News / Asia

Islamabad Airs Doubts About Afghan Future

Pakistan Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar addresses Council on Foreign Relations, New York, Jan. 16, 2013.
Pakistan Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar addresses Council on Foreign Relations, New York, Jan. 16, 2013.
Ayaz Gul
As U.S.-led international combat troops prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan, officials in neighboring Pakistan are airing reservations about the drawdown, reporting increased militant violence and skepticism about the effectiveness of the Afghan National Security Force (ANSF).
 
Citing a fresh flow of Afghan refugees and investment in border cities such as Peshawar, Pakistani officials say the trend indicates Afghan skepticism about the future of their own war-ravaged nation after most international forces withdraw by the end of 2014.
 
Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Wednesday, Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar called for a “responsible transition” and warned U.S. and NATO forces against departing Afghanistan “in a rush.”
 
“One major objective of a foreign military presence in Afghanistan was to reduce the ideological space that exists for [an] extremist mindset," she said, questioning whether the U.S.-led intervention has achieved its stated goals. "I think if you look in the last 10 years, the space of the extremists – the ideological space for them – has only increased.”
 
Citing violence on both sides of the border, the foreign minister emphasized the staggering number of Pakistan’s suicide-bomb casualties since U.S. intervention in the wake of September 11, 2001.
 
“Before 2001 there was only one suicide bomb which [inaudible] inside Pakistan territory,” said Khar, explaining that she had “lost count” of the total number that have occurred since then. “But only in the last two or three years there has been more than 300 suicide bomb attacks which have caused, altogether, in the last 10 years, about 30,000 civilians have died in Pakistan because of suicide bomb attacks, et cetera. Six thousand of our soldiers, paramilitary forces, et cetera.”
 
“The other side of the border within Afghanistan is becoming less well-managed than it was two years back," she added, expressing concern about cross-border military raids on Pakistani targets, describing the situation as “not very confidence-inspiring.”
 
"The green-on-blue attacks: You know, they might scare you as Americans but they haunt us as Pakistanis, because what that means is that institutions that we are trying to build – the ANSF, et cetera – are not maybe as professional a military or an army that you ideally would want to think.”
 
But Afghan officials and some observers dismiss fears of a return to the chaos of the 1990s era that followed withdrawal of Soviet forces. Mozammil Shinwari, Afghanistan's Deputy Minister for Trade, says the country has made significant progress in areas like the economy, politics, security and human rights.
 
“We are quite hopeful because the resources, especially the human resources, that we were lacking 10 years back, now ... have enough potential inside Afghanistan," he said, adding that an Afghan security forces "system has been developed" alongside economic development. "We are quite keen and we are quite hopeful, and we are sure that Afghanistan will develop. So I don’t think any problem will happen in the future and after 2014. We will have a prosperous Afghanistan.”
 
For Kabul-based independent political commentator Said Mohammad Azam, the question of whether violence will persist in post-2014 Afghanistan is less important than considering socio-economic conditions in which it would unfold.
 
“I think it is widely believed that [fighting] will continue, but it will not lead to an immediate collapse of the Afghan regime, the way it happened after the withdrawal of the Soviet Union," he said. "The reason is because, for the next ten years, starting from 2015, the international community has already provided funding [to] keep the national army and police intact, and also [there will be] enough budget for developmental projects.”
 
U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham told reporters Thursday it is important for the Afghan government to start peace talks with the Taliban started as soon as possible.
 
“We are quite clear that, at the end, stability and peace in the region will require a peace agreement that the states in the region will have an important role in supporting," he said. "We will continue our efforts not just with Pakistan but other countries in the region and other countries that are interested to move in that direction and to support a genuine peace process that will finally bring peace and stability to Afghanistan.”
 
While it is hoped that Islamabad’s late-2012 decision to release more than two-dozen members of the Afghan Taliban will help bring the insurgents to the negotiating table, signs of an impending peace process have yet to be seen.
 
Kabul welcomed the move, and Washington has also been appreciative of bilateral cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan to promote peace and reconciliation efforts.

Peter Cobus contributed to this report from Washington.

You May Like

Bleak China Economic Outlook Rattles Markets

Several key European stock indexes were down up to three percent, while US market indexes were off around 2.5 percent in afternoon trading More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
January 20, 2013 7:47 PM
Pakistan is the most terrorist country in the world. Terrorism is rampant inside the country. There were about 30,000 deaths due to terrorism in the past decade. Pakistan is the training ground for all shades of Moslem terrorists dispersed throughout the world especially into the neighboring countries such as India and Afghanstan.
Pakistan is one of the lawless countries in the world. Even the order of the Supreme Court of the country cannot be implemented. Pakistan releases the Taliban in quest of peace. The military help Taliban in quest of peace in the tribal areas. The politicians of every shade of Moslem religion support the Moslem trerrorists of all kinds both inside and outside the country. Islamabad hs no countrol of security in the tribal areas.
The US is guilty of financial and military assistance directly to the Pakistan military. The Pakistan military cannot even account for the military aid given directly to them. Why the US borrow $ from China and give it to this terrorist state? The alliance between China and Pakistan is a major threat to the security of democratic India. It is high time the US stop all financial and military help to Pakistan for peace in the region. There will not be any peace in Afghanistan or India unless the Moslem terrorists are first eleminated in Pakistan.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs