutely clear that the military and the intelligence establishments of this country will try its utmost to prevent Afghanistan from striking a security pact with the U.S. administration and is in cunning ambush to inflame the once heated ethnic war again in the country.
The Iranian ayatollahs do on the other hand have their stakes in Afghanistan’s future. The Iranian government is well aware of the context in which the American troops will stay in the country post 2014. A probable U.S. base close to the Iranian border is both a great concern and a top national security issue for its leadership.
No doubt, a vulnerable and ethnically divided country is always a fair playground for its neighbors to interfere in its domestic affairs and keep it weak and divided. Afghanistan in between the regional rivalries over its relations to the U.S. and India has posed sensitivities to our mighty neighbors Pakistan and Iran. Pakistan besides having clinical border issues with Afghanistan has repeatedly voiced its concerns on the Afghan-Indian growing military cooperation in the last few years while Iran though a majority Shiite muslim nation once opposing the Taliban’s wahabi orientation is now in the same page with them and have secretly conducted numerous talks with the running Taliban leadership in undisclosed locations within Iran. Surprisingly Iran seems to have put its ideological differences with the Taliban aside and has provided them financial and military assistance to harm the American interests within Afghanistan.
In regards to the Durand line simply if you ask an immigrated Muslim from Pakistan who chose to leave for India during the partition in 1947 to repatriate back to Pakistan, I am pretty sure he/she would proudly prefer living in a prosperous, stable and rapidly developing India rather than Pakistan, the same is true here. I doubt anyone living on the Pakistani side of the Durand line would prefer to be part of an unstable, poor and insecure Afghanistan at the moment. They proudly call themselves Pakistanis holding this identity since 1947. Besides, the government in Pakistan has provided all the basic facilities of a better living to these people which the government in Afghanistan will not be able to provide at least in the next century. So it is a logical trade-off between better and worse for these people.
Now the proxy war fought in the name of Taliban has its roots in this unresolved border issue between the two countries. The disputed line which is considered the mother issue between the two states has never been addressed in a bilateral platform. Pakistan claims it is the accepted border while subsequent Afghan rulers have denied such statements with no proper alternative to resolve this issue once and for all. So long as a bilateral consensus is not reached to resolve this crisis, the so called Taliban insurgency will proceed with full swing in the coming years.
Last but no least, it is the duty of the upcoming leadership in Afghanistan to present a clear picture of the country’s relations prospective with its neighbors and regional allies and strive to focus its energy on ending the economic vulnerabilities of the country in the long-run. Afghanistan having a great deal of natural resources has a huge potential to turn into an economic power in the region and step towards a self-reliant economy.
Author: Naser “Koshan“
June 18, 2013