By Faisal Raza Khan –
In skating over thin ice, our safety is our speed
The 16th December 2014 – A deadliest day of Pakistan’s history, when another “Dhaka falls in Peshawar” but apparently, it was chilling winter day, slight cool breeze was blowing, cities were slowly awakening, life was getting started in Peshawar as well.
At the same time, military run public school at Warsak road, where after assembly, senior students were getting first aid training, and also preparing to receive farewell from junior hosts, when banned outfit Tehrik-e-Taliban terrorists attacked and ruthlessly massacred reportedly 149 people.
These martyrs of Army Public School (APS) include 134 innocent children, who had strong ambitions to become fruitful citizen of society, to serve the nation and humanity but terrorists shattered their dreams.
Soon, after Peshawar carnage every brain washed away through eyes, there was nothing to say, because no one had words to express emotions, everyone raising the voice of little departed souls, asking the nation’s political and military elite to root-out terrorism and terrorists from social ranks and territorial jurisdiction, cleanse the purity of this land and re-carve children’s future and protect their dreams.
Might be that was the prime reason, why, nation becomes nation, mainstream political parties apparently got united and join hands with country’s powerful military while army and intelligence chiefs immediately went Kabul to discuss the situation with Afghan leadership and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) commander. Question arises here, why?
Yes, it’s because country’s intelligence agency have solid proofs that plan for attack on APS school was carved out at Afghan soil, while terrorists communications suggest that master minds and terrorists of TTP hiding in Afghan region.
At the question of anonymity, a security official revealed that investigations reveal interception of certain conversations between the RAW and certain NDS officials via satellite monitoring while audio evidences were also available.
On December 17th, 2014 – Pakistan’s military leadership handed over the audio transcripts and evidences to Afghan President Dr. Ashraf Ghani and in return, he assured of every possible support.
But questions are continuously haunting after Peshawar episode, that whether Pakistan serious in countering terrorism? How extremist and terror groups would be wiped-out? Would it be a turning point in terms of relation with the groups? Is it right that “Good and Bad Taliban” is now out of question? And the most vital was suspicious or constructive role of Afghanistan and Pakistan in counter-terror war?
Afghanistan remains a great question? And answer is very complicated.
Fact is that in 1980s Pakistan’s thinking of making Afghanistan, a fifth province and notion of strategic depth, using Afghan’s as tissue paper and promoting U.S. sponsored terror technology against Russia (earlier United States of Soviet Russia) in the name of “Jihad” and in the name of “Islam”.
In the name of Islam, different entities were made available at cheep rates and in legalized form in Pakistan, which was used against Russia in Afghanistan with U.S. dollars and that dark era gained roots in the region, paved the way for proxy wars, Russians and Afghan’s particularly northern alliance becomes enemies and India added more fuel to already erupted fire.
As 9/11 happened in the U.S., international forces marched towards Afghanistan, Taliban regime toppled and Hamir Karzai got place in presidential palace.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, a master degree holder from India and during his tenure showed his dedicated commitment to obey his masters. Mr. Karzai’s completely forgot his stay in Pakistan, when, according to Americans, he was a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) contractor and working for so called 1980s “Mujahideen’s” fund raising campaigns, The Mujahideens, who are today’s “terrorists”. Mr. Karzai had the history of getting privileges from variety of Intelligence operatives, in 1980, he was fond of Pakistan and United States, but his tenure as President, he got space with Indians, then Pakistan witnessed continuous bashing and praises for India.
Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and National Security Directorate (NDS), majority is educated, trained, equipped and dictated by Indian armed forces and intelligence agencies. Since, 2003 – India has invested a lot in Afghan forces, spy agency, bureaucracy, journalists, politicians and even among traders and its paying Delhi a lot since years.
After the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) between India and Afghanistan in 2011, there are more than 1000 troops trained by Dehli while a 17-page wish list of former president Karzai also includes extensive intelligence training, sharing, communication, recruitment of spies, special and covert operations. In reality, Karzai regime set the path for Indo-Pak proxy war without realizing the fact that not only Pakistanis, Afghans and region will suffer. Since, Karzai reign, this tug of war between Pakistan and Afghanistan benefited India.
Just imagine, Operation Zarb-e-Azb started back in June, and this was the same time when Indian forces started indiscriminate firing at eastern border especially at line of control (LoC) and Working Boundary. When Dr. Ashraf Ghani became the President, he has started his derive to find a way towards friendly ties with Pakistan, Afghanistan witnessed the echoes of suicide and car blasts, when he first visited Islamabad on 14th November 2014, there was an attack back in Afghanistan depicting that its might carried-out by Haqqani’s and linked it to Pakistani intelligence agency. It’s astonishing that soon after the return of Army Chief General Raheel Sharif from U.S., Peshawar tragedy happened, means enemy has given a strong signal that we are now at your door step.
