News Analysis |
The US is banking on Pakistan’s support to end militancy in Afghanistan, said Senator John McCain during his visit to Kabul on Tuesday. He particularly referred to the need to curb much-dreaded Haqqani Network.“We have made it very clear that we expect they (Pakistan) will cooperate with us, particularly against the Haqqani network and against terrorist organizations.“If they don’t change their behavior, maybe we should change our behavior towards Pakistan as a nation,” said John McCain who is Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
This comes a day after Senator McCain led a bipartisan Senate delegation to Islamabad. After meeting the civilian and military high command, the delegation called the role of Pakistan as indispensable to peace for the region. Not only was Pakistan appreciated in its efforts to fight terrorism but it was stressed that continued engagement with Pakistan was important.
As of now, there are 8,400 US troops in the country.Trump has outsourced the Afghan policy to the Pentagon.If briefings and debates are anything to go by then a surge in troop level and air strikes are expected.
The visit to the Af-Pak region comes at a time when the milieu in Afghanistan is going from bad to worse. The Taliban and the ISIS-K are rampant in their operations against Afghanistan.The capabilities or the lack of them on part of the Afghan forces and the government are conspicuous, to say the least. The enfeebled Afghan government is reeling from in-fighting and serious security challenges.
The reverses on the battlefield faced by the US and Afghan forces have compelled the US to revert to a military-heavy strategy for Afghanistan. As of now, there are 8,400 US troops in the country.Trump has outsourced the Afghan policy to the Pentagon.If briefings and debates are anything to go by then a surge in troop level and air strikes are expected.
Kabul and the US have blamed Pakistan for stoking trouble in Afghanistan by supporting the Haqqani Network, something which Pakistan has repudiated.
The Defense Chief, James Mattis ruled out talks with the Taliban, giving a fair indication of the future. The US is all in readiness to re-launch the military plank in Afghanistan, something which did and can do little to change the dynamics on the battlefield.As a matter of fact, the Taliban will become more recalcitrant and will not come to the negotiating table.
Kabul and the US have blamed Pakistan for stoking trouble in Afghanistan by supporting the Haqqani Network, something which Pakistan has repudiated. Pakistan’s ties with Afghanistan and those with the US are at a lower ebb.
The US is all set to deal roughly with Pakistan as a majority clamors in favor of punishing Islamabad.The Administration has a few options on the table. They include expanding US drone strikes, redirecting or withholding some aid to Pakistan and eventually downgrading Pakistan’s status as a major non-NATO ally.
US lawmakers have introduced a bipartisan bill in Congress, seeking to revoke Pakistan’s status as a major non-Nato ally (MNNA) owing to Pakistan’s alleged inability and unwillingness to halt forces inimical to US interests.The focus of the bill, however, is on canceling the MNNA status, which was granted to Pakistan in 2004 by then-President George W. Bush to encourage Islamabad to help the United States fight Al Qaeda and the Taliban. If passed, the legislation will greatly hurt military to military relations between the two countries.
Seemingly, the US has bought Delhi’s narrative and defenestrated that of Islamabad.Given that both countries share concerns about a rising China, their partnership is likely to grow, much to the chagrin of Pakistan.
Though Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that Indo-US ties do not pose a threat to Pakistan, there is a great deal of consternation about Trump’s courtship with Modi.In the recent visit to Washington, Modi and Delhi were elated with what they achieved. The joint statement condemned and called upon Pakistan to stop supporting terrorism.Prior to the visit the US designated Syed Salahuddin as a Global Terrorist and cracked a drone deal with Delhi.
Seemingly, the US has bought Delhi’s narrative and defenestrated that of Islamabad.Given that both countries share concerns about a rising China, their partnership is likely to grow, much to the chagrin of Pakistan. The US will likely play up the Indo-Sino rivalry, which has ramped up with a border skirmish at Sikkim.
Pakistan is an important stakeholder in the Afghan peace process.Analysts take a leaf from history and predict that fighting sans talks will not produce dividends. Pakistan is said to have influence over the Taliban.Some voices in Washington still feel that Pakistan has to be won over.
For those who understand Pakistan will agree that India is a sensitive matter for Pakistan.The US can garner Pakistan’s much-needed support if it takes Pakistan into confidence over its growing ties with India.Though the US has stated that its policy has not changed with regard to Kashmir, Pakistan expects it to play a role in resolving the issue; the first step could be to take stock of India’s high-handed policies in the valley.Besides, there is a need to accept Pakistan’s legitimate concerns in Afghanistan in order to mend Pakistan’s behavior.