New gov­ern­ment in Pak­istan will cre­ate fresh chal­lenge in Afghanistan

The elec­toral rules are be­ing gagged to cre­ate favourable re­sults. The me­dia houses are be­ing dic­tated and threat­ened. The hu­man rights ac­tivists are put be­hind the bars.

Alive - - News - by Prof. Satish Ku­mar

Asui­cide mem­ber of the banned Tehreek-iTal­iban Pak­istan (TTP) killed at least 20 peo­ple, in­clud­ing se­nior leader of Awami Na­tional Party (ANP) Bar­ris­ter Ha­roon Bilour. The TTP claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the sui­cide at­tack in Pe­shawar’s Yaka­toot area, the first in­ci­dent of ter­ror­ism since po­lit­i­cal par­ties started cam­paign­ing for the July 25 polls. ANP’s op­po­si­tion to the Tal­iban has made it a re­peated tar­get of ter­ror­ists. The se­ries of at­tacks have taken place since the date of elec­tion was de­clared in Pak­istan. The po­lit­i­cal at­mos­phere looks vi­cious. The co­horts of Army and Je­hadis are go­ing to de­cide the re­sults of Pak­istan Gen­eral elec­tion.

The most favourite party of Army is Im­ran Khan’s Pak­istan Tehrik-e-In­saf.

The out­reach of Pak­istan Mus­lim Le­gaue-Nawaj (PML-N) is much larger. But the de­lib­er­ate at­tempt by army to cut its size through mul­ti­ple ex­er­cises. Nawaz Sharif along with his po­lit­i­cal heir, daugh­ter, Mar­riam have de­barred from con­tests. The Supreme Court found them guilty de­clared 10 years and 7 years sen­tences for Nawaz Sharif and his daugh­ter re­spec­tively. Mumbai ter­ror at­tack mas­ter­mind Hafiz Saeed is also in elec­toral bat­tle with the ban­ner of Je­hadi Munch. The son and son-in-law of Hafiz Saeed are con­test­ing elec­tion un­der the ban­ner of Al­laho-Ak­bar Tehreek. The elec­toral rules are be­ing gagged to cre­ate favourable re­sults. The me­dia houses are be­ing dic­tated and threat­ened. The hu­man

rights ac­tivists are put be­hind the bar. The ju­di­ciary is toe­ing the line of the army.

con­se­quences

The con­se­quences of the re­sults would be fa­tal for the peo­ple of Pak­istan. The machi­na­tions will hurt In­dia and Afghanistan. The Army Chief new twist in for­eign pol­icy is to fo­cus on Chi­nese sup­ports and min­imise US in­flu­ence. The new doc­trine of Bazwa will have far reach­ing con­se­quences for In­dia and Afghanistan. The ter­ror­ist’s at­tacks both in In­dia and Afghanistan will in­crease. The space for peace will get a set­back. The US pres­sure will not work in the cur­rent con­di­tions. China is pro­vid­ing all lo­gis­ti­cal and in­ter­na­tional sup­ports to Pak­istan. A sec­tion of the Sikh com­mu­nity in Afghanistan was killed in sui­cide bomb at­tack in Jalal­abad. The Sikh com­mu­nity now num­ber fewer than 300 fam­i­lies in Afghanistan, which were home of more than 250,000 Sikhs and Hin­dus be­fore 1990s. There is place in Jalal­abad where it is be­lieved that Guru Nanak vis­ited in the 15th cen­tury.

This grue­some sui­ci­dal at­tack raised three fun­da­men­tal ques­tions.

Through the Me­dia sources ISIS has claimed this at­tack. First, is Afghanistan turn­ing the Third Home for ISIS af­ter Syria and Iraq?

Sec­ond what is the cat­e­gor­i­cal dif­fer­ence be­tween Tal­iban and ISIS? Why did the great power sketch a dif­fer­ent line on ter­ror? Last but not the least what would be the best op­tion avail­able for In­dia in the com­plex sce­nario?

