How should Pakistan respond to Obama’s Afghanistan plan?

How should Pakistan respond to Obama’s Afghanistan plan? invites its readers to debate current affairs in this forum.

On Friday, US President Barack Obama unveiled a new strategy for the war in Afghanistan. This time, the US is planning on having a way out. The strategy relies on more US forces on the ground, an expansion of Kabul’s security forces, cooperation with ‘reconcilable‘ insurgents in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, and a significant boost in civilian aid on both sides of the Durand Line (Pakistan will receive US$ 1.5 billion annually over five years). There is also a push toward a regional approach to the conflict in Afghanistan. Senator John Kerry, for example, is advocating for the involvement of China, Iran, and India. For his part, President Obama also hopes to involve the Gulf States and Russia.

As the beneficiary of increased US aid, Pakistan is expected to facilitate the new US strategy on Afghanistan. But the country finds itself in a tricky position: even while Pakistani intelligence officials help the US identify terrorist targets for Predator attacks, US government officials are accusing the ISI of supporting the Taliban.

What should Pakistan do with regards to the new strategy in Afghanistan? How can the government balance cooperation with the US and other regional partners in the war against terror while protecting and prioritizing Pakistan’s interests? Are Afghanistan’s problems Pakistan’s problems too?


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183 Responses to “How should Pakistan respond to Obama’s Afghanistan plan?”

  1. pure_pakistani says:

    huh!..beggars cant be choosers.Then how come pakistan gets to choose. Half the country needs the money of Americans, the other half, arm power of radical islamic groups. No problem even if both the parties are going to come back and haunt us later.Terrorists are mad at us for helping America and Americans are mad for helping terrorists. No issues.. lets poke our noses deeper into the issue and if that back fires.. lets live in denial… until both the parties come and fight us first. Radical islamic groups are already on their way. We at least have a neighbour to put blame on. Lets live in more denial and enjoy the visual treat of bombs and fidayeen attacks in our own backyard .We are in for one wild ride. It never stops getting exciting.

  2. Wajahat Shamsi says:

    It should be very clear to the American’s that they cannot win in Afghanistan w/o the help of Pakistan. Our supply route is the shortest and cheapest, which will help to keep the war cost low, which is increasing exponentially. Route through Iran is long and not developed. Route through Russia takes for ever. With that in mind our government should tell our American Friends that things would run according to our wills, after all when they left in 1989, we were the one who played a crucial role in bringing about peace in Afghanistan. We should dictate terms rather than accept anything that is thrown at us. I remember reading in a book, when once President Ayub Khan said that beggars are not choosers. The time has come when we should say the same thing to Americans Beggars re not choosers. We need more aid & better equipment. Not only this they should make sure that Indians don’t use their twelve consulates to destabilize the region.

  3. khan says:

    Muhammad Abdul Majid – listen up.

    the reason they have not been captured is because they hide in caves surrounded by a land that the US is not permitted to go into. Nothing groovy or sexy about how they have avoided capture. Its simple logistics.

  4. khan says:

    The shortsightedness of the people here is so obvious. You are still mired in the thought that the US is the Great Satan. what you forget is prior to 911, the US in fact supported and funded Pakistan with great zeal and at times to detriment of Indian interest.

    You will live in the stone ages if you act foolish in not accepting the funding and assistance of the US in this war on terror. This is ‘Global’ threat that would only see the international community alienating Pakistan – if Pakistan does not step up to the plate.

    Don’t make a scapegoat of the hand – that extends to help you. This is not about regional identities – Its about smart politics !!!

    Can you handle the truth ?

  5. AMEEN BAWANY says:

    World knows what kind of fairwell received by Bush in Iraq and its old saying history repeat itself.

    Pakistanis should be more careful and keep themselves away being a war partner by any means.

  6. Mustafa says:

    Pakistan and Afghanistan can’t taggle the web of foreign powers and Mullah without help from each other. Pakistani and Afghani must realize that neither US, UK or India are friends of Pakistan and Afghanistan ( India). Sooner Pakistani and Afghani realize it, it would be better. Both nations are proud nations- both with each other help defeated the Russia and both need each other to destroy the Yolk of foreign powers and Mullah’s powers. Each can’t do alone.

