Im­pli­ca­tions of US stay in Afghanistan

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS -

SIG­NALLING a clear de­par­ture from its ear­lier com­mit­ment of wind ing up its cam­paign in war rav­aged Afghanistan, the US said on Fri­day that its mil­i­tary would play a big­ger role in the days to come in com­bat­ing the Tal­iban in Afghanistan. The de­ci­sion has been greatly hailed by the Afghan au­thor­i­ties say­ing this would help boost the ca­pac­ity of strug­gling lo­cal forces. How­ever in our view the new de­ci­sion is fraught with in­tri­ca­cies and car­ries se­ri­ous im­pli­ca­tions for the re­gion, which al­ready has been hit hard by pro­longed con­flicts.

Also con­demn­ing the US de­ci­sion, Chief of Ja­mat-i-Is­lami Si­raj ul Haq termed the ex­ten­sion of US forces in Afghanistan as a se­ri­ous threat to re­gional peace. The fears ex­pressed by the JI chief we be­lieve are not un­founded and un­jus­ti­fied. In fact, over­stay of US forces smacks of foul play and in­di­cate that Wash­ing­ton has pre­pared some new agenda for the re­gion. It is un­der­stood that widening of US mil­i­tary pres­ence would once again trig­ger bloody clashes be­tween the Afghan Tal­iban and the USAfghan troops, be­cause Afghans have al­ways de­tested the pres­ence of for­eign mil­i­tary boots on their home­land. All this would have se­ri­ous im­pli­ca­tions and not serve the pur­pose of bring­ing Afghan Tal­iban back to ne­go­ti­a­tions. Se­condly the de­ci­sion would also af­fect Pak­istan’s coun­tert­er­ror­ism op­er­a­tion, which so far has pro­duced ex­cel­lent re­sults. We, there­fore, ask the US to re­view its de­ci­sion as the mil­i­tary op­tion in Afghanistan has not paid any div­i­dends but only added to com­plex­i­ties and wors­ened the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion. To end the con­flict, all stake­hold­ers should reen­er­gise their ef­forts for Afghan peace and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion process, which has been spoiled by the killing of Tal­iban Chief Mul­lah Akhtar Man­sour. It is not go­ing to be an easy task to bring the Tal­iban back to the peace process es­pe­cially af­ter the killing of their chief but this is the only vi­able op­tion to bring long term peace and sta­bil­ity in the coun­try.

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