Why Pakistan interferes in Afghanistan

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by Yusuf, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    A strong, independent Afghanistan is perceived as an existential threat to Pakistan

    Just why is Pakistan interested in installing a friendly regime in Afghanistan? Books and articles written over the last couple of decades, will offer arguments such as the need for strategic depth to counter India; the need to prevent an Indian encirclement of Pakistan; and, even more grandly, the creation of an Islamic centre of power that stretches from the shores of the Arabian Sea to the Caucasus Mountains. Going by the statements of members of the Pakistani establishment and some of its commentators, these do appear to explain why Pakistan seeks to dominate Afghanistan.

    Yet, to a large extent, the ambition and the paranoia that motivates these objectives are in the realm of fantasy. Some important people in Pakistan do believe in these fantasies—and we must take them seriously, because those important people can and do act on the basis of their delusions. However, there is also an argument to be made that these fantasies, paranoias and strategic sophistries mask the real motive.

    The reality is that Pakistan seeks to dominate Afghanistan for the fear of its own dismemberment. Until the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, Islamabad’s main agenda was to prevent Kabul-supported Pashtun and Baloch nationalism from escalating into full-blown movements for independence. The strength of Pashtun nationalism and Kabul’s rejection of the Durand Line—both of which continue to this day—create deep insecurities in Islamabad, causing it to bolster Islamism as an ideological counter, instigate political instability in Afghanistan and attempt to install a friendly regime there.


    Photo: Zengame

    It is a matter of historical record that Pakistan—under President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto—began training Islamist militants in 1973, long before the Soviet invasion. Burhanuddin Rabbani, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Ahmed Shah Massoud received training in Pakistani camps so that Bhutto could counter Kabul’s “forward policy” towards Pakistan. Kabul’s policies over the Durand Line had caused Pakistan to close its borders with Afghanistan in 1961. When the Baloch insurgency erupted in the early 1970s, Kabul, under the Daoud regime, supported it.

    Bhutto’s response was to nurture proxies in the form of Islamist militants—an old trick for the Pakistani establishment—under the leadership of the then Brigadier Naseerullah Babar, who as Inspector-General of the Frontier Corps, set up training camps in North and South Waziristan. More than 5000 militants were thus trained between 1973-1977. This took place, it must be stressed, before the Soviets invaded in 1979. The narrative that most people accept—that Pakistan’s sponsorship of the mujahideen was a response to Soviet invasion of Afghanistan—is factually incorrect. Rizwan Hussain’s Pakistan and the Emergence of Islamic Militancy in Afghanistan has a good account of this.

    The Pakistani establishment fears that a strong independent Afghanistan—like the one that existed up to the mid-1970s—will pursue an irredentist agenda, claiming the Pashtun areas of Pakistan. People in the tribal regions of Pakistan have only a tenuous association with the Pakistani state. Even for people in the so-called “settled areas” of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province (formerly the North West Frontier Province), age-old Pashtun solidarity is often stronger than allegiance to a new-fangled geopolitical entity called Pakistan. Afghanistan can well decide to again support the insurgency in Balochistan to weaken the Pakistan state enough to prise out the Pashtun lands for itself. Pakistani strategists, therefore, can see an existential threat in a strong, independent Afghanistan.

    They can’t, however, state this as the official reason because to do so would be to admit the hollowness of the idea of Pakistan. That is where fantastic notions of strategic depth, pre-empting strategic encirclement or building a Central Asian caliphate come in useful. “Strategic depth” is a plausible justification to convince patriotic Pakistanis of why their military is interfering in Afghanistan. Islamabad’s case appears a lot more ‘understandable’ to international opinion if it cites the fear of Indian encirclement, rather than fear of Pashtun and Baloch self-determination as the explanations for its actions. Domestic and foreign Islamists will be enthused by the idea of flying the green flag of Islam all the way to the borders of Russia.

    There are two broad ways to address Pakistan’s insecurities. First, the Pakistani military-jihadi complex might be persuaded to stop destabilising Afghanistan if it were convinced that Kabul will not lay claim to Pashtun lands east of the Durand Line. In practice that would be nearly impossible, not least because Afghan nationalism will not accept it. Even Mullah Omar’s Taliban regime—despite owing its power to Pakistani support—didn’t.

    The other way is for Pakistan to evolve a political and economic framework where all its citizens, including the Pashtun and the Baloch, see a common, shared future. In other words, this requires Pakistan “to get its act together” and assure its citizens of equity, justice, rule-of-law and a promise of a better tomorrow. All of Pakistan’s neighbours including Afghanistan will, as it is in their interests to co-operate with Islamabad towards this end. For a number of reasons—the most importance of which is the military-jihadi complex—Pakistan’s leaders are unwilling to take this course.

