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

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid