Exclusive for the Daily Outlook Afghanistan
Pakistan is Afghanistan's 'co-joint brother and India is our friend' is how Karzai has consistently in the past few months described relationship of his government with Pakistan and India. In Karzai's eyes Pakistan has become Afghanistan's 'co-joint brother' since March 2009 when the Obama administration announced it would withdraw its combat troops from Afghanistan by end of 2014.
The Afghan president worried by prospects that Pakistan will continue its destabilisation of Afghanistan beyond 2014 or even expands its support for the Taliban insurgency in order to topple his government initiated current policy of appeasement toward Pakistan.
On 4th of October India and Afghanistan signed strategic partnership agreements focusing on security and economic cooperation. Fearful expanded role and influence of India in Afghanistan will be seen as strategic encirclement in Pakistan, Karzai has aggressively moved to counter this worldview in Pakistan.
By claiming that his government is ready to militarily defend Pakistan in a conflict with Afghanistan's strategic partners India and America Karzai astounded the world.
Against backdrop of changes in Indo-Afghan relations Karzai wanted to build up on his on appeasement policy toward Pakistan by providing strategic assurance to Islamabad that the new strategic partnership agreement between the two countries is not an anti-Pakistan alliance. But that message is falling on deaf ears in Pakistan.
Pakistan continues to provide weapons, sanctuaries and training to the Taliban insurgency as two mid-level Taliban commanders admit in their interview with BBC documentary 'Secret Pakistan'.
It is refusing to move militarily against the Afghan Taliban in Waziristan despite repeated calls to do by the Obama Administration. Former U.S Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen in congressional testimony on Sep 22 called the Afghan Taliban a 'veritable arm' of Pakistan's intelligence agency the ISI. Last week U.S secretary of State Hillary Clinton travelled to Islamabad to urge them into action against the Afghan Taliban based on its soil.
The only price Pakistan pays for pursuing a policy of destabilization in Afghanistan and actively undermining NATO's role in the country is civilian casualties caused to its population by CIA drone attacks in lawless federally administered tribal areas (FATA) of Pakistan. Despite it Pakistan continues to pursue its policy in Afghanistan. This reveals the Pakistani military and intelligence leadership have made a strategic calculation that it is a price worth paying to accomplish their policy goals in Afghanistan.
Not backed up by a credible threat of military action against Pakistan a toothless Obama Administration urges, visits and appeal to Pakistan to move against Afghan Taliban insurgents on its side of the border but like every other time it all falls on deaf ears in Islamabad.
All of this evidence reveals Pakistan's ongoing active and passive support and aid to the Afghan Taliban who are killing NATO soldiers in Afghanistan.
More importantly it reveals the Pakistani military and intelligence leadership has come to conclude its strategy is winning in Afghanistan given NATO's planned withdrawal from the country by end of 2014 combined Karzai's policy of appeasement toward Pakistan, this in the Pakistani eye is sign of their ability to submit the Afghan government to its will.
Karzai talks about negotiating with Pakistan to get it to end its strategic support for the Taliban.
In Pakistan the military and intelligence leadership of the country determines its foreign policy. Pakistan's support for the Taliban insurgency will expand given that those two establishments look at latest Indo-Afghan strategic partnership an anti-Pakistani alliance that will give India a toehold on Pakistan's eastern border.
Karzai's attempts to negotiate with Pakistan in such climate of paranoia toward India and its expanded role in Afghanistan, given the fact that the Pakistanis believe they are winning in Afghanistan and provided that Afghanistan have to survive on its own in three years' time makes no sense.
Former U.S ambassador in Afghanistan Gen. Eikenbery recently outline defence budget of Afghanistan from 2014 on will exceed its revenue by three times as reported in Sydney Morning Herald under the title "Concerns for security forces casts doubt over government viability" by Dan Oakes A World Bank Report found 97% of Afghanistan's GDP trickles down from NATO military spending in the country, reported in the WashingtonPost under title "Afghan Nation Building Programs not sustainable, Report says" by Karen Deyoung. These are large and serious economicl risks to sustainability of the Afghan National Army and survivability of the Afghan government.
Fomer chief of ISI Gen. Hamid Gul commented that the Taliban are very efficient fighters. He explained 'The Taliban fighters are very efficient fighters. They can survive in the mountains for days with some water and a loaf of bread". Because the Taliban are engaged in guerrilla warfare expanding military support to them increases their strength multiple fold, disproportionately. This is an alarming challenge to fighting superiority of the ANA and ultimately to chances of survival of the Afghan government.
Pakistan knows that without strategic American military support the Karzai regime will collapse unless India and other regional countries jump in with increased financial assistance and strategic military support to the Afghan government to fill the power vacuum.
The Pakistani military leadership also asses that the even if the international community pays $8 Billion it costs a year to Afghanistan from 2014 on for it to maintain its security forces, Pakistan can expand its support to the Taliban insurgency in order to boost their terror capability to a point where it is capable of toppling the Afghan government…since donor governments will be unlikely to pay for growing expenses of the Afghan security forces for it to boost its capabilities to stand its ground against growing terror of the Insurgency. Building on that Pakistan presumes beyond 2014 even with international financial support to the Afghan government it can topple it without strategic security guarantee of a superpower.
Why would Pakistan negotiate with Karzai when they are winning in Afghanistan, the geostrategic future is favourable to its policy goals in Afghanistan and it is paying little in price for pursing its policy of destabilization of Afghanistan? Pakistan wants to cut off head of its 'co-joint brother'.
Karzai negotiating with Pakistan to bring the war in Afghanistan to an end is like Pakistan ordering the Taliban to shoot its 'co-joint brother' in the knee while Karzai extends out his hand of friendship. The shooting disables the 'co-joint brother' in the knee and then Pakistan itself is waiting patiently with an ex held in the air to cut off head of its 'co-joint brother' while to having to wait for NATO to get out before it commits to its nefarious act.
Karzai's idea of bilateral negotiations with Pakistan is flawed and helpless.