  7. OK says:

    Pakistan should ally itself with the organic, so called “Taliban” not those elements who have sworn alleigance to Arab extremists and their allies. Make no mistake, once America leaves, and the dust settles, the Pashtoon nation will again return to power in Afghanistan. I further suspect that Karzai will soon be in exile and a new leadership will emerge in Afghanistan. It is clear that the hardcore Taliban offer nothing but war, misery and destruction to themselves and the region, and thus should be defeated militarily and ideologically through the support of the reconcilable Taliban and Pashtoon tribes in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

  8. ` says:

    PAK+India should fight terrorism together. Historically it the people and the part of the land of Pakistan which has bear the attacks of foreigners in the past many centuries(Alexander, Iranians, Mongols.Mughals etc) and saved the mainland from the barbaric acts of the attackers,They have sacrificed their lives and religion to save the present India.
    So I request evrey Indian and Pakistani (Including politicians) that leave all the political difference aside and work together to erradicate the common enemy i.e. terrorism, Poverty. illetracy etc

  9. Brijesh says:

    Its amazing how many people here sincerely believe that Israel is behind the mayhem in Pakistan. Its even more amazing that person after person believe that the problems that haunt today’s Pakistan is because of events that transpired two decades ago.

    The fact is Pakistan should face the terrorism treath head on and resolve it with force if required. Pussy-footing around the issue will not help.
    It is increasingly apparent that Pakistani elements sponsor terrorism. That terrorism is not engulfing the entire state. Today’s Pakistan is a pariah, a no-go zone for cricket teams, politicians, artists and everyone else.

    I am an Indian and have always wished the best for my Pakistani brothers. Please do not be fooled by internal hypocrisy that lays the current situation on India and Israel.

  10. ZARA says:

    Around the world , people talk about our country for the wrong reasons.
    After our independence what we had achieved? Nothing!!!!!
    We always compare ourselves with Indians.. how they are treating their muslims, riots in Gujrat etc…
    But try to understand — even after all these events in Indian soil, nobody is talking negative about them , except us.
    I am afraid to say in social web site, that i am Muslim and from pakistan.

  11. Haider says:

    Is it possible that the ISI is giving US a hardtime in Afghanistan through Taleban? The more the US wants to eliminate this monster that it created itself to fight the russians, the more ISI is keeping it alive. Reason: US continues to hold Pak as its top ally and keeps funding its economy. I would have given a 10 on 10 to this strategy had we got a handful of good, honest and patriotic politicians running our country and striving to make the best out of the funds that are pouring in in the form of aid. But alas! Deep pockets and sometimes pockets with holes are shattering this nation’s dreams.

  12. Siraj Ahsan says:

    It is Pakistanis destryoing Pakistan and no one else. 62 years of blame game should end and realities accepted. If we have US pushing things from nose and throat it is us to be blamed.
    If for the wrong of US we are going to destroy ourselves then no one can help a nation. This is what is happening. Insurgency has destroyed Pakistan… US citizen sleep in peace while we dont know where we will be struck.

  13. ajit says:

    who says terrorism and jihadism do not pay? according to USA it is worth $1.5 billion a year but according to Pakistan’s best friend, China, it is not even 0.5 billion onetime gift….go figure
    Make sure what you wish for, because God may even grant it…like the US to get out of the region may just happen…because Obama is not going to jeopardize his second term by pouring more money down the afpak border.And if that happens Pakistan economy will go into a tail spin and crash …

  14. Muhammad Abdul Majid says:

    Its all about the direction of war which America has lost. It was Al-Qaida who was the target. After having all the “greatest” weapon and all the greatest and sensitive technology why Usama bin laden and Amen al Zahwari havent been captured. It is very easy that if some one is failing the put all the trash on someone else and get out cleanly. Same thing USA and allied forces are doing. They cant even captured those who were involved in so called attacks on 911. Pakistan should be kept out of it and Pakistan should also try to keep her self out of it. It has never been a Pakistan war. The war which was thrust upon Afghanistan and killed thousands of innocent man, women and children but still Alqaeeda is active and killing people in Afghanistan.
    Pakistan should concentrate on enhancing all the systems of govt. with most importantly the Judiciary for justice which will make stronger Pakistan and the war to USA. Let them clean the trash which they have messed up.

  15. Avanti says:

    I tell my son all the time – if you don’t do it, someone else will make you do it and you won’t like it. This is exactly what is happening to Pakistan. For years, they ignored the warning signs coming from all over. Now they are complaining.

    The saddest part is, the Pakistanis still don’t get it, and continue to blame everyone else.