    Therefore, some matters will be decided by the force of arms. If at all.

    Nitin Pai is the editor of Pragati

    http://pragati.nationalinterest.in/2012/06/why-pakistan-interferes-in-afghanistan/
     
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  3. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

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    Indeed, never a doubt about that. It is the deep fear psychosis of dismemberment of their north-west region that they have made all those stories. Pashtun nationalism has a very strong resonance amongst the locals across the border and Pakistan has been faced with 3 or 4 small time insurgencies by the Pashuns, before the whole mujahideen business was started.

    Pakistan would be foolish to believe that if one day the Afghan Taliban come to rule, they will give up on the Afghan claim on the north-western Pakistani territories and there won't erupt a full blown insurgency in that part of the country with their support. If one goes by the accounts of Abdul Salam Zaeef, it shows how deeply suspicious the Taliban have been of the Pakistanis irrespective of all the support provided to them.
     
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  4. farhan_9909

    farhan_9909 Tihar Jail Banned

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    Because we have almost 10% of afghan in our country both legal and illegal.
    100% of there trade is through Pakistan

    Because of there large presence in pakistan and trade route and them being famous for drugs,smuggling,stealing and all wrong business.they are threat to us.
     
  5. Srinivas_K

    Srinivas_K Senior Member Senior Member

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    The author is spot on ...!!!

    There is a Pashtun sentiment on either side of Durand line, And The people on either side of the Durand line do not consider it as a boundary line. Pakistan is nervous about this Pashtun sentiment and reason for supporting Taliban, they wanted to unify their territories based on Islam.
     
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  6. Sal12

    Sal12 Regular Member

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    Pashtuns are the most vibrant ethinic community of Pak and they are everywhere in Pak. There are more Pashtuns in Karachi than Peshawar. Pashtuns are not more than 20% of Pak but the % of Pashtuns in Pak civil service and armed forced exceeds 25%. Pak is still the largest country of Pashtuns in the world and the Pashtuns in Pak are twice the Pashtuns of Afanistabn. Then we have millions of Afgan Pashtuns living illegally in Karachi, Peshawar and other parts of Pak. Therefore there is no issue of Pashtuns nationalism in Pak. Even Taliban doesn't want a separate homeland. They want to impose their version of Sharia on Pak.

    Afganistan is a land locked country and it deponds on Pakistan for its trade with out side world. Then there are millions of Afgans living in Pak as well. This is why Pak has strong influence on Afganistan.
     
  7. Keshav Murali

    Keshav Murali Back to studies :( Senior Member

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    @Ray, @t_co,

    Perhaps this thread needs your contributions?
     
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  8. Srinivas_K

    Srinivas_K Senior Member Senior Member

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    The highlighted part is a delusion mate ,

    It is not like Afghanistan is inside Pakistan, it has other countries like Iran and C.Asia countries through which trade can be done. One of the reason Pakistan is a key to Afghanistan peace is Pakistan's support to Taliban, the day Taliban agrees to share power in Afghanistan Pak role will become lesser.

    Secondly Afghanistan survived as a single country for centuries and it is a false assumption, that with out Pakistan Afghanistan will not survive.

    Thirdly Pashtun Nationalism do exist, But Taliban are a distraction to that movement, remove sharia,Islam etc...etc...., You can see the truth on the ground.
     
  9. rock127

    rock127 Maulana Rockullah Senior Member

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    Or you are simply scared that Afgans would one day ask for a "piece" of Pakistan since they don't recognize Durand Line or they would ask for a separate state asking for "Plebiscite"? :lol:
     
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  10. t_co

    t_co Senior Member Senior Member

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    I'll bite.

    First off, the notion that Pakistan is threatened by a strong and independent Afghanistan is flawed. Pakistan's national fabric is not as ethnically divided, or "hollow", as Indian strategists like to think. Even if it were, Afghanistan itself is so ethnically divided between Pashtuns, Uzbeks, Balochs, and other ethnicities that any excessive feelings of ethnic solidarity in Afghanistan would more likely be turned inwards - dividing Afghanistan - rather than reflecting outwards into irredentist claims onto Pakistani soil. Furthermore, even if Afghanistan were to start claiming Pakistani territory on the basis of ethnic identity, all of Afghanistan's neighbors would immediately be threatened by such a move, given how the three largest Afghan ethnicities all spill over into parts of Iran, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan as well as Pakistan - and all of those neighbors themselves are vulnerable to such claims. An irredentist Afghanistan would become a pariah to all of its immediate neighbors at once, threatening each of their existences as functioning nation-states, likely triggering intervention from either Iran or one of the other countries (which are all under the Russian/Chinese security umbrella of the SCO) - and hence be squashed like a bug between the VDV, Chinese money, and the Revolutionary Guards.

