Scholars’ Strong Plea for Non-interference in Afghanistan
Speakers on the second day of the conference on Post-Exit Afghanistan favoured a regional-supported solution which recognized Afghanistan as an independent sovereign state and avoided interference in its internal affairs and allowed it the freedom to settle the conflict according to its own traditional ways and needs.
Iranian scholar Dr. Kayhan Barzegar in his forceful address rejected any understanding with the US as far as Afghanistan was concerned since American strategy in Afghanistan was to undermine Iran’s interests in its neighbourhood. He said Iran-Pakistan relations could be adversely affected by Pakistan’s approach towards the Taliban on which Iran differed since the Taliban had an ideological agenda.
American scholar Dr. Brian Katulis blamed the US-led intervention in Afghanistan for repeating mistakes and expecting different results. He thought that the 2014 deadline could be extended over the decade. He thought the US was in no rush and neither was it interested in a new great game. Its behaviour could be governed by the impending economic crisis in which the present war has a big contribution. He said the regional approach which is being promoted should also be spelled out and we need to know the contents of the game plan.
Prof. Hasan Askari Rizvi in his paper said that indulgence in proxy wars was a dangerous practice and reliance on terrorist groups was a sure remedy for disaster. Militants cannot be relied upon. About Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan he said Pakistan has no need to play any role that the Afghans did not want. Instead after the withdrawal of foreign forces Pakistan should focus its attention on the Tribal areas where the conflict has spilled over. He said military operation there has failed to achieve primacy without which there can be no peace.
Dr. Christian Wagner, a German scholar speaking on responsibilities of the international community in rebuilding Afghanistan said that the role of the world agencies would continue beyond 2014 and this role will be larger than that of the regional stake holders as their role would be marred by clash of interests. He said Afghanistan would be relegated in their scheme of things and the western countries will have greater interest in the Middle East after withdrawing from Afghanistan.
Lt. Gen. ® Kamal Matinuddin described the history of the conflict since Daud’s fall. He said the post-exit scenario depended on four actions. One, the Taliban who were the most important, two, the Afghan national army which is being built to face the Taliban, three, the Haqqani network and four, the US troops that will remain behind. Pakistan’s role in the war on terror will continue even after the US drawdown. The best scenario would be if the Taliban surrendered and the worst if they don’t and a civil war starts. In such a situation Pakistan would do best to stay away from the internal conflict.
Former ambassador Rustam Shah Mahmood rejected the 9/11 story and said the attacks on the Twin Towers was the work of CIA and Mossad to provide an excuse for the action against Afghanistan and get a foothold in the region. He said FATA remained peaceful throughout the war against the Soviets. All trouble broke loose after 9/11. The solution in his view lay in vacation of foreign forces from Afghanistan and allowing Afghanistan to settle its affairs without outside interference.