    For a second, ponder on these issues:

    Islam is not a unifying force. It is meant to be observed on a personal level. Don’t mix it with politics to run a country or destroy one.

    open your eyes, know the facts, analyze them, and act like an informed mature person. Don’t be a whiny cry baby. It is a great country, but is stuck with some bad people. Take care of them, and march on. The whole world, including your enemies – the Afghans and the Indians – will support you.

  16. Maqbool Rehman says:

    We need to realize that the ISI and the army need to be UNDER a civilian thumb. They have been ineffective in the way they have defended us as an organization. On an individual soldier/agent level we have the cream of our population there but at an organizational level, they are our bane.

    a) ISI/Army thinks that we can keep saying that we do not have control over NWFP, FATA, Balochistan and yet consider foreign troops as a violation of sovereignty. The US is not that stupid.

    b) ISI/Army must realize that supporting the Taliban hurts Pakistan. We might win the battle but we will lose the war.

    c) ISI/Army must realize that we cannot SECRETLY support the Taliban. The CIA is not that stupid.
    d) ISI/Army need to realize that Kashmir is a lost cause. Regardless of the moral case, we need to cut our losses, change our relationship with India and grow our economy. Doleouts from US will NOT grow our economy.

  17. Samina Parvez Khalid says:

    The much-publicized new Afghan strategy speaks volumes of the failure of US efforts to put back the genie they had created during the cold war years and later left to grow in the region on both sides of the Durand Line. The new policy is not a U-turn. However, what is significant is that criticism at home and amongst its allies, helped the US administration realize the scale of the threat and to do comprehensive groundwork before chalking out a clear approach with more resources and including an exit strategy.

    At home, President Barack Obama addressing the Congress stressed that his focus was ensuring that al-Qaeda could not attack the US. He was candid with the public that the war will cost more lives and money. He succeeded in making the Americans understand that it was “down payment on our own future”, and got an immediate positive feedback from both sides of the aisle in Congress.

    In Brussels, U.S., Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Mr. Richard Holbrooke stressed the need for a regional approach to the Afghan problem, including Pakistan, and the importance of a stepped up civilian and military effort. The new policy has been termed as an attempt to “fit the Afghan and Pakistan pieces together”. Envisaging more US troops and civilians than their counterparts from NATO, there are plans to bring Iran, Russia, China and India as part of the new international contact group on Afghanistan.

    The new US strategy includes reconciliation efforts with some Taliban, and a lowering of expectations for what the US can achieve in the war-torn Afghanistan. The aim is to train the Afghan military to fight the insurgents and to take control of its war and ultimately to bring back their troops home.

    For Pakistan, it tantamount to an endorsement of a congressional funding plan – the Kerry-Lugar legislation that links long-term U.S. security assistance to that of its efforts to curb the Taliban activity along the frontier areas that border Afghanistan. It also stresses the need for tackling extremists operating inside Pakistan. The US administration believes that maintaining the new relationship envisioned between Islamabad and Washington depends on a convergence of views on how to counter the Taliban-driven security challenges in Pakistan. It could have redefined the US approach to Pakistan. If the drone attacks continue, it may damage its ability to succeed.

  18. T. Rasheed says:

    Today Pakistan is struggling for its minimal existence. Its sovereignty is gone. Its territorial integrity is in severe danger. Its ethnic divisions are at their sharpest to a breaking point. Its armed forces (pride of the nation) effectively engaged in a suicidal war against its own people. Father of its nuclear capability under house arrest. Its nuclear assets created to protect the country are being protected, lest they are picked up or destroyed in a surprise US-India-Israel special action.

    This is indeed amazing and incredible. 170 million people and their leaders are neither interested in finding out how have they arrived at this situation, nor seeking to get out of it. With no one in control, circumstances are the driving force and the situation is totally out of control.


  19. Gopi Chara says:

    I feel very sad for Pakistani citizens 1.Apparently being beheaded by militants in some parts of Pakistan
    2.Being attacked by drones from skies.
    3.Ordered by West to act against Militants.
    4.Apparent Terrorist sympathy of ISI and Army.
    5.Weak infant status of Democracy.
    6. History of connection of all parties with Militants.
    What is the average citizen to do? What is his / her future? Macho talk is totally useless. All of the allies (US, Saudi and China)seem to be off no help.All of the true patriots should come up with a practical answer to this problem at this critical juncture. Is there no patriot / leader to step in and do it? I do not trust any of the leaders of the parties except may be Imran Khan. They all seem to take the money and run!!

