From the very beginning of the global war on terror since 2000, Pakistan, a militarized country, has used to play a double game in volatile region which undermine peace and stability of Middle East, Central Asia and Southern Asian countries. The Pakistan’s game doesn’t even benefit Pakistani people, nor does it benefit other countries, including Afghanistan.
Every intelligence services report indicates Pakistan’s military hand on training, sponsoring, and providing heaven for terrorist groups inside Pakistan’s soil. Long stand of Rahmatullah Nabil, a former head of NDS (National Directorate Security), on Pakistan’s support for terrorists is famous, along with Amrullah Saleh’s stand. Recently, Saleh, ex-head of NDS, appeared on Al Jazeera English and explained that Pakistan has kept backing terrorists.
But all charges have been denied by Pakistani officials and blamed Afghanistan for sheltering Pakistani Taliban in its soil. If Pakistan does not support terrorists in the region, which country does so? It doesn’t make sense to believe that Pakistan is not behind terrorist groups in the region. Not only Afghan intelligence officials have trustworthy reports, American along with NATO officials several times revealed Pakistan’s hand behind of terrorist groups, in particular, Haqqani network which was established by Pakistan’s military intelligence services to undermine Afghan security forces’ efforts to bring peace in the country.
From the very beginning of U.S. presence in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, has raised the issue of spoiler role of Pakistan in Afghanistan and the entire region. Khalilzad wrote in his book, the Envoy, that Pakistan’s spoiler role was far more dangerous than insurgency in Afghanistan. He explained that he many times reminded senior Pakistani officials about their spoiler role in reconstruction of Afghanistan. But Pakistani officials accused Afghans in collaboration with India for destabilizing Pakistan. The charge which is used has been strongly rejected.
It’s only one face of Pakistan. Publically, Pakistani officials support peace process anywhere anytime. They were presence at Russia’s peace process on Afghanistan. They attended “Kabul Process”. In every public event, Pakistani officials use the chance to make up claims on how much the country contributed to peace and stability of not only the region, but the whole world. Apparently, they succeed in making up the claims.
Despite clear facts on Pakistan’s support for terrorists, the country receives multi-million dollar funds from the U.S. in the name of fighting terrorists in Administrative Tribal Areas. Pakistani military report on its success in pushing back, killing and eliminating terrorists. If the reports are true, why do we still have terrorist in the region?
The reason behind Pakistan’s support for terrorist groups is known. Pakistan has only one card to play in the region; terrorism. As each country has a unique power to play dirty geo-political games to pursue their goals, Pakistan use terrorist groups to have gains from dusty water of the region. From early of the endless war in Afghanistan since 2000, Pakistan has used extremist groups to dominate Afghanistan and keep Afghanistan depend on its resources. As far a weak state in Afghanistan is in favor of Pakistan, military of Pakistan funds extremists to destabilize Afghan government and put forward its own agenda for the country.
Unfortunately, Pakistan’s double game has destabilized the region and with the Pakistan’s game, peace remained unachievable dream for people of the region. Pakistan’s game not only affects other countries, but it has damaged its own people as well. Very firstly, Pakistan’s game didn’t help the country to move forward. Instead, the game increased support for terrorist groups inside Pakistan’s territory, which moved the country back. Pakistan’ military intelligence services facilitates recruitment of young people for extremist groups in the country and as a result many under-ground centers operate across Pakistan to find more young people to fuel terrorism.
However, Pakistan’s double game has eternal consequence on its own people. Promotion of extremism is the significant one. Every poll suggests that the majority Pakistani people have no judgment on terrorist groups’ activities which are nothing else of killing people and murdering innocent children. In April, a mob at a university took Mashal Khan from his dormitory and lynched him, accusing him of offending Islam. Later, investigation concluded the accusation was baseless and it had been a conspiracy by some students and university staff. University, the place of dialogue and argument, has turned into a place for people to blame each other and use mobs’ believe to kill. The incident gives enough reason to believe that extremism is deeply rooted in Pakistani society and it fuels terror attacks inside and outside Pakistan.
Moreover, Pakistan’s spoiler role in the region adds horror and keep flames of the fire of the ongoing bloody war in the region, particularly, in Afghanistan. The long 17-year war was over long time ago if Pakistan had handed off from supporting the Taliban Group, Haqqani Network and many other terrorist small groups. As results, Afghanistan has remained an insecure country which undermines security of the entire region.
Peace, stability and development of Afghanistan and the region would not be achieved if Pakistan doesn’t end its long dirty double game in the region. Ending the double game of Pakistan is needed and the US and NATO member countries should have tougher position towards Pakistan which undermines US-led NATO mission in the region. Similarly the regional countries including China and Russia must review its ongoing policies regarding Pakistan and its war proxies in a bid to ensure durable peace and stability in the region.
A version of this article appears on Afghanistan Times.