by: Dr. G. R. Roashan
Even before Indian independence in 1947 and the official recognition of Pakistan by Afghanistan, Indians looked at Afghanistan with awe and admiration. Earlier in 1919, King Amanullah of Afghanistan had managed to fight the greatest colonial power of the world for his country’s independence and had won both in the battlefield as well as in the diplomatic arena Afghanistan’s freedom from Great Britain.
This was something the most populous colony of that country wished for them also and had not been able to achieve. They had to wait until 1947 when a great Indian nationalist, Mahatma Gandhi, following a policy of non-violence achieved for India. All during these twenty eight years, King Amanullah’s example of challenging the great British Empire served as a source of hope and inspiration for the captive nation of India.
Indo-Afghan relations ever since have been good. Only immediately after occupation of Afghanistan by its then northern neighbor, the Soviet Union, was it that the Indian government sided with the intruder and perhaps safeguarding its relations with that country agreed to the incursion and occupation of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union.
However, with the downfall of the Soviet system, India started to side with the Afghan nation and has continued to do so until today. This is because India today being weary of its relations with Pakistan and its need to fight terrorism in the wake also of a number of incidents in its soil needs Afghanistan as a friend. This however, does not mean that India does not have other interests in Afghanistan to safeguard. Among these let us name, India’s fear of Pakistani influence in Afghan affairs, India’s weariness about the Taliban movement in Pakistan and the connection made by some between Taliban and the Pashtun tribes of Pakistan and Afghanistan. This may help also to explain India’s closer ties with the Jamiat-e-Islami and Shura-e-Nizar movements in Afghanistan who themselves are afraid of a Pashtun dominance of Afghan politics.
Nevertheless, the most recent strategic agreement between Afghanistan and India reflect a rather mature movement on the part of both sides regarding the so-called renegade Pakistani stance on Afghan affairs as well as accusations by the United States of Pakistan’s hand in acts of terror against the American Embassy in Kabul and Pakistan’s inability or unwillingness to control Taliban elements in Quetta on Pakistani soil or to take to task the Haqqani terror movement in Pakistan. Evidently both these groups are in the open that is they are not underground and have addresses and areas of operation that are known to security services of Pakistan.
All of this leads to the fact that Pakistan has throughout wanted a government of its own liking to puppet for its interests in Afghanistan; it has wanted the United States to once again leave Afghanistan at the mercy of Pakistan like when the Soviets were forced by the Afghan nation to leave Afghanistan. Pakistan has consistently denied knowledge about terror groups’ whereabouts in Pakistan including the location of Osama Bin Laden, who the United States had to eliminate without the help of Pakistan on Pakistani soil and under the nose of the Pakistani military.
It is common knowledge that terrorist groups have invaded Afghanistan time and again from Pakistan and after committing acts of terror and violence in Afghanistan have returned to safe havens in Pakistan. These are facts that notwithstanding Pakistani denials cannot be denied any more.
At this juncture therefore, what is needed is an international agreement to ban any intervention by Afghanistan’s neighbors in its affairs which would include Pakistan and Iran. This would give a chance to Afghanistan to breathe easily dressing its many wounds in peace and finding its own solutions to its own problems. 10/08/11