  20. kaushal , INDIA says:

    This is in reference to the unveiling of new approach towards tackling the afghan problem .

    pakistan has to realise that there is nothing like good taliban and bad taliban all are extremists who have no regard for the human life nor they do recognise religion , there sole aim is to spread terror and cause maximum destruction .

    secondly pakistan and afganistan have to demarcate there border and respect the santity of it by stationing border troops with provision of free movement of people as on both sides of border consist of same ethnic stock .

    thirdly pakistan has the stake in region and its concerns needs to well addressed similarly other countries have stake and if all them work in tandem they can iron out differences and can contribute towards rebuilding the war shattered afghan society and economy .

  21. Nabeela Koheenahi says:

    After seeing the rallies over the past 2 years regarding the dismantling of the justice system by the government, why would the people of Pakistan feel they themselves do not have the wherewithal and the commitment to respond and win the war on terror on their own soil? Really all that is needed is for Pakistan to secede the NWFP entirely – and for the people of Pakistan (and ex-pats) to continue to rally for this expanded cause of justice to get rid of terrorists from their own soil.

    Ceding the NWFP region to form its own autonomous region would allow tribal leaders there to deal with the Taliban and handle the situation themselves, as they have proven they really do not want or appreciate any outside assistance. Pakistan could then have REAL borders to set troops up in and defend their territory. Then Pakistan could request assistance from US, UK and other neighboring nations because they could have clearly proven they will not aid and abet the harboring of Taliban or establishment of Taliban within Pakistan borders. There may be elements that remain in places like Quetta or close to the border, but more than likely when they find they are outnumbered by the powerful Pakistan army AND average citizens, they will soon run over to join their fellow terrorists in the newly formed region or Afghanistan.

    Of course, this would be sad for the people in NWFP who do not want Taliban and Sharia law (especially non-Muslims) but this would also provide a way for Pakistan’s people to show they understand democracy. A lot of which truly means if YOU want justice YOU must press for it and perhaps even suffer for the cause – similar to the cause for the Chief Justice and detained lawyers and journalists.

    It is my strong recommendation that the ex-pats here in the USA also commit their energy and finances to press for TRUE justice for EVERY Pakistani, be they Ahmaddya, Sikh, Christian or Muslim. True democracy demands all people receive equal treatment and opportunity, regardless of ethnicity, race, creed, or current social position. This is what “the pursuit of happiness” means in the Declaration of Independence. It does not mean to be able to fulfill your every desire in order to be happy, but that all the people agree to live in harmony and work to maintain equal rights for each other. The phrase was based on writings of John Locke, who expressed that “no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.”

  22. harikumar says:

    Afghanistan was once up on a time the cradle of Buddhism. So was SWAT valley. They were the last to discard Buddhism and again accept Hinduism. When Islam came much later around 1000 AD with the sword they became hardened Islamists.

    Things are changing. Not only for Afghanistan and the tribals of Peshwar onwards.

    The Punjabis and Sindhis could never accept Islamisation. They are hard working people who want to enjoy life. They will not sacrifice everything for Islam.

    In the changed global scenario there is no room for religious states. Secularism is the way and Pakistan has to become a truly secular state. Ultimately it will happen. The only question is when?

  23. Albert Pinto says:

    Three things that have destroyed Pakistan: 1) religious fanaticism, 2) false and hollow Pakistani pride, and 3) competing with India at all costs.

  24. Asad Khorasanee says:

    Forget our role in Afghanistan,or Kashmir,or India,or Isreal,lets find out whats our role in Pakistan each one of us,before the reality of extremeism roles over us.Get a strong education base of enlightned new generation so we can be a part of the G21,rather than being on the outside looking in on the G20 nations.

  25. Viquar says:

    This is the first time we have seen some consideration for Pakistani sentiments from US administration, BUT, U.S. has had a poor record with Pakistan on sincerity.
    Not once, or twice but three time Pakistan has been ditched terribly after the political agenda was met, leaving Pakistan in a very difficult situation.
    Do we have a choice, YES we always have a choice, we as a nation must follow our own interest like any other nation.
    To clearly answer the question, Pakistan should carefully view the policy, and if required ammend it to suit our needs. We must realize that there will be now more pressure on miscreants to hid inside Pakistan with more trrops arriving in Afghanistan. Moveover, money given for non military causes MUST be made to work for the economy. If we loose this chance then no one will ever respect us and try and help. on Facebook on Facebook