Afghanistan and helping hands -The Nation

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In the pursuit of foreign policy objectives, states adopt different strategies, one of which is military in nature. The military is often referred to as a tool that enables the state to implement its policies. In fact, one of the main prerequisites of a credible state actor is to develop the military compatibilities and political will, to back its diplomacy by force when necessary. The use of force is considered as the ultimate tool of international relations following the Clausewitzian conception of war. Thus, affirming the political theory of war which argues that in a world of competing states, the basis of diplomacy, and of all contractual obligations beyond the boundaries of the state, rest on the capacity to use violence to protect the state and to protect one’s interest in the face of opposition.

It’s also significant to mention that the use of force is not the only solution, not even a permanent one. History is replete with examples wherein wars brought more devastation and destruction, especially in recent centuries. As Churchill had said, “War is too serious a business to be left to the generals alone“. Reconstruction, rehabilitation and reforms are essential to go side by side for which not only resources are needed but, above all, will.

The military philosophy says that war termination strategy is more difficult than the war initiation strategy. And in the words of Napoleon, “I don’t start a war before I see it’s end”. Therefore, the Afghan war has taught us many lessons. It’s celebration for some and embarrassment for others. At the moment however, the main concern is to address the plight of the Afghans. The same goes for the neighbouring states of Afghanistan; they not only have to desist in taking credit of their policies or analysis but join hands to assist humanity.

Sanity is prevailing as the West is being urged to unfreeze Afghanistan’s assets. Pakistan is very active on that front ever since the foreign forces left Afghanistan. On September 9, the foreign minister of Qatar visited Pakistan with same peaceful agenda. It’s important to remember that Qatar is the country which had established Taliban’s office ten years back. It is also the country from where negotiations between the Taliban and the West started. On September 10, the foreign minister of Spain also visited Pakistan.

There is no doubt that the USA is also active on its part to address the issues and visits of the Director of the CIA to Pakistan and Afghanistan have been of greater significance. However, his visit to India and meetings with Mr Ajit Doval are to be seen carefully. He might have gone to ask them to refrain from spoiling positive efforts in Afghanistan, but Indians might give it a different angle.

There was a meeting between intelligence heads of all neighbouring countries on September 11 in Islamabad. It was hosted by the ISI Head Lieutenant, General Faiz Hameed. Other heads from Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan and Tajikistan also attended. Such meetings indicate how serious the regional countries are to assist the country which has been in war mode for about four decades at a stretch. As neighbours, these countries are the most effected and might face the repercussions if a human crises arises out of Afghanistan. The world has realised that Pakistan is part of the solution and not the problem, thankfully so.

Post-Taliban apprehensions are proving wrong. The evacuation of foreigners from Kabul is still on peacefully as Qatar Airways took more than 100 passengers recently and resumed flight operations with the help of Turkey. The hate towards the Taliban seems to be dying down due their actions so far.

Pakistan, on its part, is not only trying to convince the world to come out with help but has already chipped in with the little resources it has, on humanitarian grounds. The Pakistan Airforce (PAF) has airlifted relief goods to Kabul and Kandahar. Another went to Khost as well. The first flight took around 10 tonnes of flour, 1.5 tonnes of oil and a huge quantity of emergency medicines. As the government has stated, this is just the beginning and Pakistan would try assist in whatever little capacity it has. The activity is likely to continue for weeks and months, as the Pakistani ambassador to Kabul has announced. Pakistan’s public and private sectors and charity organisations will be sending humanitarian supplies in a systematic way. Besides air routes, goods would be transported through land routes as well, through the Torkham and Chaman borders.

The world needs to show up with food and medicine for Afghanistan. Therefore, there should be no sanctions on such provisions. It has to be apolitical and based on a humanitarian basis. The whole activity is time sensitive. Delay in decisions or provisions can be catastrophic and counterproductive. Let’s not repeat the attitude of the 1980s and the Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The UN seems short of action, like the OIC. In the absence of neutral bodies, representing a substantial number of countries is more acceptable to warring countries even. The question of ‘inclusive’ or ‘exclusive’ can be sorted out later. We say that the Afghans are to decide their fate themselves, so rest of the world should refrain from dictating the type of government they should have in their country.

In the USA, the first woman elected to its parliament was after 214 years of its independence, and we are expecting Afghanistan to give representation to their women straight away. This may be a far cry at this moment. This does not mean that there should be no representation of women at all, but little is likely to change on day one. Just as we waited for the rest of the world, we must wait and give them enough opportunity to grow to come to that realisation themselves. We cannot equate institutions matured in the West with those in Afghanistan. Had the world spent more on basic infrastructure, education, health and strengthening state institutions in past 20 years in Afghanistan, perhaps the situation would have been different.

Cricket has been a unifying factor in Afghanistan. There was a time it was not allowed and prayers were banished. Now things have changed. However, if the world tries isolate them on any pretext, like the Australians have announced that the Afghan women cricket team is not allowed to play in their country and that they would cancel the first and historic test cricket match between itself and Afghanistan, things may get bad. On face of it, such an announcement would be hailed by all sane, yet the situation in Afghanistan needs to be analysed without being emotional but rationale.

There are channels which are airing interviews of a few Afghan women crying and making emotional statements to disrupt the way to stabilisation. We all understand that fake news and clips make opinions and decisions go wrong. Tony Blair admitted that in case of Iraq war. Let’s not isolate Afghanistan and let’s assist them on humanitarian grounds before it gets too late.