Cautiousness in Afghanistan-Pakistan Partnership
In a recent meeting between President Asraf Ghani and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Afghanistan and Pakistan have reached over an understanding on the security cooperation, capacity building and mutual trade. This unexpected development exclusively includes the training of Afghan National Army by Pakistan Army.
In so many manners, this out of blue development between both of the conflicting countries can be read in the versatile even and odd meanings for the impacts on the future statehood and statecraft of Afghanistan. The cooperation between two conflicting countries is always considered a good omen; however sometimes it buzzes alarms when probabilities and possibilities of long term irreversible impacts out of these developments become inevitable.
A cautious moment
Afghanistan and the engaged world is need to step forwardly cautiously whenever the process of Afghan security establishment development and capacity building is initiated. The Afghanistan-Pakistan understanding may serve two immediate interests of Afghanistan -- the limited gains from import and export, and submissiveness of Pakistan supported Taliban. It is bound to leave, on the other hand, long term adverse impacts on Afghanistan’s internal governance and statecraft because of the historical characteristic of Pakistan Army.
Pakistan Army in its origin is an oligarchy of ethnic monotony. It has carried forward the colonial legacy in an uglier manner by massacring its own people in Sindh and Balochistan; have been instrumental in training the religious extremists for the proxy wars; and have been overthrowing democratically elected governments unto recent past. Thus, Pakistan Army is the sole reason for thrashing Pakistan to the verge of collapse.
Afghan National Army as well as Afghanistan’s security establishment, if trained by Pakistan Army, may get same viral epidemics inherited by Pakistani military establishment. It seems if Afghanistan and Pakistan agree on the military cooperation, later is bound to see military rules in future together with the inter-establishment ethno-linguist and sectarian fragmentation and conflicts. There are always possibilities that Pakistan Army’s role in Afghanistan will also give a cushion to the Pakistani influence and infiltration within the Afghan security establishment and governance.
A new great game
If Afghanistan and Pakistan agree on the capacity building of the Afghan Army, possibilities of a new ‘great game’ may increase in Afghanistan on the lines of fragmentation and internal conflicts within the state. Afghanistan may possibly get out of the destabilization caused by the proxy Islamists for sometime through its military agreement with Pakistan, but it most probably would repeat back its previous history in which coups, counter-coups, split as well as factionalism on the ethnic and sectarian lines may arise. This exclusively pose threat of a new phase of Afghanistan insecurity in which various internal and external factors may play with Afghanistan security establishment according to their interests and give birth to decades of state fragmentation on the land of already war-fatigue Afghans.
What actually needs to be done?
The world needs to develop a particular model for the development and capacity enhancement of Afghanistan state, particularly its security establishment and more specifically its military. An appropriate way may be that the world powers that have been engaged in Afghanistan since last one decade should form a joint pool of military and security fraternity for the capacity building and training. Such a collective or joint pool would not only develop Afghanistan’s security establishment in a highly competitive manner but also give engaged powers to club together their specialties for the state building around the world whenever and wherever an Afghanistan like situation arise. This will also give a great space to Afghanistan for engaging with the world at a broader level so that it may further strength its future security and stability.
Shah is a Sindhi refugee journalist, analyst and activist currently staying in New Delhi, India. www.zulfiqarshah.com