ISIS

The US re­ports says more than 700 hun­dred ISIS fight­ers are present in the ter­rain of Afghanistan. The Rus­sian sources said more than ten thou­sands ISIS af­fil­i­ates are there. What­ever the num­ber, the strength of ISIS is bal­loon­ing in Afghanistan. The first bell rang in 2014 when the US was sup­posed to with­draw its troops from Afghanistan. Since then its pres­ence and vi­o­lent acts have in­creased many times. There is large num­ber of dis­sat­is­fied Tal­iban’s are present in the new fold of ISIS. Their tar­gets are civil­ians, mainly the nonMus­lim com­mu­nity.

One of the pop­u­lar video of ISIS in Afghanistan is very pop­u­lar which pro­claimed, “O You Mus­lims in ev­ery cor­ner of the world, im­mi­grate to Kho­rasan, if you are in­ca­pable of im­mi­grat­ing to Iraq and Syria, come to Kho­rasan.” The name of Kho­rasan refers to a his­toric re­gion which in­cludes parts of mod­ern day Afghanistan, Pak­istan and neigh­bour­ing coun­tries. The ISIS fight­ers feel­ing bat­tle­fields in Syria and

Iraq are find­ing their way to Afghanistan, where the group has a po­tent pres­ence.

There is con­ver­gence of in­ter­ests be­tween ISIS and Tal­iban to sup­port Pak­istan led Army ven­ture against In­dia. The me­dia sources said the bomb­ing was al­legedly per­pe­trated by the Tal­iban un­der the pa­tron­age of Pak­istan’s in­tel­li­gence agency In­terSer­vice In­tel­li­gence (ISI). A month ago, a prom­i­nent Sikh re­li­gious leader Cha­ran­jit Singh Sa­gar was shot dead in the Pe­shawar city of Khy­ber

Pakhtunkhwa prov­ince in Pak­istan.

More­over ISIS which is op­er­at­ing from Afghanistan is in­de­pen­dent and not con­trolled by Syr­ian or Iraqi group in acts they are in­de­pen­dent. They em­brace the la­bel, and they swear al­le­giance to Bagh­dadi, but are not con­trolled by IS from Syria or Iraq. The Afghan IS groups are lo­cal and fa­mil­iar with the dif­fi­cult ter­rain of Afghanistan. There­fore, US forces fail to nav­i­gate their move­ment. The group is also aided by steady sup­ply of the Pak­istani Talibans as well as rad­i­calised Afghan. The groups op­er­ate mostly in the Nanaghar prov­ince near the bor­der of Pak­istan. The group was us­ing Afghanistan and Pak­istan as a re­cruit­ing ground, try­ing to find fight­ers who would travel to Syria and Iraq.

Ide­olo­gies

The group has dif­fer­ent ide­olo­gies and goals. The hos­til­ity that ISIS bears to­wards the Tal­iban stems from the fact that the Tal­iban draws its le­git­i­macy not from a univer­sal Is­lamic creed, but from a nar­row eth­nic and na­tion­al­is­tic breed. The ISIS tries to es­tab­lish a Caliphate en­com­pass­ing the en­tire Ummah (Mus­lim Com­mu­nity) the Tal­iban seeks to es­tab­lish an Afghan state that they claim is ruled by Is­lamic law. The groups are also in com­pe­ti­tion for mem­bers and re­sources. Both rely on money from the heroin trade to fund then op­er­a­tions.

The US and Rus­sia are di­vided lot on ISIS in Afghanistan. Rus­sia be­lieved that ISIS pres­ence

is in­ten­si­fied in north­ern and east­ern Afghanistan. Rus­sian pol­icy mak­ers have em­pha­sized the ISIS threat to unite anti-west­ern na­tion­al­ist in the world. Rus­sian of­fi­cials have ar­gued that the US pol­i­cy­mak­ers have be­come com­pla­cent about the Is­lamic State’s abil­ity to threaten re­gional sta­bil­ity. Rus­sia found ISIS as a ma­jor se­cu­rity chal­lenge and claimed over 10,000 ISIS mil­i­tants present in Afghanistan. Rus­sia has fo­cussed on the ISIS threat in Afghanistan to es­tab­lish more mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial al­liances with its Cen­tral Asian part­ners.

