Terrorist acts have openly challenged the writ of the government and discredited the capacity of intelligence and security forces. Those who wanted dialogue with Taliban are running out of arguments and general public is totally at a loss as to whom and what to believe. Nation now seems to be reaching a consensus regarding final action against Taliban. Purpose of this writing is not to dilute the focus that has now eventually appeared, but to try to peer through the misty situation and clarify the parameters of actions.

After failing to ensure long term foothold in Afghanistan, US plans to retain strong indirect influence by: Installing a friendly government  with the help of Northern Alliance, Afghan Armed Forces, Police, employing political clout of India and Iran. The stumbling block is Pakistan and its reported relationship with some Afghan Taliban. Because, after withdrawal of NATO and US Forces, Afghan Taliban are likely to capture big parts of Afghanistan, largely defeating US objectives. Thus it is essential for US interest to pitch Pak Forces and Afghan Taliban against each other. To create extreme hatred between Afghan Taliban and Pakistan (society, government and armed forces), US, India and Afghan puppet regime have successfully used TTP to carryout such ferocious attacks inside Pakistan, that now the entire nation is clamoring for operations against Taliban.

It is in Indian interest that future political Afghan dispensation should remain hostile towards Pakistan, thus disallowing Pakistan access to Afghan Markets and CARs and keeping Pakistan Forces entangled in two front dilemma. With the help of US and Iran, the plan intends to install India friendly regime and enjoy goodtrade relations with added advantage of access to CARs. It aims to convince Pakistan to provide India-Afghan land route being win-win for all. This plan matches well with US design. Therefore as part of the same plan is to help TTP to create chaos in Pakistan and force them through intense public and moral pressure on Pakistan Government to chase out Afghan Taliban to prevent any Pak-Afghan goodwill in future.

Iranians want to prevent Sunni political strength in Afghanistan, enjoy free trade including access to CARs and denying same to Pakistan. It aims to support Northern Alliance to remain strong and in politico-military control of Afghanistan. This fits well with the US interests.

On the other hand, Pakistan desires peaceful a Afghanistan, with a balanced political coalition, according to the will of the population, and a friendly attitude towards Pakistan with Free trade and economic relations and with easy access to CARs. It envisions severance of ties between Afghan Taliban and TTP, cleansing Pakistan from TTP and Taliban mindset. While doing all this, Islamabad intends to avoid confrontation with US, India and Iran. This wishlist does not fit well with US plans and Indo-Iran aspirations. And here lies the crux of the problem.

So should we ee active or passive ?

If every interested power has a finger in Afghan affairs, to serve their own interests, should Pakistan remain unconcerned and aloof ? Is this world a level playing field, being run on fair play, justice and high moral principles? Certainly the answer is no even if it doesn’t appeal to anyone.

Can a politico-economic military issue be resolved by military action alone, with no firm media policy, no psychological and political counter offensive ?

Some steps to eradicate Talibanization are also in order.

We ought to plan and mount a counter ideology campaign through media and political activities to veer pro Islam but nationalist people away from supportive role for Talibanization. We should strengthen our own intelligence and security forces by paying heed to what they say, still taking independent political decisions. We should stop Armed Forces bashing in media, even if temporarily pleases no one. We should take quick measures to ensure speedy and strong punishments for terrorism related crimes. Immediately undertake surgical operations against TTP. We should also talk with Afghan Taliban to sever their relations with TTP and remove foreigner fighters from our territory. We should also remmeber that the TTP and others like them are snakes who slither in the dark of the night and will turn on everyone even those who feed them milk.

   Writer is an ex-senior military officer also served as Federal Secretary Defense and can be reached at naeemlodhi53@gmail.com