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‘Pressures On Pakistan A Must To Change Its Policy Towards Afghanistan’

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Sunday January 14, 2018

Kabul (BNA) US has recently suspended military aid to Pakistan due to the fact that the country continued supporting terrorism, extremism and fundamentalisms in particular Haqqani network and Afghan Taliban that have caused war impasse in Afghanistan.
Dead of Strategic Studies Center of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr. Faramarz Tamana said: “In reality, US had good relations with Pakistan during cold war but not now. In 2014, we witnessed partial withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan and it was a time when the issue of lack of honestly cooperation by Pakistan in counter terrorism was highlighted. The issue has two reasons: firstly, President Donald Trump is a pragmatic person. Secondly, the US had anticipated that Pakistan would honestly cooperate with US, but Pakistan by receiving $33 billion has not cooperated with US and spent the US aid for increasing its military power against India, equipping and training terrorists that are creating violence in Afghanistan, threatening the life of the people and killing US soldiers.
Can US bring change in Pakistan policy particularly in its regional policy towards Afghanistan by putting such pressures and sanctions?
F. Tamana: Pakistanis have two options: firstly, supporting terrorism, extremism and fundamentalism in the region as it is now Pakistan’s domestic policy. Although Pakistan is suffering from increasing extremism and Islamic fundamentalists in its soil, it is still supporting such groups and exporting it to other parts of the country and the best place for Pakistani is Afghanistan. Pakistan is successful in its domestic policy, but terrorism is somehow a serious issue for them.
Now, the scenario is that will Pakistan prefer to its domestic policy and continue to support terrorism and extremism or will agree to align with the US foreign policy in counterterrorism. I perceive that Pakistanis will finally prefer its domestic policy because if the country does not support terrorism and extremism, capacity of terrorism groups will create problems inside of Pakistan as most of terrorist groups want an Islamic state in Islamabad; therefore, I think Pakistan will continue its domestic policy and the US policy against Pakistan will intensely alter.
In connection that Pakistan army and ISI have key role in the country’s foreign policy rather than civilian government, Dr. Faramarz Tamana said: “Political structure in Pakistan is based on power of militaries who always take the last decision in the country. It was the Pakistan army that have formed the government and led coup. During the past 70 years, Pakistan army have always got political, military and economic management of the country and there have been few governments that have completed their term and transferred to governments in a democratic process. The country’s intelligence service ‘ISI’ has effective and key role in its domestic policy as the country needs powerful military and intelligence mobility in the region because of presence of its strong rival India, so in such kind of situation it is difficult for civil government of Pakistan to control its political structures in the country.”
According to US former ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq, discussions are underway and ISI’s those figures who are working against Afghanistan will be blacklisted. What’s your opinion in this regard? F. Tamana: Good relations between the US and Pakistan have ended, so what Pakistan remains as US partner in the region depends on the country’s economic, security and counterterrorism effort and the country has already shown its lack of honestly cooperation with the US in counterterrorism effort. Now, Pakistan has lost its 70-year relations’ importance in the US foreign policy and we should not forget that there is now India in the region. Relations of India with US have increased now as the US prefers to have a strong partner that is compatible to US foreign policy in the region. The US recent relations with Pakistan in this regard will enter into few phases: firstly, it was the issue of Donald Trump’s tweet. Secondly, suspension of aid to Pakistan was announced by the US administration and now the US will probably implement sanctions on Pakistan or target terrorist safe havens inside Pakistan and finally diplomatic relations’ cut between the two countries will be the last option. Pakistan is now seriously vulnerable and is in a critical position.
War and violence are increasing day by day in Afghanistan as Pakistani militaries are involved in most of instabilities and increasing terrorism in the country. What initiatives does Strategic Studies Center of MoFA have to address such challenges?
F. Tamana: first change in the US foreign policy is a big achievement for Afghanistan foreign policy. We have continually shared the issue that Pakistan not honestly cooperating in counterterrorism with US and our international partners for the past 16 years. Finally, alignment in our foreign policy with US against Pakistan has created and this is a big accommodation for us and now we are following some key points:
1. Pakistan is our neighbor and it is good to have mutual respect in bilateral relations. As Pakistan wants not to be threatened from Afghanistan soil, we have similar anticipation from Pakistan too; therefore, Pakistan missile attacks on Helmand, Kunar, Nooristan and other areas should be stopped.
2. Trade and economic issues should be differentiated from security one. We do not want economic relations to be harmed with Pakistan as we have the right to have access to ocean based on international laws although it is not in current priority of Afghanistan government.
3. The third issue with Pakistan is the Durand Line issue. Our people want to decide on their fate. Our key issue with Pakistan is the issue of security in Afghanistan and the region.
4. The last issue is that both countries have common religion and culture, so there should be a pavement for mutual cooperation between the two countries. In case that Pakistan does not cooperate with Afghanistan, we have alternative plans. Ministry of Foreign Affairs has always made use of all diplomatic channels to convince Pakistan for honestly cooperation in peace process and convincing of Afghan Taliban for peace talks. Afghanistan will be an honest friend of Pakistan in the region if Pakistan stops supporting terrorist groups that are disrupting stability and security in Afghanistan.
We hope that change in US foreign policy against Pakistan will continue until the country shows its commitment towards peace and stability in the region.
Lailuma Noori

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