    Ergo, a "strong and independent" Afghanistan would by and large have to ignore the intersection between ethnic identity and international borders if it wanted to survive.

    Rawalpindi likely understands this. I think Pakistan "interferes" in Afghanistan because it feels

    1) a sense of ethnic kinship
    2) that Afghanistan is a source of strategic depth vs. India

    Of the two reasons, #1 is probably the largest reason for "interference", insofar as Pakistan is the nation that lets ethnic feelings drive foreign policy - e.g. trying to reunify all of Kashmir. Such ideas don't really make sense from an outside perspective, but when viewed through Pakistani politics, they make sense - politicians need to appeal to certain ethnic vote banks to get elected; security and military officials band together along ethnic lines to get promoted. Since such actions not only piss off India, but also Iran, Pakistan should rein such a phenomenon in before the NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan removes its de facto security guarantee from Uncle Sam.

    #2 is probably a dead reason - Pakistan's "strategic depth" no longer hinges on being able to wage an active retreat in the face of the Sundarji doctrine; Pakistan has nukes now, and that is where its strategic depth will come from in the future. If Germany were to suddenly become irredentist again, you would not see France stating that it needs Spain as a backyard; France would feel secure knowing it has nuclear missiles that can glass Berlin and Frankfurt in under twenty minutes.
     
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  11. Sal12

    Sal12 Regular Member

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    Afganistan is a landlocked country and nearly 3/4 of its trade deponds on Pak. The central Asian republics are also land locked and some of them want to use Gwadar port in future as this is the nearest route for them to the sea.

    These pashtuns reigons were part of India and Afghanistan throughout the history. Afganistan itself was formed as a state by Ahmed Shah Abdali in the middle of 18th century. Ranjit Singh has conquered the Pashtuns reigns of present day of Pak in 1820s and made them the part of his Sikh empire. Then British defeated Sikhs in 1849 and made the Pashtun reiogns part of the British India. Though Durand line was made legal only in 1890. Then Pak inherited these lands from British in 1947. So technically speaking the Pashtuns reigons of Pak were not in the custody of Afgans from past 200 years and Afgahnistan itself was formed as a state only in the middle of 18th century.
     
  12. SATISH

    SATISH DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

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    MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS LIBRARY

    As the Americans did not want to indulge Iran in talks this huge asset of bypassing Pakistan just withered away. Pakistan land route is used by the US just because they could not negotiate a proper deal with the Iranians.
     
  13. farhan_9909

    farhan_9909 Tihar Jail Banned

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    Indians are completely wrong at many parts

    as per latest studies pashtuns in pakistan are more than 35millions+5-6millions afghan pashtun refugees while in afghanistan they are less than 8millions if we exclude the refugees part completely from them.

    all of the major pashtun tribes are in pakistan now.infact 90% of the major pashtun tribes are in pakistan now..60% of rich afghan's has now even got Pakistani CNIC.

    so the remaining pashtuns in afghanistan either are tajikized pashtuns or uzbekized since they have forgotten there language for dari..

    Urdu is still not the official language of pakistan or KPK while dari/persian is now official language of afghanistan.

    Pashtuns in pakistan indeed has soft heart for afghan pashtuns but this is now changing quite faster..infact alot faster.In Pakistan or 80% of the world pashtuns now consider Afghan pashtuns as "KABULI"..which means they are not anymore considered the true pashtuns by 80% of the world pashtuns or pakistani pashtuns.

    meanwhile when the tajik and uzbek are now demanding the khorosan..the remaining pashtunistan when created will be very very small.it will either join KPK under pak or remain a orphan state of Pakistan
     
  14. farhan_9909

    farhan_9909 Tihar Jail Banned

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    Iran hate taliban so much that they even sided with america against taliban.
    and you know taliban hate shia much more than they hate jews...

    it is impossible that iran will one day open a complete route for supply line of afghanistan

    Aur afghan's ki itni aukaat ni k they opt for route through central asia and than europe/turkey.

    Gwadar is just 400km from afghan pak chaman checkpost border.

    Unless pakistan ban the supply line for afghanistan..for the next 3-4 decade they again will rely on us.

    let the govt change and the coalition forces leave..

