“I think the country that’s going to be the most affected frankly is going to be Pakistan because of the possibility of unconstrained refugee flow because of the possibility of renewed terrorist attacks in Pakistan that could ramp up as a result of this,” McKenzie told lawmakers Tuesday while articulating the possible impact on neighboring countries after U.S. troops complete their Afghan exit.
Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East and South Asia, shared the assessment in his congressional testimony this week in Washington. The CENTCOM chief also highlighted long-running U.S. complaints the Taliban continue to maintain their sanctuaries on Pakistani soil and direct insurgent attacks in Afghanistan from there. These remarks came just a week after President Joe Biden announced the last remaining 3,000 or so U.S. troops will leave Afghanistan by September 11 to end what he said was America’s “forever war.”
The foreign troop’s withdrawal, due to start May 1, has raised fears of intensification in the war between Afghan government forces and the Taliban insurgency in the conflict-torn nation, which shares about 2,600-kilometers of the border with Pakistan because the two adversaries have failed to reach a peace deal after months of talks.
Pakistan was the worst-hit country in the neighborhood of Afghanistan due to prolonged war. Pakistan suffered heavy losses of precious lives of around 80,000 persons, including personnel of the Armed Forces and Law enforcement institutions. Pakistan used to be one of the most promising economies in this part of the world before the Afghanistan crisis emerged in the 1980s. Pakistan’s industrialization was taking off, the agriculture sector was booming, the economic indicators were very much encouraging, and GDP growth was touching 8% annually. But due to a war-like situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan,s development come to pause or halt status, and there was an estimated net loss to Pakistan worth U.S. Dollars 250 Billion.
In addition to the loss of human lives, and economic losses, the unique gift of extremism, intolerance, terrorism, Drug culture, Human Trafficking, and Gun culture, given to Pakistan. As a matter of fact, in the early 1980s, Pakistan was radicalized by designs to win the war in Afghanistan against the former USSR. Pakistan’s education system was modified, extremist groups were devised, generous funding was provided, and encouraged to launch Jihad.
Pakistan was turned into a hub of almost all international intelligence agencies. Few countries used Pakistan as a laboratory or training center for covered operations. As a result, Pakistan faced unrest, and stability was at stake.
Pakistan sincerely cooperated with America for almost seven decades, was an important ally with the IUS during the cold war, Afghan War, War on terror, became the non-NATO close ally. But, in return, Pakistan got the worst sanctions and coercion. Pakistan was demanded to “do more,” much more than its capacity, and yet blamed for America’s defeat in Afghanistan. Was is used as scape-goat. The U.S. visibly shifted its policies toward Pakistan’s traditional rival India since 2005 and developed a strategic partnership with India by signing the “Major Defense Partner” treaty. The U.S. has written off Pakistan completely. Its Western Allies also turned a cold shoulder toward Pakistan.
As a matter of fact, Americans do not believe in sincere friendship and treat others as “Transanctional relationship.” Paying for specific tasks and forget after the job is completed. We believe in moral values in our society and give more importance to friendship and relations over materialistic gains or losses.
Pakistan is the first country, who desires permanent peace and stability in Afghanistan. At the request of Americans, Pakistan has been assisting the US-Taliban peace negotiations in Doha, Qatar. Americans acknowledged Pakistan’s positive role but unwilling to value it.
Gen. Kenneth McKenzie’s remarks are hurting the people of Pakistan. Pakistan is sincerely struggling hard for sustainable peace in Afghanistan, and the people of Pakistan do not anticipate the message of destabilization or adverse impact on Pakistan. His remarks are alarming for the whole nation.
Pakistan believes in Afghan-led, Afghan-owned solutions and cooperating with all stakeholders. A regional approach satisfying all stakeholders may be the optimum solution. Russia and China are also playing vital role in ending instabilty and unrest in Afghanistan. Pakistan is a proactive partner with anyone, anywhere, and any moment for peace, stability, and development and avoids conflicts or wars. Pakistan values human lives and avoids any further bloodshed. Pakistan desires a smooth and timely withdrawal of all foreign troops and intra-Afghan dialogue to settle all issues amicably on political grounds.