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

Photogallery Belgian Security Measures Foreshadow New Normal for Europe

Rising threat of terrorism, disaffected Muslim populations and open borders, along with refugee, migrant crisis, are creating perfect storm for Europe, which some analysts fear continent is ill-suited to weather

Competing Claims of Responsibility for Mali Hotel Attack

Malian authorities ask public for help in identifying gunmen killed in attack, amid conflicting claims of responsibility from multiple jihadist groups active in the country

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs