By Lt Gen.(R) Tariq
I was amazed to hear your one sided debate where your Congressmen were foaming at the mouth to declare Pakistan an enemy state. They sounded so committed that one could be forgiven for believing that they meant it and knew what they were talking about. Most of the speakers, heavily sponsored by India would not be able to find Pakistan on a map let alone make an intelligent comment on the regional environment.
I shall not stoop to respond to the meaningless charge-sheet bandied about by this anti Pakistani lobby, a bunch of stooges who not only do a great disservice to democracy and the US image but are responsible for the very foreign policy blunders the US is suffering the consequences of today. So here are some points that need to be understood, considered and explained:
- The US and it’s Coalition partners have lost the war in Afghanistan. It will be recognized as one of the greatest military defeats in history when all the dust and debris settles down.
- This loss has affected Pakistan the most. Barring the political rhetoric we hear about the situation and viewing it more from a State’s perspective, only a fool would see a benefit for Pakistan in this US defeat.
- It is natural for those responsible for this disaster to invent reasons for their failing and look for an appropriate whipping boy. That the narrative that needs to be manufactured for both is a product of this military defeat.
- That India is exploiting the situation and working herself into a position where She can promote the US agenda and defame Pakistan is a no-brainer.
- That Pakistan has made mistakes and bad choices is not contested but to define these decisions as State Policy intended to come in the way of a US victory is not only childish but ludicrous.
- That the US has a bad precedence of letting down its allies is very well recorded and documented in history. Some US-PAK experiences illustrating this are: The Somalia case where after entering with all the pomp and panoply the US ran unilaterally and returned home. The US left Pakistan on the beaches and withdrew under its protection. That Hollywood was encouraged to screen, ‘Black Hawk Down’, depicting Pakistani soldiers as cowards whereas it was a Pakistani squadron of 19 lancers that fought it’s way in and rescued the besieged Americans. This small truth was conveniently forgotten in making up of the narrative. Also, how after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan the US abandoned Pakistan with 3 million refugees, drugs and heavily armed Mujahidin Camps. One of the major causes of militancy all along the border today and one that apparently plagues the US security spectrum.
- If there is an iota of truth where some of your Congressmen bravely shoot their mouth off in a one-sided harangue, they should look forward to a public debate on the matter also. I am sure we can produce someone to give them a run for their money if they are up to it. Is the US willing to hold a public inquiry to determine the causes of the American failure in Afghanistan? It will probably be a better road to take than to conveniently blame every tactical and operational defeat on Pakistan.
- Can anyone amongst the US Congress explain the following :
– The US Strategy in Afghanistan?
– The desired End State?
– The political and military objectives?
– The causes of a military defeat?
– The reasons for a political failure?
– Was Pakistan your undoing?
- I have personally been involved in US-Pak operations for years along this border and I know we could have resolved this conflict easily. However, we were played and influenced by factors, people and institutions that did not want such a resolution. Pakistan was not one of these but do the US and it’s people even want to hear Pakistan’s story? Do they have the stomach to grapple with reality? Can truth be given a chance?
- For Pakistan: we have had enough. Let’s move on. Being a US ally over the years has been a painful experience. We have now been declared an enemy state. Let our future relations with the US be governed by this fact first and foremost. In other words when we speak to the US again on any and every occasion, remember you are speaking to the enemy.