Yesterday evening, in his nationwide address, President Karzai said that against our expectations the Pakistani establishment didn't help us in bring peace and stability in Afghanistan. Insisting on terrorism as the common menace for both the countries he said that instead of Taliban direct talks Pakistan will be preferred. He was trying to convey that talking to proxies (Taliban/ Haqqani Network) is useless since they are controlled by Pakistan. He also said that his government has been in difference of view with NATO about the mechanism of war on terror since terrorism doesn't exist in Afghan villages instead it should be persuaded beyond Afghan borders where the real sanctuaries of Terrorists (Taliban/Haqqani Network/al Qaeda) are based. This fresh round of cold diplomatic ties between both the countries started after the assassination of Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani, the former president and the Chairman of the Peace High Council on September 20, 2011 and attack on US Embassy and ISAF Head Quarter in Kabul on September 13, 2011.
Day before yesterday, on September 2nd, 2011 there was intense exchange of blames between Afghan Security Agencies and Pakistan Foreign Ministry. Afghan side blamed Taliban's Quetta Shoora for this high profile assassination. They also held responsible ISI of Pakistan for allegedly having hands in this matter. On the other hand Pakistan denies the allegations and says that by the murder of Prof. Rabbani, Pakistan lost a great friend.
On the other page of the story, Admiral Mike Mullen, US Chairman Joint chiefs of Staff of Armed Forces, just few days before his retirement seriously damaged Pakistani role in the war against terrorism, he called Pakistan as the supporter of Haqqani Network (based in Northern Wazirstan), engaged in the killing of US soldiers in Afghanistan. Just few days before putting of his uniform he put Pakistan in one of the most difficult positions of its history of War on Terror.
This is not the first time that President Karzai raises the issue of Pakistan's dishonesty toward Afghanistan. Ears in Afghanistan still remember his words "Pakistan wants to enslave us" just couple of years ago on December 13, 2006 in Ahmad Shah Baba High School, Kandahar. His relations with Pakistan have been very dramatic with interesting ups and down, sometime cooler than ice and soon after hotter that boiling water.
Mid of March of the ongoing year when Pakistan's heavy delegation with all its political and security organs landed in Afghan Presidential Palace, his relations with the neighboring country touched the good peak. At that time he was convincing the Jihadi leaders for a new greater alliance with Pakistan and China.
Even at that time many believed that Karzai's ongoing regional policy doesn't have any strategic approach since none of his stand lasts more that six months. It is also true about his domestic policy with his temporary tactical attitude toward his domestic friends and opponents.
It is also important to keep in mind that President Karzai is on his way to India today where in addition to couple of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), he is also signing the strategic agreement with India.
The Probably New Tactic
Many believe that the Karzai's new anti Pakistan stance will not last longer than months.
There might be couple of reasons behind this new aggressive temper; First, the huge anti Taliban constituency of Shaheed Rabbani is with the high emotions against the flawed peace process which ultimately devoid them from a great leader. Most of the public opinion in the Western, Northern and Central Afghanistan turned over night against the one way peace initiative with Taliban. Supporters and the followers of Prof. Rabbani hold responsible both Taliban and Pakistan for plotting the murder of their beloved leader. President Karzai carefully wants to address this issue which may have grave consequences for the already fragile deeply diverse Afghan society. This is the only way to relieve the sentiments of that constituency mainly the Tajiks of Afghanistan.
Secondly, the strong anti Pakistan statement of the senior military official of the giant US military power made him cautious in his growing relations with Pakistan. One might be surprised by hearing the rumor moving around the various chambers of the Presidential Palace that US might attack Pakistan with in 48 to 72 hours. Since Mike Mullen had the serious message to Pakistan about its operational connections with Haqqani Network, probably the strongest over the last one long decade.
Karzai tried to change the track immediately to appease the US. It needs to be remembered that after India, Afghanistan has to sign the second strategic agreement with US soon (probably no way to avoid it). Now, he has also to convince the sensitive neighbors through backdoor channels that he will add the clauses which could not harm them but nevertheless the military bases will be the unavoidable part of that agreement.
In an attempt as the sign of unanimous move to the US, President Karzai remarked the address of the terrorist sanctuaries across the border but he needs to understand that both sides of the borders are the field area for the terrorists. Although, there are no differences between the brutalities of Taliban on both sides of borders but the fresh domestic anti Taliban wave are mainly against the Afghan Taliban not the Pakistani Taliban (TTP). Interestingly, President Karzai still doubts that the Taliban assassinated Prof. Rabbani but the evidences and the public opinion doesn't share his doubts.
Thirdly, after six months of cordial friendship with Pakistan, he is landing today in New Delhi. Probably, for the next six months he has drawn up a new policy with a new doctrine. He has been proven cleaver to get the best advantage of the regional rivalry.
He might be thinking that he will be received in New Delhi more warmly after his new understanding of the situation. But India is one of the mature countries of the world in handling its policy toward the region.
The zigzag movement cannot appease them quickly. In spite of having historical and deep rooted differences with Pakistan, it has been dealing the issues with due passions and maturity. India has its own security parameters at home and abroad. Just anti Pakistani sentiments is not sufficient to drag India in a bigger but flawed game.
Rather than the Karzai temporary friendship India is much more concerned about the growing wave of extremism since it has also been one of the serious victims of the terrorism. Taliban regime dint not harbor al Qaeda only but the anti India militants too. Taliban ruled Afghanistan was the safest haven for the militants from the Indian Kashmir with the multiple training camps to disrupt Indian peace.
At present Afghanistan needs the most is a Vision. How to make Afghanistan a country for all? How to make Afghanistan a country with viable security and financial institutions? How to make Afghanistan an accommodative society for various ethnic and lingual groups, life styles and political approaches? Rather than seeking the root causes of the chaos outside the country, we need to have a thorough study of our own society. Pakistan must be a part of Afghan problem but not the all.
Seasonal friendship and tactical operational approaches will only deepen the rifts. The new stance of the president might calm the situation temporarily but what about the future. You may cross the river once by Mud Bridge but the permanent solution needs to be found.
Taliban still stand with strong posture to dominate Afghanistan with their self made interpretation of Sharia. They don't show any flexibility on the crucial uncompromised values.
The strong centralized system promoting corruption in every walk of life keeps paralyzing Afghanistan in spite of having friendship or hostility with Pakistan, India, Iran or US.
The Presidential System will keep promoting distrust among Afghans, destroy the newly born democracy, encouraging dictatorial attitude, discouraging the collective efforts to rebuild the country even with the huge cooperation of the International Community.
Absence of political parties and non aligned parliament will continue to promote disarray and Horse Trading. Eliminating political parties from political landscape only persuade Mafia to take over.
A logical regional approach to satisfy the neighbors that could make them realize that their real benefit lies only in chasing their legitimate interest.