US President Barack Obama’s unannounced dash to Kabul a year after the Abbottabad’s get-OBL Operation, signing of the “Enduring Strategic Partnership" and MoUs on transition to Afghanistan with President Karzai is being seen as a very unusual development and raises question whether the agreement would help war end for good. But the dominant opinion of eminent defense analysts and editorials is that any solution that even hints at concluding this war, without Pakistan’s active participation, is more than likely not to work. It will be hard for the Afghan government to sustain itself for long, in case the Taliban threat is not neutralised.

The US needs Pakistan as it is the only party here that can tackle the Taliban, both on the negotiation table and in the field. While the US distrust of Pakistan makes it hesitant in handing over a greater role to it, it is the endgame that is at stake. Pakistan, however, also needs to realise that the greater the power, the greater the responsibility. It would perhaps be better if it does not go solo and works with the US and Afghan governments to ensure peace in its neighboring country. But the most appropriate is the analysis made by Gareth Porter, well known as an investigative historian and journalist specialising in the US national security policy, who says “the only substantive agreement reached between the US and Afghanistan has been to allow powerful US Special Operations Forces (SOF) to continue carrying out the unilateral night raids on private homes that are universally hated in the Pashtun zones. The new agreement, he says, allows Obama to go into a tight presidential election campaign on a platform of ending an unpopular US war. It also allows Karzai to claim he has got control over the SOF night raids while getting a 10-year commitment of US economic support. “But the actual text of the agreement and of the MOU on night raids included in it by reference will not end the US war, nor will they give Karzai control over night raids. The Obama administration's success in obscuring those facts is the real story behind the ostensible story of the agreement. Obama's decisions on how many US troops will remain in Afghanistan in 2014 and beyond and what their mission will be will only be made in

a "Bilateral Security Agreement" still to be negotiated.” That means Obama does not have to announce any decisions about stationing of US forces before the 2012 presidential election. The Bilateral Security Agreement will supersede the 2003 "Status of Forces" agreement, that gives US troops immunity from prosecution and imposes no limitations on US forces in regard to military bases or operations.” Concluding his argument Gareth Porter says Obama's Kabul speech could not threaten that US SOF units will continue to hunt them down in their homes until they agree to make

peace with Karzai. That would have given away the secret still hidden in the US-Afghan "Enduring Strategic Partnership" agreement. But Obama must assume that the Taliban understand what the US public does not: US night raids will continue well beyond 2014, despite the fact that they ensure enduring hatred of US and NATO troops. As Obama says time of war is ending, the Taliban launched offensive saying the US-Afghan pact is illegitimate. On one hand Obama declared that the pact was no threat to neighbours, on the other the Pentagon said the insurgent sanctuaries in Pakistan and pervasive corruption pose long term and acute challenges in the war effort, adding Pakistan’s Nato supply blockage can hamper US withdrawal as the country’s military and political bosses gathered at the President House agreed not to succumb to the US pressure and ruled out compromise on national security interests. That’s why a careful analysis of General Kayani’s April 30 speech on Yaum-e-Shuhada by a number of observers in Islamabad and Rawalpindi says that for the first time there seemed no hope in his words spoken before the audience particularly about a possible thaw in the Pakistan-US relations. The newly signed agreement speaks of technical hitches, and indicates the fact that the much trumpeted claim of ending war would not prove to be as true, but if Pakistan is not included in any future talks or agreements, the possibility of peace remains further remote.

ESCHMALL SARDAR,

 Peshawar, May 3.