Asif Haroon Raja

The Afghan foreign Minister Hanif Atmar in his interview to the visiting Geo TV anchor on July 9 in Kabul, sought help from Pakistan to save the regime of Kabul from the Taliban. He said he had great expectations from Pakistan.

This is not the first time that such an appeal has been made. It is going on from the time of last  two years of 15-year rule of Hamid Karzai led regime in 2015/16 when Karzai sought release of Taliban prisoners specially Mullah Baradar Ghani to enable him to hold Loya Jirga.

To win over our easy-going leaders, he would refer to the two neighbors as twins and blood brothers but practically he did what India and the US told him to do and always maintained a highly hostile attitude towards Pakistan. His successors Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah are no less hostile and they continue to spit poison against Pakistan.

The Afghan National Security Adviser (NSA) Mohib went to the extent of naming Pakistan as a prostitute, forgetting altogether how his puppet regime had been dancing to the tunes of the US and India. Deputy President Amer Saleh is another character bad mouthing Pakistan and executing terrorism in Pakistan when he was NSA of Karzai.

So is the case with the majority of members of the parliament in Kabul. The Afghan officials and political leaders have been routinely blaming Pakistan for all their fault lines and failures just like the US did.

The call for help this time could be genuine since the canoe of the wobbly unity regime is tumbling and no power on earth can save it from sinking. Instead of Pakistan which has all along been looked down upon, insulted, blamed for all its failings, and given extreme pains since 2003, Atmar should have sought help from the chief benefactors, or from the people of Afghanistan.

Well knowing the sorry plight of the sponsors, and knowing that the Afghans hate the incompetent and corrupt string-puppets sitting in Kabul, Pakistan is the only country ever-ready to accommodate the wily Kabul regime despite getting continuously backstabbed.

Atmar unashamedly lied that the US signed the Doha agreement with honest intentions and that the Taliban didn’t fulfil their part of the deal and deceived the world. His assertion is far from the truth. The agreement was between the US and the Taliban only, and the Kabul regime was excluded since the Taliban considered it illegitimate.

It must not be forgotten that only 5% voted in the 2016 elections, and it was after 6 months of hard negotiations by John Kerry that an unnatural alliance of Ghani-Abdullah was formed in Sept 2016, and since then, the duo has been continuously engaged in power tussle.

The Taliban have honored all the clauses of the deal by releasing the ANSF prisoners, opening intra-Afghan dialogue in last Sept, pledging not to allow use of Afghan soil for cross border terrorism, and not to attack foreign troops and civilians. There was no clause that the Taliban would cease fire and will not attack government forces.

In fact, unconditional ceasefire was the major sticking point due to which it took one and a half years to materialize the agreement. The other was complete withdrawal of foreign troops whereas the US wanted to retain 2-3 military bases.

It was the US which didn’t honor the deal. It failed to get all the 5000 Taliban fighters locked up in jails of 34 provinces released by March 10, and even now many are in jail. The US airpower came to the rescue of ANA whenever it was besieged by the Taliban and rescued them which was contrary to the agreement.

Even then the Taliban showed restraint and didn’t retaliate. The US didn’t remove Taliban leaders from the black list as promised to enable them to move about freely. I leave it to the judgment of the readers to decide about the honesty factor.

Lastly, Biden didn’t abide by the cut out date of May 1 and extended the exit date by 4 months at his own and without any justifiable reasons. The Taliban once again showed restraint after the passage of the deadline and allowed safe exit to the bulk of foreign troops. And now the US has indicated that it will leave behind 650 to 1000 troops for the protection of its diplomats and for airport security.

Even at this stage, Washington is trying to dictate terms to the victorious Taliban with regard to the type of future government and is insisting upon a broad-based government inclusive of the incumbent Kabul regime. The US is averse to forcible occupation of Kabul airport or the Kabul city by the Taliban.

The US is drawing strength from Pakistan’s stance which is corresponding with the US wishes. The US is still extending full support to the Kabul regime, promising $ 4 billion annual funds till 2024, which has proved to be a complete failure and a liability.

Yet another lie expounded by Atmar is about the Tehrik-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP) and Al-Qaeda banding up with the Taliban against Afghan government forces. This is a limit and absolute travesty of truth. One wonders why the correspondent interviewing him didn’t give him a shut-up call and put the record straight by showing him the mirror.

Who doesn’t know that the TTP was CIA-RAW-NDS created in Dec 2006 under Baitullah Mehsud, who made South Waziristan as his HQ? Its fighters were funded, trained and equipped in camps established by RAW inside Afghanistan in close coordination with NDS. Acts of terror and suicide attacks were launched in all the seven tribal agencies of FATA and in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

One of its factions under Fazlullah made Swat and Malakand explosive. SW, Bajaur under Maulvi Faqir and Swat were the strongest bastions of the TTP laden with tons of armaments hidden in long tunnels and caves. These three strongholds were demolished and all the terrorist groups ejected in 2009 by the Pak security forces in their Operations Rah-e Raast and Rah-e Nijat. The foreign paid terrorists fled to Afghanistan where they were welcomed by their patrons.

Thereon, the TTP under Hakimullah Mehsud was reorganized by RAW-NDS, which made North Waziristan (NW) as its bastion. About 60 other terrorist groups came under its umbrella. Other groups included IMU, Asian Tigers, ETIM, LI, Ansarullah, Jundollah, and Lashkar Jhangvi. Atmar has made a mention of these groups present in Afghanistan.

All these groups were shunted out of NW in 2014/15 by Pak security forces by launching Operation Zarb-e Azb. All the shunted out proscribed groups are residing in safe havens of Kunar, Nuristan, Nangarhar, Paktika, Khost and Paktia. Atmar made no mention of PTM, another RAW-NDS creation, created to roll back the good work done by Pak Army to develop the war torn tribal areas which are giving an altogether new look today.

In 2014, the ISIS fighters were flown in helicopters from Iraq and Syria by the CIA and RAW and settled at Nangarhar where they were married up with a breakaway faction of TTP named as Jamaat-al Ahrar under Khalid Khurasani. India’s NSA Ajit Doval was the chief coordinator and the NDS provided requisite logistic support.

The ISIS named as Daesh (Khurasan) was used against the Taliban and also launched into Baluchistan and Karachi. The Taliban are on record having stated that they had to undertake numerous fights with the Daesh and in each fight, the Afghan government forces and airpower came to the help of the Daesh.

Pakistan has collected tons of concrete evidence of deep-seated involvement of RAW-NDS in Baluchistan, FATA, Karachi and KP and has handed over a heavy dossier to all concerned. With this background, it is strange that Atmar had the audacity to shamefacedly twist the facts and put things the other way round to prove the innocence of India and his govt.

All the acts of terror undertaken by TTP and Daesh from Afghan soil were proudly owned by the two outfits. Blast in Lahore this month is the latest act of terror jointly planned by RAW-NDS. Reportedly, the duo guided by CIA and Mossad has made a big plan to surge up acts of terror in Pakistan in July-August.

Atmar has woven an altogether new story to throw wool into the eyes of the world as well as the Afghani and Pakistani public that his government has been playing an honest role and is a victim of terrorism perpetrated by the Taliban.

The writer is retired Brig Gen, war veteran, took part in epic battle of Hilli in the1971 War with India, defence & security analyst, international columnist,, author of five books, his sixth book under publication, Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, Member CWC PESS & Think Tank.           


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