Why is the Kabuliwala mad at Pakistan?

United Nations General Assembly 2016 will be remembered for some firing speeches from current Afghan Leadership.

Let’s first review some headline of the UNGA.
“The world knows where Taliban lives”
~ Afghanistan Vice President Sarwar Danish

That’s an aggressive diplomacy; here is another example.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani opened the conference by snubbing a $500 million pledge from Pakistan for development projects in Afghanistan, saying Afghanistan does not need aid. In other words, we don’t need your money, keep it and spend it on yourself.

I wonder why Afghan government is taking such a hard approach towards Pakistan? The answers lie in the complexity of Afghan- Pak relations.

I tried to do fishbone of the Aghan Problem; found out that the answer is in the line drawn by a British named as Durand. When sub-continent was divided and new maps emerged in 1947, the long-standing dispute between Afghanistan and Pakistan emerged again.

Durand purposefully gave Pashto speaking North East Frontier to British India to breaks Afghans geographically so that they lose their political power. Of course, Britain had to do that after the humiliating defeat in Anglo- Afghan wars.

Break Afghans in two nations so that they lose their political power and influence. Great! Now what? It is 1947 and the Union Jack is no more in the subcontinent. And as per the plan of partition, North East Frontier will be a part of Pakistan. Pashto leader Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (The Muslim Gandhi) never accepted the plan that frontier be a part of Pakistan and mentioned to the Congress – “You have thrown us to the wolves”

Afghan state never accepted that as Pashto-speaking tribes are on the both side of the border. However, Pakistan emerged as a strong military power due to the large inheritance of the British army, while Afghanistan was going through a political trauma.

Pakistani politicians saw Afghanistan as a threat as an unstable Afghanistan was a core requirement for a stable Pakistan. In last six decades whenever Afghanistan has been ever slightly stable it asked for the negotiations across Durand-line.

Pakistani perspective narrates that it was the USA who motivated Pakistan to destabilize Afghanistan; however, Christine Fair records in her book Fighting Till The end that it was Zulfiqar Bhutto who initiated dealing with mujahidin groups years before CIA came into the picture. That’s a totally different but interesting story!

It has been official Afghan Government policy that does not recognize the border between two countries. No matter what government comes in power, it is the stand, period!

Except for the Taliban government of 1992 of because the Taliban were originally a hidden wing of the Pakistan army. Otherwise, how come a group of tribal mercenaries swept to Kabul and hanged Dr. Najibullah in public? Remember, he was a democratically elected president and a visionary leader.

As of today when Afghanistan is slowly recovering from the wounds of war and emerging as a nation, the Taliban especially Haqqani Network backed by Pakistani Army is attacking the US and international targets.

There is a significant heat on Afghan- Pak border, Pakistan wants to fence it to stamp on Durand line while for Afghanistan it’s a disputed line. In 2016, there was a week-long exchange of fire on the border in which Afghan Army killed two soldiers including a major.

Pakistan replied by bombing in Kabul and killing civilians through Haqqani Network. This is exactly why Afghans are angry at Pakistan. You ask any Afghan and you won’t see a positive reply about Pakistan.

Externalities:

What’s in it for me?

India and the US both wants a stable government in Afghanistan therefore, both countries are spending billions in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. India is not giving aid in Afghanistan but investing in building infrastructure.

In Afghan Politics and civil war, India was supporting The Northern Alliance who was fighting against the Taliban Government. Remember, the Taliban were of Pakistani nationality while the Northern Alliance was purely Afghans. The Northern Alliance is Pro- India and now in power. Afghan Army officers are getting training in National Defence Academy in Pune, India.

India’s strategy is to build a stable Afghanistan so that they raise the issue of Durand line. This will force Pakistan to shift some military on the Afghan border. This will create lots of pressure on already weak Pakistan economy and by keeping both borders at heat, Pakistan economy will collapse. No more hue and cry over the issue of J&K.
What’s in for Afghanistan?

Pakistan leadership just can’t stand with Northern Alliance leadership since Afghans never liked Pakistani interference in their country. That is why Afghan President is repetitively saying – We are an independent country and has a
right of independent decision making.
Afghan President said – Taliban won’t stand a month if Pakistan stops funding them.

This is why Kabuliwala is mad at Pakistan! Bhutto’s plan was to make Afghanistan a Pakistani colony by infiltrating the Taliban. However, 9/11 changed everything. Pakistan were forced to crack down on their own creations and now they are biting back.
Pakistan can’t grow sankes in their backyard and expect them not to bite them!

~ Hillary Clinton

Footnote:

The Kabuliwala is a fictional character of an Afghan trader in Rabindranath Tagore’s short story.

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