So, after when extensive security, diplomatic and political derive initiated, Afghanistan offered her every support especially Dr. Ghani in his personal capacity then India again started unprovoked and unilateral firing at control line and working boundary while martyred two ranger soldiers, while having white flags in their hands and given a strong message against operation Zarb-e-Azb and Pakistan’s friendly policy towards Afghanistan.
Pakistan’s diplomatic staff in Kabul embassy categorically expressed hopes that ties between the two will improve quickly because first time after Karzai regime, they witnessed a warm feelings and affection among Afghans for Pakistanis. Otherwise, Pakistanis were most hated in Afghanistan during Karzai era.
Prime minister’s adviser on national security and foreign policy, Sartaj Aziz in statement condemning Peshawar school tragedy said, “The recent attack on a military-run school was the first incident to test the resolve of the two countries to jointly take on militants threatening them.”
Dr. Ghani supports strengthen Pakistan’s resolve against terrorism and Islamabad is also fully cooperating with Kabul in terms of diplomacy and security level, and that is a prime reason why a full fledge operation was launched by Afghan security forces in adjacent border areas but there are some disturbing reports that allegedly some of Indian backed NDS spies have shifted mainstream leaders of TTP to Nepal and Bangladesh with ultimate facilitation by RAW while some second tier leadership is in Badkhshan and northern part of Afghanistan.
Though these notions were very well taken by Dr. Ghani but he is also facing very harsh resistance from NDS, Indian influenced bureaucrats, politicians and military officers. Reality is that Ghani is right now minimizing the RAW-NDS nexus, took serious note of RAW organized terror attacks inside Afghanistan and passed out special directives to end subversive activities from Afghanistan to the other countries.
Analysts say a successful end to the hunt for Mullah Radio will mark a milestone in Pakistan’s push to defeat Taliban militants, while becoming a possible model for future Pakistani-Afghan co-operation. So, there has been a change of heart and mind in Kabul, while the unity to hunt Fazlullah is a visible out-come of Pak-Afghan diplomatic, defence and political ties.
“It is a good indication that the cooperation that had started after the President Ghani’s taking over is now taking shape” Sartaj Aziz added.
Both countries have a strong desire to strengthen bilateral relations, both want peace and progress in the region, completion of energy projects like Turkemanistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline and Central Asia South Asia (CASA) 1000 electricity grid and to enhance Pak-Afghan trade corridor to Tajikistan, Kyrghizstan and other Central Asian states but initially its very vital to root-out the real scourge of terrorism.
On the other hand, at diplomatic channels, Pakistan trying hard to bring China in the regional context, so that a balancing factor and guarantor for Afghan development should be in place to handle the three decades long disturbing situation while during Heart of Aisa – Istanbul Process conference held in Beijing, China made its very clear to all that she intends to play its imperative role not only in bringing peace between Pakistan and Afghanistan but also to develop a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan and stabilize the region at large.
On 31st December 2014, Premier Nawaz Sharif had telephonic conversation with President Dr. Ashraf Ghani on operation against terrorists on both side of the border area and stressed upon intensifying this derive. At the same date, Indian border security forces (BSF) opened fire on those ranger soldiers, who were going to confirm the Indian invitation to rangers officers for flag meeting with white flags in their hands. But, later on 2nd January 2015, Dr. Ghani invited Pakistan-Afghanistan security officials to have security talks in Kabul on January 8th, 2015 as follow-up of Premier Nawaz Sharif’s desire to well coordinate the security matters through diplomatic channels.
These all are the clear signs that Pakistan’s foreign and security policy along with Afghan futuristic vision is on wining node and the ultimate success would be for the both countries and for peace while after Ashraf Ghani’s presidency, coalition withdrawal, US support to reconciliation process, Pakistan’s futuristic diplomacy, clear stance on terrorism, operations in Pak-Afghan border areas, vanishing campaign to destroy TTP and true desire of brotherhood with Afghanistan brings India on edge and at defensive node but still it’s a dangerous new game right at the end game in Afghanistan, when International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is packing up from Afghanistan, India wants its roots in Afghanistan, northern alliance is protecting India’s stance in Kabul – subversive intelligence cum terror activities are chasing both Pakistan and Afghanistan and their economic and social progress is at stake. So, the circumstances depict that Pakistan and Afghanistan have to be very careful of regional power politics and resolve their mutual issues swiftly as both are skating over thin ice.