The Afghan problem needs a political solution in which regional powers need to play a role. Regional, meaning not the US, and powers, meaning China, not a second level petty aggressor like India. Since the occupation of Afghanistan by American forces, the soil of Afghanistan has hardly witnessed a peaceful day. The American strategy to eradicate Taliban has failed to a large extent as Taliban are gaining control of areas outside Kabul. The Afghan government has no writ outside the capital.

Pakistan, Afghanistan and China have agreed to hold dialogue process at foreign ministers’ level to discuss relations between Islamabad and Kabul with a special focus on economic cooperation. Hopefully Afghani officials will have better sense then to swat away the Chinese hand. Beijing wants a stable Afghanistan because of the investments she is doing there, and will be a more peaceful and stable partner than India can ever be.

COAS Qamar Bajwa rightly says that Pakistan has sacrificed the most in the ongoing war against terror. Reluctance on the part of the world not to acknowledge Pakistan’s role and demanding to ‘do more’ is not fair. The wedge that the US has driven between Pakistan and Afghanistan by dissolving the Af-Pak office and Congress bills that wish to remove Pakistan from the list of Major non-NATO ally (MNNA) states, will only cause more conflict in the region. The Americans, none of whom are dying from terrorism, or suffering economics losses, play God with our people without the realisation that if people in the Middle East and South Asia are demonised, and are not safe, no one in the world will be safe. Attacking Pakistan diplomatically, and calling us names in Congress only creates public dissent in Pakistan, and only fuels more hate and distrust for the US and its operations in the region.

COAS has stated that now is the time for all other stakeholders particularly Afghanistan to ‘do more’ in order to curtail terrorism. It has been almost 40 years since the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and 15 since the US occupation. Is this not enough time for the locals to have gotten their act together? Pakistan will always offer help, and cooperation, but Afghan instability is not our fault, or our burden. We have enough problems of our own.

Fighting terrorism on just a military front is not enough and will always prove short term unless the solution is multi-pronged including political cooperation. And Pakistan, as well as China, are among the only few countries that have realised that. It is hoped that China being the mediator between Pakistan and Afghanistan will succeed in normalising the relations, because if a superpower cannot convince Afghanistan to really cooperate, nothing will.