Skip to main content

Why Pakistan is the winner of the longest war in Afghanistan


Pakistan is celebrating the Taliban’s victory. A faction of its deep state had been working to return the Taliban to power since 2001.

ELI LAKE

Taliban fighters guard outside the airport in Kabul on 31 August 2021 | Bloomberg
Taliban fighters guard outside the airport in Kabul on 31 August 2021 | Bloomberg

As Washington ponders how the U.S. lost its longest war in Afghanistan, it’s worth considering another question: Who won the war?

There is the Taliban, of course, the fanatics who have formed an interim government featuring several wanted terrorists. But an even bigger winner may be the Taliban’s primary patron: Pakistan.

Most U.S. allies expressed shock, sadness and anger at the Taliban’s victory last month in Kabul. But Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan celebrated the rout of Afghanistan’s elected government, saying the Taliban had “broken the shackles of slavery.”

For much of the war on terror that began after 9/11, Pakistan played a double game. It occasionally helped track and detain al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders. In 2010, Pakistani and U.S. special operations forces arrested Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Karachi. All the while, however, elements of the Pakistani military and intelligence services provided sanctuary, funding and training for the Taliban and its allies in the lethal terrorist group known as the Haqqani network.

For the first 10 years of the Afghanistan war, this was an issue that the U.S. and Pakistan preferred to debate in private. After the Haqqani network orchestrated a truck bombing at a NATO outpost near Kabul and an assault on the U.S. embassy there in September 2011, Admiral Mike Mullen, then the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, broke the silence. “The Haqqani network acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency,” he said.


Mullen’s accusation should have surprised no one. A few months earlier, the U.S. had killed Osama bin Laden, who was then living comfortably in Abbottabad, home of the Pakistan’s equivalent of West Point. There is a reason Mullen didn’t give his Pakistani counterparts advance notice of that raid.

Between 2001 and 2011, the U.S. provided Pakistan with more than $20 billion in military assistance. That subsidy began to decrease after 2011. In 2018, with a few narrow national-security exceptions, the U.S. suspended security assistance.

The restrictions and eventual suspension of military aid were really the only ways the U.S. ever tried to punish its ostensible client. By his second term, President Barack Obama was looking for a way to get out of Afghanistan. And while there was a modest surge of forces in President Donald Trump’s first year in office, his administration ended up negotiating the surrender that President Joe Biden just completed.

So it’s no wonder that Pakistan is celebrating the Taliban’s victory. A faction of its deep state had been working to return the Taliban to power since 2001.

So far, the Biden administration has kept silent about Pakistan’s betrayal. Remarkably, a remnant of Afghan patriots has not. On Tuesday, protesters in Kabul demanded that Pakistan not intervene in their sovereign affairs.

It would be nice if there were some official show of U.S. support for these courageous protesters. But it’s unlikely. As Biden has said many times in the last several months, the post-withdrawal plan is for the U.S. to retain an “over the horizon” capability to target terrorists in Afghanistan. That means the U.S. will need Pakistan’s approval for flights over its airspace.

America’s “forever war” in Afghanistan may be over. But just across the border, in Pakistan, America’s former client still holds leverage over the superpower it helped defeat. –Bloomberg


https://theprint.in/opinion/why-pakistan-is-the-winner-of-the-longest-war-in-afghanistan/731138/

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Menon meets Karzai, discusses security of Indians

Kabul/New Delhi/Washington, March 5 (IANS) India Friday said that the Feb 26 terror attack in Kabul will not deter it from helping rebuild Afghanistan as National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon met Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul to review the security of around 4,000 Indians working in that country. Menon, who arrived here Friday morning on a two-day visit, discussed with Karzai some proposals to bolster security of Indians engaged in a wide array of reconstruction activities, ranging from building roads, bridges and power stations to social sector projects. The Indian government is contemplating a slew of steps to secure Indians in Afghanistan, including setting up protected venues where the Indians working on various reconstruction projects will be based. Deploying dedicated security personnel at places where Indians work is also being considered. Menon also met his Afghan counterpart Rangin Dadfar Spanta and enquired about the progress in the probe into the Kabul atta

Iran is losing the game to regional actors in its strategic depth

Rethink before It’s Too Late http://www.irdiplomacy.ir/index.php?Lang=en&Page=21&TypeId=15&ArticleId=7108&BranchId=19&Action=ArticleBodyView Iran is losing the game to regional actors in its strategic depth –Afghanistan. By Houman Dolati It is no more a surprise to see Iran absent in Afghanistan affairs. Nowadays, the Bonn Conference and Iran’s contributions to Afghanistan look more like a fading memory. Iran, which had promised of loans and credit worth five-hundred million dollars for Afghanistan, and tried to serve a key role, more than many other countries, for reconstruction and stabilization of Afghanistan, is now trying to efface that memory, saying it is a wrong path, even for the international community. Iran’s empty seat in the Rome Conference was another step backward for Afghanistan’s influential neighbor. Many other countries were surprised with Iran’s absence. Finding out the vanity of its efforts to justify absence in Rome, Iran tried to start its

Pakistani firm whose chemicals were used to kill US troops seeks subsidy for Indiana plant

By Jennifer Griffin, Justin Fishel Published March 22, 2013   A Pakistani fertilizer maker whose chemicals have been used in 80 percent of the roadside bombs that have killed and maimed American troops in Afghanistan is now seeking U.S. taxpayer subsidies in order to open a factory in Indiana.  The request appears to be on hold pending further review, but the situation has stirred outrage in Congress, where some accuse the Pakistani government of halting efforts to clamp down on the bomb-making.  For the past seven years, the U.S. government has known that the raw material calcium ammonium nitrate, or CAN, is making its way across the border into Afghanistan where the Taliban use it to fuel their most deadly weapons, namely the improvised explosive device. IEDs have long been the number one killer of U.S. and coalition troops.  The material largely comes from Pakistani fertilizer maker the Fatima Group. But the Pakistani government has stymied attempts by the Pentagon to stop the