Pakistan didn’t win in Afghanistan, it’s only celebrating Indian defeat. It may be noted that Pakistan has been a victim of the Afghan war. This unending war actually began in 1979 with the arrival of Soviet Forces. The Indian propaganda machinery focused differently, then. However, Pakistan became a major victim of the Soviet War in Afghanistan. It is well known fact that a number of evils came into the Pakistani society as the Afghan war began. The Kalashnikov culture, increase in drugs and introduction of extremist version of Islam are one of the few. Most importantly, Pakistan did host millions of Afghan nationals in its boundaries. There was a cost to it, a high economic cost, on the top of everything. Yet, the world was not ready to appreciate for anything that Pakistan was doing.
Dealing with Mujahedeen in Afghanistan
Later, we saw that Pakistan was left to deal with the challenge of Mujahideen in Afghanistan on its own. Rather, the international community, and particularly the USA were introducing sanctions at that same time. The country was dealing with Afghan refugees, falling economy and an extremely destabilized nation at its borders. What was left for Pakistan was to support any form of stable government in Afghanistan which could lead to regional harmony. And so, Pakistan was supporting the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in the 1990s.
However, the September 11 attacks on World Trade Centre had again shifted the interest of global powers on Afghanistan. There were elements in Pakistan who were calling out to rationally deal with the crisis of terrorism at that time. Yet, the global powers were entirely focused on a unilateral agenda. It was to begin War on Terror in Afghanistan. Pakistan had no choice but to take its side with the international community. Resultantly, there was an extensive bloodshed within Pakistan. The same Mujahedeen were now fighting the Pakistani state.
The War on Terror
Several leaders, including the current Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, were asking the international powers to get out of Kabul and support the indigenous leadership to tackle the crisis. These advices were also not heard. And, resultantly, the Americans had to run away from the Afghan soil after spending approximately USD 2 Trillion, giving away the lives of American soldiers and destabilizing a region for 2 decades. It didn’t take weeks for Taliban to return and take over the reigns of Kabul. Interestingly, Mullah Omer had offered a much better retreat back in December 2001. He had sought general amnesty for Taliban while announcing that the group will completely cease its activities.
So now, what makes Pakistanis happy? There is a hue and cry in the Indian media with fictitious claims that Pakistan was backing Taliban. There are some international media entities following the same pattern of reporting against Pakistani military and its superior intelligence agency, the ISI. The question is definitely important. Why are Pakistanis happy with fall of Kabul. It brings in the stance: Pakistan didn’t win in Afghanistan, it’s only celebrating Indian defeat.
Historical Background of Indian Propaganda
There is a historical background for it. Pakistanis feel betrayed during the 1990s and do expect the same from the international powers. Moreover, Pakistan has been raising issue of extensive Indian involvement in Afghanistan, and then Pakistan, through its proxies there. Pakistanis have paid a heavy price in the War against Terror. These include over 70,000 lives, billions of dollars, a crumbling economy and an unstable government on its Western border. There are evidences of Indian support to militants in Pakistan. Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval has openly admitted of giving money to India’s opponents and supporting militancy in the region.
So, Pakistanis see it as a hope that the Afghan soil may not be used against Pakistan and its people with the arrival of a new government in Kabul. Although, it must be noted that several of these Taliban leaders have been languishing in Pakistani jails for years. And, this is a strong concern amongst the Pakistani government and the military. However, there are hopes that the new regime in Kabul will not act as a proxy for Indian infiltration in Pakistan.
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The future of the region is definitely uncertain. However, it really depends on the upcoming moves of Indian Establishment. The South Asian peace is definitely dependent on the same issue. It is imperative that the world understands Pakistan’s position and appreciates the role it played for the global peace. Instead of abandoning Pakistan or running propaganda campaigns, the global powers must collaborate with Pakistan for regional harmony and global peace.