by Bilal Qureshi
It has been obvious for a while now that the war in Afghanistan is not going well. After years of presence there, the Americans and NATO forces still face danger and attacks on daily basis. Some experts even suggest that the Taliban are becoming stronger, more brazen and are engaging allied forces more aggressively. So, what is the solution to this complex problem? “Pakistan is not doing enough” is the tried and tested response that Washington has mastered whenever questions are raised about the war in Afghanistan.
This is exactly what has happened again. A report in the Washington Post suggests that Pakistanis are not doing enough to defeat, control, curb, eliminate (use whatever term you see fit) the threat of the Taliban?
What? Yes, this is how Pakistanis react to it. People in Pakistan, both in the government and on the street are shocked and dismayed by this consistent drum beat of Pakistan is not doing enough mantra. Pakistanis point out, and they do have a valid claim here, that Pakistan has done everything it was asked in the fight against the Taliban. According to a journalist based in Pakistan, since 9/12/2001, Pakistan has been cooperating with Washington 100%. And as a result of this cooperation with the Americans, As a Pakistan has paid a very heavy price.
We all hear whenever an America or a Canadian or any solider or NATO soldier is killed in Afghanistan. And we should know about the heroic efforts and sacrifice of these fine soldiers who are fighting to keep us safe. But can anyone outside Pakistan tell me how many Pakistanis have died in this battle to root out the Taliban? Do people outside Pakistan know about the total number of bombings and suicide attacks carried out by the Taliban against the military and the civilians in Pakistan? Is it possible for anyone, especially those ‘sources’ who talk to the journalists from the Washington Post or the New York Times to talk about the total loss that Pakistan has to endure as a result of working with Washington? Of course not, but this seemingly cavalier attitude by Washington is seriously damaging Washington’s credibility inside Pakistan.
The report in the Washington Post that suggests that Quetta Shura is responsible for almost all the mayhem and chaos in Afghanistan is just silly and absurd. According to folks in Islamabad, now that the North West region in Pakistan is relatively free of the Taliban, Washington is trying, desperately to find a new drum to beat to divert attention from the operation in Afghanistan.
These reports and these allegations by Washington are very destructive because these allegations give superb ammunition to those forces within Pakistan who are opposed to Washington’s efforts and presence in Afghanistan.
“Aha, did we not tell you that no matter what you do, America won’t be happy” is how these people gloat after American media quoting sources in Washington suggest that Pakistan is somehow complicit in this fight against the Taliban.
Finger pointing has never solved anything in the past, and it won’t help the joint efforts that are needed to crush and defeat the Taliban. Washington must learn to convey its concerns privately to Islamabad because by trying to mount pressure through the media just angers Pakistan. It should stop because it is in our interest that the nihilists Taliban are uprooted, their networks are destroyed and they should not find any support or sanctuary in Pakistan. But for this to happen, Washington has to play its hand carefully.
Remember, the issue of the Taliban is very complex. There are historic, religious and nationalistic forces are at play here. Actually, the fight against the Taliban is like defusing an active bomb – one mistake and boom, everything is gone.
Since we can’t afford to lose, so, we must understand to act in a way that does not jeopardize the mission.