Feb 28, 2009

Yet another tirade

THE trilateral talks in Washington on the war on terror have again seen that unedifying ritual in which Afghan delegates pour venom on Pakistan and, presumably, embarrass their hosts. In the US capital to attend talks with Pakistani and American delegates on developing greater cooperation to thwart terrorism, the Afghan foreign minister had unpalatable things to say about Pakistan.
The “main threat centre” for instability, he said, was neither Iraq nor his own country but Pakistan. This is a rewording of the Indian charge that Pakistan is the “epicentre” of terrorism. Speaking at the Centre for American Progress on Thursday, Rangeen Dadfar Spanta feared that Pakistan could become a failed state and that would not be in the interest of America and the region. This piece of wisdom has come from a man whose own country has been devastated by war and civil conflict, and that has been a victim of terrorism for three decades. In fact, there is no sign yet that the corrupt government he represents is anywhere near giving Afghanistan a semblance of normality.
Winning the war on terror is one thing, setting one’s house in order quite another. America is nowhere near winning the war on terror, nor is Pakistan. While it is true that Pakistan’s domestic scene is not enviable, there is awareness of the immensity of the economic and political challenges the country faces. In fact, Pakistan has had no time to be officious and advise its western neighbour to make greater efforts for peace. But Kabul has missed no opportunity to slander Pakistan. Mr Spanta’s country and the government he represents are in an utter mess. While they support the world’s ‘do more’ advice to Pakistan, Afghanistans leaders haven’t bothered to examine their own gross failures. Why is it Pakistans responsibility alone to check the two-way crossings by terrorists and smugglers across the Durand Line? Why haven’t Afghan forces and Isaf contingents set up an adequate number of check-posts along the border to stop the two-way movement?
The country’s reconstruction has come to a halt because the international donors have no confidence in the Kabul government. The country is the world’s leading drug producer and President Hamid Karzai’s own brother, a provincial governor, is allegedly among those involved in drug trafficking.
In fact, one could be forgiven for thinking that the Karzai government is virtually sabotaging the war on terror to advance its own interests and distract Pakistan from pursuing the fight against the Taliban.

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