As Nato-led forces plan to pack up from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, the question of Afghan reconciliation to make for peace in the country itself, the region and, indeed, Pakistan is acquiring an urgent focus of our leadership as well as of Washington’s and Kabul’s; for, without internal harmony in the war-torn neighbour, it is inconceivable for Islamabad to get rid of the plague of militancy that continues to gnaw at the country’s vital assets. This is the inevitable outcome of Pak-Afghan ethnic and geographical compulsions. And the US would find it difficult to justify its claim of an honourable exit that it badly seeks to counter the reality of failure, in case the country once again exploded into a civil war.
The Pak-US meeting where the two teams, led by COAS General Kayani and the US acting Special Representative on Afghanistan and Pakistan David Pearce, and held at Islamabad on Sunday, debated the issue in detail. The brief announcement of the ISPR did not enlighten the reader on what actually transpired, and simply said, “The two sides discussed matters of mutual interest with particular focus on Afghanistan reconciliation process.” However, unnamed military sources revealed that the both felt their approach, with its main plank of bringing the Taliban on board in the negotiating exercise, was similar. One hurdle was the unpredictable President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, who by his periodic critical views of US and Pakistan policies in the context of Afghan peace has been spoiling the show. As the two countries were giving vent to their concern in a closed-door meeting, Mr Karzai was carping at the CIA’s role in Afghanistan, alleging that it was carrying out operations without taking the National Directorate of Security into confidence. The Afghan President has, perhaps, occasionally to indulge in this kind of mud-slinging in an attempt to regain the Pashtun’s sympathies whom he had alienated during his two terms in office. He is likely to be disappointed, though. Similarly, his blowing hot and cold attitude to Pakistan – at times going to the extent of calling it a twin brother of Afghanistan and at others claiming that it was working against the peace prospect in Afghanistan, is too sickeningly familiar to comment.
The remark by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry that after the UN Security Council’s resolutions the war on terror has become Pakistan’s own war of survival deserves to be commended and fully endorsed while dealing with the Afghan reconciliation process. This is indeed Pakistan's war, after 40,000 lives lost to it, let there be no doubt about it.