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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Pakistan’s bold stance after decades

Pakistan has suffered heavy losses while helping the US in its War on Terror. As the withdrawal nears, the US is once again looking for Pakistan's assistance, however, this time, with PM Khan, Pakistan is taking a strong stance against the US.

|DJ Kamal Mustafa

The 9/11 attack on World Trade Center, which killed almost 3,000 people, had brought a new era of warfare for many countries. President George W. Bush (the American President at that time) vowed to use force against those responsible for attacking the United States on 9/11.

A month after the attack on America, the U.S. military, with the support of the allies began attacking & bombing the sanctuaries of the Taliban & Al- Qaeda in Afghanistan. Almost all Western countries France, Australia, Germany, United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, Norway, and Denmark, joined the battle against Afghanistan as allies of the United States.

In the few starting months of the war, the Taliban lost the fight against the U.S military, but the Al-Qaeda Chief Osama Bin Laden, who was a mastermind of the deadly 9/11 attack, escaped.

Read more: What’s the real story on Osama? 

Pakistan became the front-line ally of the U.S. government as part of the War on Terrorism & in exchange for this, Pakistan received $26 billion in military & economic aid from the U.S from 2002 till 2013. The decision to become an ally of the U.S. in the war against terrorism in Afghanistan was rejected & opposed by Pakistan’s religious and political parties. However, General Pervez Musharraf called the decision in the broader interest of Pakistan.

Pakistan’s integrity could have jeopardized in case of a confrontation with the U.S. so Pakistan provided its military airfields from which the U.S. forces could attack the militants in Afghanistan. Pakistan gave logistics and transit support to the U.S military for the delivery of goods to the coalition forces but, Pakistan had no idea that the worst of times was near.

Read more: US desperation for military bases: Pakistan’s opportunity?

Impact of the Afghan war on Pakistan

When the U.S. started its war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Taliban took refuge in the tribal areas on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The U.S launched drone strikes in 2004 along the Pak-Afghan border to destroy the Taliban’s strongholds.

On June 18, 2004, the first U.S drone strike took place in Pakistan’s South Waziristan to destroy the militant’s hideouts. And since then, there had been a relentless series of drone strikes in Pakistan that continued intermittently until 2017.

An estimated 429 drone strikes were carried out by the U.S from 2004-2017, according to the data compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. During 2004-2017 the strikes had killed approximately 4000 militants, including al Qaeda, Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan, and the Haqqani Network & more than 900 innocent civilians lost their lives and hundreds of injured during that era. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attack, the conflict and instability in Afghanistan had immense negative consequences for Pakistan.

Read more: America’s War on Terror & Pakistan’s sacrifices – Need for acknowledgment

When America invaded Afghanistan, Shamzai was against the American forces invading the country. Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai (killed in Karachi in 2004) was a Pakistani pro-Taliban Islamic scholar. He had links with Osama Bin Laden and Taliban leaders. Shamzai’s pro-Taliban statements and fatwas sowed the seeds of terrorism in the minds of extremists, the effects of which caused irreparable damage to Pakistan.

The militants launched attacks on Pakistan for supporting the United States, and a new wave of terrorism started that shook Pakistan. Until 2001 and before 9/11, Pakistan had never experienced a suicide attack. A series of bombings and suicide attacks began in almost all major cities of Pakistan including, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, and Islamabad.

Militants attacked mosques to religious places, schools to universities, public points to government offices, law enforcement buildings, and media houses. More than 83,000 people lost their lives in Pakistan’s war on terrorism, and more than 18,000 militants were eliminated. During the last two decades, Pakistan suffered $126 billion in losses in the terror war.

Read more: APS Terrorism: Pakistan’s 9/11

Pakistan’s strong stance

The stance of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was clear from the beginning that “Pakistan shouldn’t have been a part of someone’s war.” The wrong policies of the previous rulers had caused Pakistan to suffer an economic crisis. However, Pakistan is going in a promising direction under Khan’s rule.

For the last few months, rumors were circulating that Pakistan has allowed the U.S military to use its airspace and provide ground access for the forces for military action in Afghanistan. However, Imran Khan’s two words, “Absolutely Not”, have sent a strong message to the American government & CIA.

Read more: US is destined to lose Afghan War with or without Pakistani bases: PM IK writes in Washington…

An Axios political reporter Jonathan Swan who was interviewing Khan, asked, “Would you allow the American government to have the CIA here in Pakistan to conduct cross-border counterterrorism missions against Al-Qaeda, ISIS, or the Taliban?”

The answer of Prime Minister Khan, “Absolutely Not,” has expressed everything about Pakistan’s stance & shows that Pakistan is going in the right direction now.

DJ Kamal Mustafa is a DJ, Music Producer, Pakistani Film Maker & Journalist. The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space