After the assassination of Professor Rabbani in September, Pakistan was declared to be the chief party to the reconciliation process, which started with intensity more than a year ago. The argument for this change in the talk was that Taliban themselves do not have any autonomy and they are controlled and used by elements that operate on the other side of Durand Line. Many in the country have supported this new positioning of Afghan government, though critics stated that Pakistan would not be sincere in helping negotiate a political settlement in Afghanistan.
Eyes inside and outside Afghanistan were glued to Bonn Conference. But all the sudden in response to a NATO airstrike on a Pakistani border outpost last week, in which 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed, the Pakistani government announced that it would boycott Bonn Two conference on Afghanistan, which was held last week in Bonn, Germany.
In Bonn Conference, it was great to see the participants pledging long-term commitment of their countries to the stability and peace in Afghanistan as well as sustained financial aid to the country, though no real number came out of the conference in terms of aid pledges despite the fact that Afghan government launched a widespread campaign to make sure that international community promises to provide ten billion dollars to Afghan government as it needs annually.
The focus of this article will be on political aspects of Bonn conference and the events that occurred in the country and region before and after that. Pakistan, which was said to be being drawn into direct talks, did not show up in Bonn, where representatives from 100 countries and many international organizations came together to discuss and decide about another ten year roadmap for Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is losing lives almost on a daily basis in a conflict that is not solely internal but that has regional roots and it is proven that terrorists come in from the neighboring country, Pakistan. Afghan government still wants to talk directly to "Pakistani brothers" to beg them to stop espousing the militants that are involved in killing its citizens.
But Pakistani government boycotted Bonn conference under the pretext of the deaths of its 24 soldiers who were mistakenly killed in an airstrike that aimed at destroying the camps of those lunatics that come to Afghanistan to kill Afghans without any hesitation.
Even worse, Afghan delegation has not returned from the conference yet that terrorists directed by Lashkar-e-Jhangavi in Pakistan killed tens of people in three major cities of Afghanistan on tenth of Muharram, one of the holiest days of Muslims around the world. The extremist group claimed responsibility for the deadly and vicious acts of terrorism in Afghanistan.
When Afghan officials raised the issue and asked Pakistani government to get rid of those terrorist groups that kill humans, Pakistan was angry and asked Afghan government, in return, to stop the blame game. When a Pakistan-based terrorist outfit announces loudly that it was the one that planned and killed tens of innocent people on the tenth of Muharram, Pakistani government does not hear it and when Afghan government restates what those ruthless militants said, it gets angry.
Pakistani government is now blind to its own realities. For instance, when Pakistani citizens get killed by the extremist and terrorist groups that were created and trained by its military and intelligence, it remains unfeeling towards those citizens. Karachi, Quettta and Peshawar have been the theaters for human killing but no conscience in the Pakistani government, military and intelligence is shaken. Arab world is going through its spring and the global consciousness has grown considerably to see things differently, Pakistan is still using terrorists to pursue hostile policies in the neighbors.
This is not the first time that this odd thing happens in the relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Professor Rabbani was also killed by a imposter who came from Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province of Pakistan. The disguised representative of Quetta Shura had asked for an appointment to meet the top peace negotiator to present him the peace message of Taliban and Quetta Shura. But the emissary carried explosives in his turban instead of peace message. He killed the chairman of High Peace Council instead of bridging armed opposition with Afghan government and people.
The good thing is that Afghan people are now mature enough to discern their enemies. These incidents were intended to create ethnic rifts or fuel sectarian tensions. It is hoped that Afghan people will continue to keep their unity and do not fall prey to the conspiracies hatched against them.
The interferences may not stop in the foreseeable future or anytime soon. But it behooves Afghan government to get ready for any possible scenario. It cannot deal with any threat or challenge posed to it under its current inefficiency.
To deal with external challenges and threats, Afghan government must bring transparency to its talks, negotiations and performance. Things must be clear to political actors, parties, groups and Afghan public that live, work and operate inside the system and support it.
These should include talks with armed opposition and negotiation with western powers about long-term strategic agreements. Unfortunately, Afghan government itself has been a source of mistrust among Afghan people so it is important that the government make the process more transparent so that ordinary Afghans also know how the process is moved forward.
In the meanwhile, the government must not talk to anyone who identifies themselves as Taliban representatives. No more carelessness and recklessness. It is time for openness and transparency. In order to increase its efficiency, the government must address corruption issue, which eats into legitimacy of and public support for the government and causes disunity in the country.
Officials from anti-corruption bodies have expressed their frustration with lack of political will on the part of Afghan government and president to fight and root out corruption. A government based on corruption is not ready for tackling internal and external threats. Unfortunately, it is now being named as narco-mafia state. What can one expect from such a state when it comes to fighting atrocious evil forces that come from a neighbor?