Pakistan-Afghanistan Relations

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  • Considered Chaos: Revisiting Pakistan’s ‘Strategic Depth’ in Afghanistan

    Pakistan’s historical insecurity towards India and the Islamisation of its military raises a curious question of strategy and identity rooted in Pakistan’s political genesis. This article examines the social and geostrategic factors underpinning Pakistan’s Afghanistan approach between its inheritance of security principles from colonial administration after Partition, and the Taliban’s capture of Kabul in 1996 and beyond. This article also critically analyses the existing link between the Taliban and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI).

    July 2019

    Stabilising Afghanistan: Role of Key Regional Players

    Unless the Central Asian states, China, India, Iran, Pakistan and Russia jointly contribute towards ensuring stability, Afghanistan is likely to fall to the Taliban again or even break up.

    July 02, 2012

    Fantasising ‘Afghan Good Enough’

    Where does Pakistan figure in ‘Afghan good enough’ if Pakistan’s centrality in the Western approach is taken into account? Not working towards a ‘Pakistan good enough’ would simply mean that ‘Afghan good enough’ is not ‘good enough’.

    June 22, 2012

    What lies behind the Taliban statement on India?

    India will remain a card in the hand of any future Afghan dispensation (whether Taliban or anti-Taliban) to strengthen its negotiating position with Pakistan.

    June 21, 2012

    The Role of UNHCR and Afghan Refugees in Pakistan

    The protection and shelter of millions of Afghans on Pakistan soil for over three decades has amplified the image of UNHCR as a humanitarian institution, which has worked along with the government of Pakistan to manage the burden of the largest caseload of refugees in the world. The office is credited with having carried out the largest repatriation of Afghans (approximately 3.6 million) to their home country since 2002. This operation has greatly enhanced the credibility and esteem of the UNHCR both within Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    November 2011

    Afghan Reconciliation Falling Through

    Various reports on ‘Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan’ produced by the US Department of Defense, 2010 (in coordination with some other departments) have struggled to paint an optimistic picture of the Afghan situation, to maintain the morale of the troops. However, a tacit admission that the Afghan War is not going anywhere can be deciphered from the cautious language used in these reports.

    May 2011

    India’s Limited Options in Afghanistan

    Despite the talk about India having key strategic interests in Afghanistan, it neither has the necessary resources nor the clout to influence developments in Afghanistan.

    April 28, 2011

    Ashish Shukla asked: What is the impact of US Pak antiterror cooperation on Pakistani Society? What is the prospect of Pakistan becoming the other Afghanistan?

    Ashok K Behuria replies: Pakistan has pursued its counter-terror policy in a half-hearted manner, in spite of coordinating such policy with the US. It has tried to forge it with its other more enduring policy of seeking strategic depth in Afghanistan and striking parity with India. In the process it still considers many of the terrorist groups as strategic assets which could be used against India at will. Moreover, due to uncertainty of the US commitments in Afghanistan, it plans to benefit from its continued association with such groups, which also includes the Taliban, in case of eventual US withdrawal from Afghanistan. Thus, it has been hunting with the hound (the US) and running with the hare (the Taliban) all through. Interestingly, the US has demonstrated astonishing patience with Pakistani duplicity. Pakistan's halfhearted approach has led to a blow-back within Pakistan. The constituency of Islamic radicalism has certainly grown substantially imperiling internal security in places away from the tribal belt. While India-focused jihadi groups pretend to stay within the control of the establishment, they are quietly working with the extremist groups of all shades, Taliban and Al Qaeda included.

    Most of these groups depend upon a common pool of radical elements swearing loyalty to one but working for all. The ideological differences among these outfits have been effectively blurred leading to a wild universe of radical elements eager to sacrifice their lives for the sake of a holy crusade. This has posed a critical challenge to the state and society in Pakistan. There is a view that unless the Pakistani state and security establishment wakes up to this reality soon, the days are not far off when they will be left with no other choice but to concede ground to these retrograde forces and turn into another Afghanistan. It may so happen also that their continued hobnobbing with these forces may lead to radical change in the outlook of the security agencies and turn Pakistan into a Islamic praetorian state, armed with nuclear weapons — a veritable threat to world peace. It is imperative therefore to work closely with the Pakistan army and dissuade it from continuing to pursue its suicidal policies.

    Pakistan wants to play a central role in the Afghan settlement

    Karzai’s use of the word ‘proxy war’ in relation to India’s reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts can only be understood in view of the West’s fatigue in Afghanistan and the growing importance of Pakistan

    March 18, 2010

    Pakistan-Afghanistan Relations: Stablizing Politics Through Economics

    The discourse on Pakistan-Afghanistan relations has usually centred on the political strategic dimensions of their relationship. This is not surprising given the acrimonious association between the two countries. Yet it is interesting to note that even against the backdrop of mounting tensions due to the deepening insurgency in Afghanistan, there has been unprecedented growth in economic activity between the two countries. This article explores the magnitude of economic relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the potential that has for impacting political relations.

    March 2008

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