The US & NATO Exit Plans from Afghanistan

Courtesy: Digital Journal

Finally Pakistan has restored the NATO supply line to Afghanistan through its territories amid tense & uncertain negotiations between Washington & Islamabad which was closed after NATO forces had mistakenly killed 26 Pakistani soldiers near Pak-Afghan borders in late November 2011. Initially the US had refused for any apology over the sad incident; later issued the apology & $1.1billion aid under Coalition Support Fund (CFS) in a deal to open the said routes.

Though the decision of restoration was not an easy task for Pakistani Govt. & spy agencies due to heavy protests & increasing public anger over continues drone attacks & infringements of Pakistan’s sovereignty, but Pakistan’s will to normalize the strained relations help the countries to reach an agreement. The reopening of the NATO supply line is important in the context of the planned exit of the US & NATO forces from Afghanistan in 2014.

The US & NATO have already planned to handover the combat to Afghan Military & go on back foots in summer next year. It gives raise to many questions:

  • Would the weak & incompetent Afghan Forces be able to coup-up with Al-Qaida & Taliban insurgents?
  • Would the US & allied nations continue funding Afghan Govt & Afghan Forces to meet their necessary expenses?
  • Would the Afghan Civil Govt. be able to re-initiate the Health, Education, Recreation & infrastructure facilities in the country amid strong opposition & threats from Al-Qaida & Taliban?
  • Would the international Aid Agencies be able to carry on their activities in Afghanistan for the rehabilitation of the Afghan people?
  • Would Pakistan continue to host millions of Afghan Refugees despite its worst economic conditions?
  • Will Pakistan continue its role as a front line state in war against terror even after the America’s departure?
  • How would the world be able to eliminate chances of international terrorism from Afghan territories in the future?

Russian President Vladimir Putin has also shown his concern over the plan suggesting the US & NATO to stay & finish the job in Afghanistan beyond 2014:

“It is regrettable that many participants in this operation are thinking about how to pull out of there, they took up this burden and should carry it to the end.” Putin stated.

Pakistan, on the other hand, being the frontline state in the US led war against terror has already suffered too much. Taliban insurgency, suicide blasts, law & order, moreover US drone strikes & the subsequent loss of innocent lives, but US always kept demanding Pakistan to “Do More”. This is the time the US & NATO should “Do more” in Afghanistan until the establishment of a stable indigenous Government in Kabul, sustainable peace & complete rehabilitation of the refugees.

US should realize that as a strategic partner Pakistan possesses great geopolitical importance in the region. Its internal stability, peace, economic health & security at its eastern & western borders are critical for the world & secure the US interests too. The worst law & order situation had dimmed all the economic boom & developments of the Musharraf’s regime & now the Government of Pakistan People’s Party in Islamabad has also failed to deliver. It enhances the chance of a raise in the right wing politics amid anti US sentiments, which of course neither is beneficial for Pakistan nor is for the US.

In case of any coalition Government in Islamabad next year, composed of right wing parties partially or fully backed & supported by the Jihadi Elements, the situation would lead to a complete chaos not only in Pakistan but also across the borders. In this scenario, not only the Pakistani people will suffer, but also the US would lose a friendly government in Islamabad and would have to face a hostile nuclear regime.

To ensure a liberal & moderate Government in Islamabad, a stable Govt. in Kabul & sustainable peace throughout the region, the US should not leave the issues unresolved as it had left in the past when after the Soviet defeat the US had left the Afghan Mujahideen turned war lords on their own, instead both Washington & Islamabad should carry on their campaign at Pak-Afghan borders especially in the Pakistani Tribal Areas till its logical end, before its too late to clear the mess, specially US & NATO nations should play their part in Afghanistan for its reconstruction & rehabilitation of the Afghan people.


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