Afghanistan is going through not only ruthless insurgency but also missile attacks from the neighboring countries. For the last five months, Afghan people been occasionally witnessing missiles launched from Pakistani soil. Unfortunately, Afghan government has not been able to react to these intrusions effectively. Last week, Afghan police reported that missiles had been fired from Iranian soil into Nimroz province of Afghanistan.
The neighboring countries have remained intrusive at least for the last two decades and they are not happy with the presence of international forces in Afghanistan. The country has begun to build its relations with regional powers and countries as well as international powers, which is highly essential and beneficial to the country.
Afghanistan has recently signed a strategic agreement with India and the US has called it as a positive step. In a recent statement, US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman during a visit to India said, "I think that the strategic partnership document that India and Afghanistan signed is a positive development.
As secretary Clinton has said, as all of us have said Afghanistan ought to have relations with all other countries in the neighborhood and as you know we (USA) are also trying to negotiate a strategic partnership document with Afghanistan, so the more of these relationships the Afghans have, seems to me the better." Afghanistan remains a poor country relying on international aid.
It is an aid-recipient country and will continue to remain so for the foreseeable future. India, as one of the regional powers, has been one of Afghanistan's biggest bilateral donors. Over the last ten years since the fall of Taliban regime in late 2001, it has pledged about $2 billion for projects from the construction of highways to the building of the Afghan parliament.
It also has provided and continues to provide scholarships for Afghan youths, who will be the future leaders and technocrats to lead and manage the state of affairs in the country. Afghan people have been hosting international forces for the last ten years and now that they are being attacked from the neighboring countries they would expect international forces to help Afghan national army and police to respond to these attacks.
At least, Afghan people believe that the international community can put pressure on the neighbors to stop firing missiles into Afghanistan. Last week, General John Allen, Commander International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) met Pakistani Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani at General Headquarters in Rawalpindi where he discussed the cross border attacks and asked Pakistani side that attacks be controlled in any case, while ways and means must be ensured that such attacks don't occur again.
Afghanistan is also in negotiation with the US, European Union, Britain and NATO to sign strategic partnership documents. Afghanistan needs to sign these agreements to build a long term strategic partnership with these powers to overcome internal and external threats.
Internally, the country is going through a bloody violence. It is expanding day by day and even the provinces which were peaceful for the last years are now becoming the targets of suicide attacks. For instance, Panjsher was one of the most secure provinces of Afghanistan along with Bamyan, Diakundi and some other provinces of the country but on Saturday, October 15, 2011, two civilians were killed and four others, including a foreigner, injured in a predawn suicide bombing in central Panjsher province.
Panjsher Governor Kiramuddin Kiram told Pajhwok Afghan News that the explosion occurred at the gate of the US Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) compound in Anaba district at 5:15am. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, with their spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid saying several suicide attackers entered the PRT complex in the Langar Khan area of Rokha district. Afghan government remains weak and national security forces are yet to acquire the required capability to defend the system and country against internal and external threats.
Externally, the neighboring countries continue to interfere in Afghan affairs. According to their perceptions, a stable Afghanistan is in conflict with their national interests and they therefore continue to support the destabilizing forces in Afghanistan.
In fact, the internal and external threats are in a political marriage and both continue to threaten the survival of a democratic system in Afghanistan. Due to the interconnectedness of these two threats, it is very difficult to solve the internal threats without addressing the external ones.
By the same token, the efforts by Afghan government and international community to make peace with insurgent groups have failed. It is now clear that Afghan government and international community are willing to negotiate with the Taliban if they agree to renounce violence, break with Al-Qaeda and other terrorist elements in the region and accept the constitution.
Reconciliation under these conditions are unlikely to happen because the Taliban militants will not easily surrender and they believe that these pre-conditions are tantamount to giving up, which they will never do because they represent not only their own ideological interests but also the interests of their neighboring bosses. The insurgents, on their part, have set the withdrawal of international forces from the country as their prerequisite to entering into the negotiation process.
This is the demand of the neighboring countries that do not want Afghanistan to have a reliable and viable international partner. On Friday, October 14, 2011, the US embassy in Kabul issued a statement saying, "The Taliban and other insurgents must renounce violence, (and) they must abandon their alliance with al-Qaeda and must agree to abide by the laws and constitution of Afghanistan, including respecting the rights of women and ethnic minorities."
If Afghan government and international community continue to insist on these conditions and the Taliban on other hand continue to carry out terrorist attacks across the country and into the capital, Kabul, the effort for peace will yield no result. But there is the option of increased military pressure on the internal forces of terrorism and insurgency.
Unfortunately, Afghan government and international community are not putting enough military pressure on the insurgent outfits to compel them to join peace and normal life. Without this military pressure, the opportunity for improving security situation will be lost and Afghan people will continue to lose their lives in the hands of terrorists and cruel insurgents.
There is a potential in the military pressure to end up in breakup of the political marriage between insurgents and regional elements provided that that pressure is accompanied with the long-term strategic partnership between Afghanistan and the western powers which will help reduce foreign intrusion as well.