The famous Afghan expert is now peddling his Pentagon bias as fair analysis. My question to him is this: fine if you justify US interest, but what’s wrong if Pakistan has its interests too?
Mr. Ahmed Rashid’s part-time job as an advisor to the US military on Afghanistan is beginning to overshadow his otherwise impeccable analysis.
As a journalist, Mr. Ahmed Rashid witnessed firsthand in Afghanistan the intrigues by several nations inside that country during the 1980s and '90s.But here, in his BBC.com article titled, Pakistan conspiracy theories stifle debate, Mr. Rashid insists that the entire mess in Pakistan is self-inflicted and is free of any outside interest and influence.
His close contacts with Washington, and especially with the military establishment there, should not blind him to the clear signs of how Afghan soil is being used against Pakistan, and against its military to be more precise, in retaliation for the twisted perception that Pakistan is somehow behind the Afghan Taliban resurgence and the resulting US military and intelligence failures in that country.
While owning our part of the mess, we in Pakistan need to be very clear on those parts of the mess that the United States is responsible for Washington began its double game with Pakistan immediately after overthrowing the Afghan Taliban government. The United States worked from the start to create a very anti-Pakistan setup in Kabul. The Indians have been given a lot of space in Afghanistan. In fact, parts of the US intelligence and military decided quite early in the Afghan campaign that Indian 'expertise' will shape American views on Afghanistan and on how to deal with Pakistan, in itself the first breach on the part of US over what was supposed to be a Pakistani-American alliance to stabilize Afghanistan. The composition of the puppet Afghan government, the collective punishment against the Pashtuns, and the way things panned out in the country over the past seven years support this conclusion.
Of course, the word ‘signs’ is an understatement now considering the piles of hard evidence that Pakistani political and military officials have been confronting the Americans with recently. This evidence proves American culpability in not only messing up Afghanistan but also Pakistan. This evidence includes material that shows how the Indians and Mr. Karzai's spymasters create and support terrorism against Pakistan. It also shows how CIA is turning a blind eye, and in some other instances actually supports terrorism inside Pakistan.
Yes, Pakistan and Pakistanis are responsible for creating a weak state, burdened by an unworkable form of democracy. We Pakistanis have created a situation that is now providing several openings for outsiders to wreak havoc inside our country and manipulate our politics.
The February 2008 elections in Pakistan could have been an opportunity for Pakistanis to reassert themselves and chart out a new course in domestic and foreign policies. Here again the United States and the United Kingdom colluded to force on Pakistanis one of the most corrupt and inept governments in the country’s history.
As such, Washington and London are responsible for the latest political mess in Pakistan, since both helped create a secret 'deal' that resulted in forming a Pakistani government led by a dream team of Pakistan's most corrupt individuals.
Ethnic or religious insurgencies never existed in Pakistan before 2004. These insurgencies surfaced and gained momentum thanks to the mess in Afghanistan and the intrigues of some of our so called allies and friends. This anti-Pakistan wave of terrorism armed and financed from the Afghan soil has an objective: the Pakistani military.
Pakistani military is too big and too strong for American and British plans for the region. In these plans, India is supposed to provide cheap or low cost soldiers and For Mr. Rashid to simply dismiss legitimate Pakistani grievances is absurd, to say the least.
The second part of his op-ed is a passionate and at times desperate defense of the PPP government in Islamabad. Nothing surprising here. This government is even more pro-US than the Musharraf government. Mr. Rashid, of course, believes that any US plans for Afghanistan and the region supersede any conflicting – but legitimate – Pakistani interests.
By defending this Pakistani government and dismissing the legitimate Pakistani grievances that run contrary to US interest, Mr. Rashid betrays his own political bias, which he tries in this op-ed to peddle as fair and balanced analysis.Pakistanis are fed up with fighting other people's wars and conforming to other people's agendas in the region.
Pakistan has its own agenda. This Pakistani agenda is rising up from this mess and it making itself felt in multiple ways. And this agenda will eventually supersede anything that foreign powers try to impose through unnatural means. It is better for Mr. Rashid and those who share his views to understand this before it is too late.