    Afghan govt will again lick the boots of pakistani generals
     
  15. farhan_9909

    farhan_9909 Tihar Jail Banned

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    i dont know what the hell is this strategic dept.
    why would we consider afghanistan as strategic dept when we have never in the past 60 years sent our supply or troops there.

    as Tco said

    Nukes are the strategic dept now..deal with it or taste it
     
  16. farhan_9909

    farhan_9909 Tihar Jail Banned

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    Pakistan has 35-40millions of pashtuns(including the afghan refugees)
    Afghanistna has only 8millions of pashtuns(excluding the afghan refugees)

    now tell me who holds more rights for the pashtunistan
     
  17. DivineHeretic

    DivineHeretic Senior Member Senior Member

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    The problem with making a single entity the epicentre of any plan, be it economy, energy, rule, foreign policy or defence is that should the entity unravel upon itself or be neutralised, you are left clutching at straws.

    You have already felt the experience of having your epicentres fall apart in rule (making Islam the sole focal point of unity) & foreign policy (Having revolved your entire foreign policy around USA). And yet your nation refuses to take lessons.

    Not that I am complaining, hey, Never correct your enemy when he making a mistake.

    As for Nukes, well, there are somethings better left unsaid. Experiences make a better teacher, you see.
     
  18. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    you guys want a place to run way, when we attack you.
     
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  19. datguy79

    datguy79 Regular Member

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    The amount of mental gymnastics by some members in this thread is astounding.

    - The number of Afghans who want a greater Pashtunistan are a minority even among the Pashtuns, even though this minority is much more vocal in its views. Most in Afghanistan realize that we can't handle an extra 25 million people, some of whom have been "Punjabized" to an extent that they would threaten the moral fabric of Afghan society.
    - For those gushing about trade, you have no idea how trading works. Countries do not trade between each other as much as traders of those specific countries (aka the private sector) determine the economic policies of that nation, and this is more true for Afghanistan than for probably any other country in the region. The government facilitates ways for enhancement of trade, not trade itself.
    - Continuing from my last point, the loss to Afghanistan from Pakistan sealing the border (which they have no money to do LOL) will be negligible since we already have full access to the Iranian ports of Bandar Abbas and Chahbahar as well as the Euroasian rail network, and we are also currently constructing the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan railway network. In fact, Pakistan will suffer way more because it will lose one of its largest markets (which it regularly uses for price dumping) and the only practical and cheapest way to Central Asia.
    - I am with farhaan on sending the refugees back and closing the border. I believe that is the only way to bring peace. We will mine the border and shoot anyone with a gun trying to cross. However, Pakistan lacks the finances, resources, and manpower to fence the border.
    - In regards to t_co's comment, irredentist tendencies have only been expressed by a group of Pashtuns and never by any other ethnicity. Your thoughts amount to throwing the proverbial shit on a board and hoping it sticks.
    - If any members feel like throwing around numbers, I would request for them to back them up with sources, otherwise your claims have no validity.
    - The most ridiculous of the claims thus far is the one where Pashtuns somehow have more power in Pakistan, notwithstanding the fact that they rule Afghanistan and have the lions share of government jobs, land and military command.:rofl:
     
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  20. pankaj nema

    pankaj nema Senior Member Senior Member

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    Guys This is NOT Rocket Science

    Punjabi Pashtun Rivalry is several centuries old Punjabis JUST DO NOT trust
    the pashtuns

    Historically Pakistani Punjabis were RULED by Afghans Turks and Other Central Asians

    The Maharaja of Punjab RANJIT SINGH was the only Punjabi Ruler of Punjab

    Today numerically speaking Paki Punjabis are in bigger numbers

    So they feel that they have every right to meddle in the affairs of Afghans
     
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  21. pankaj nema

    pankaj nema Senior Member Senior Member

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    Guys Read this Article

    What Punjab can do and what it has never done - Ayaz Amir

    This EXPLAINS Paki Punjabi Thinking and Mentality or rather PARANOIA

    Some EXCERPTS :

    For over 2000 years, from Alexander’s invasion to the Partition of British India in 1947, only one ruler of ability and distinction in its turbulent history, the great Maharajah Ranjit Singh. Apart from him, governors and vassals in plenty but no independent ruler, principally because Punjab was never an independent kingdom except when Ranjit Singh raised it to that status.

    Afghan kings, kings of Turkish origin, Mughal emperors but only one Punjabi king. So while Punjab had other strong traditions, in agriculture, music, poetry, dancing, and, I daresay, the sycophantic arts which come so readily to subjugated people, the one tradition its superior classes lacked was that of leadership.
     

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