From Dr Hamid Hussain. As usual, he gives sensible advice, but it is not going to be heeded. On this issue, I think Major Amin is right, there will be a civil war, Pakistan will take sides, PTM will not be reconciled and will instead be further demonized, things will not get better.
I also hope I am wrong. (Omar Ali)
Dr Hamid Hussain’s post follows:
One can only highlight signposts of a complex issue. Following is one such exercise.
Pakistan’s Afghan Conundrum
“On earth, it’s hard and heaven is far away”. Afghan proverb.
Afghanistan is going through another transition with many uncertainties causing hope and fear. Pakistan has a long history of involvement in Afghan affairs. President Donald Trump tweeted on 08 October 2020 that all American troops will be home from Afghanistan by Christmas. This surprised everyone in Washington and Pentagon, State Department and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officials were scratching their heads and contemplating how one single tweet has undermined the bargaining position of United States. This also sent shock waves in General Head Quarters (GHQ) of Pakistan army. Prime Minister Imran Khan government is not even pretending to have any role in Afghan affairs and has handed the Afghan file to the army. Imran Khan wrote an op-ed piece for Washington Post pleading Americans not to leave Afghanistan in haste for Pakistan fears it will face all the negative fallout.
There will be review of Afghan policy with the arrival of new administration in Washington in January 2021. However, domestic issues will suck all the oxygen and it is not likely that new administration will be able to spend significant economic, military and political capital on a side show in Afghanistan. President Trump is now the wild card before President elect Joe Biden takes oath on 20 January 2021. He can order complete withdrawal of American troops by the end of the year that can make any course correction for new administration very difficult. Pakistan’s hope is that new administration keeps current level of forces and economic lifeline to Afghan government until meaningful progress is made on intra-negotiations front. Continue reading “Afghan Conundrum II”