Trade

In­dia is a ma­jor coun­try in re­shap­ing the eco­nomic and mil­i­tary struc­ture of Afghanistan. More than 150 In­dian en­gi­neers and tech­ni­cal ex­perts are work­ing in ma­jor in­fras­truc­tural projects in Afghanistan. In 2017 In­dia and Afghanistan in­au­gu­rated two air­cor­ri­dors to boost con­nec­tiv­ity and it has re­sulted in sig­nif­i­cance in­crease in trade vol­umes. As a part of the next gen­er­a­tion “New De­vel­op­ment Part­ner­ship” In­dia is now im­ple­ment­ing 116 new high im­pact de­vel­op­ment projects in 31 prov­inces of Afghanistan and is im­part­ing train­ing to Afghan se­cu­rity per­son­nel. In­dia is a ma­jor trad­ing part­ner for Afghanistan. In­dia is also the big­gest donor to Afghanistan and 5th largest donor glob­ally.

To counter the In­dia’s ini­tia­tive, Pak­istan is do­ing ev­ery­thing to dis­rupt the ap­ple cart. Pak­istan is a ma­jor non-NATO ally bor­ders Afghanistan and has been a key route for US sup­plies into the coun­try. It has also ac­cord­ing to US and Afghan of­fi­cials been a ma­jor route for ter­ror­ist groups and fund­ing, par­tic­u­larly the HAQQANI NET­WORK. Pak­istan for­eign pol­icy, its ac­tions in Afghanistan is shaped by re­la­tions with its ri­vals In­dia. Is­lam­abad fears an In­dian dom­i­nated or closely al­lied Afghanistan would leave it en­cir­cled and vul­ner­a­ble in any po­ten­tial con­flict. Is­lam­abad seeks a weak Kabul gov­ern­ment dom­i­nated by a pli­ant, sup­port­ive Tal­iban so that Pak­istan. Chi­nese for­eign min­istry said, “The in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity should fully recog­nise Pak­istan’s anti-ter­ror­ism ef­forts and ap­pre­ci­ate its “im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tions to safe­guard­ing re­gional and global peace and sta­bil­ity.” Bei­jing is also in­vest­ing up­wards of $ 46 bil­lion in the China-Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor CPECas part of its One Belt One Road trad­ing ini­tia­tive which China has called Afghanistan to be a ma­jor player.

The con­di­tion is pre­car­i­ous. In­dia un­der lead­er­ship of Modi is cre­at­ing a new wave in world pol­i­tics. The Chi­nese at­tempts are to de­ter In­dian in­flu­ence in its sur­round­ing ar­eas. The re­cent at­tempts are be­ing made by China to al­lure and hi­jack Nepal from In­dia. China has pumped huge amounts of cash for Pak­istan’s forth­com­ing elec­tions. The China is try­ing to cre­ate an Asian Or­der where the space for In­dia is syn­chro­nised. The other pow­ers like the US and Rus­sia are di­vided on many is­sues which con­cerned In­dia. This is a defin­ing mo­ment for In­dian for­eign pol­icy. The US pres­sure on In­dia to de­bunk Iran is an­other chal­lenge. There is no doubt the In­dian lead­er­ship is not go­ing to be di­rected or held hostage of any power, be it Amer­ica.

ISIS, which is op­er­at­ing from Afghanistan is in­de­pen­dent and not con­trolled by Syr­ian.

Sikh re­li­giousleader Cha­ran­jit Singh Sa­garwas shot dead in the Pe­shawarcity .

The US pres­sure on In­dia to de­bunk Iran is a chal­lenge.

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