From Brits to Americans –adamant forays into Central Asia and the graveyard that lies beyond
Filled with guilt, defeated by the strange in 1843,Britain Army Chaplain, Rev. G.H. Gleigwas one of the few that survived the first Anglo Afghan War.He wrote in his memoir; “a war begun for no wise purpose, carried on with a strange mixture of rashness and timidity, brought to a close after suffering and disaster, our eventual evacuation of the country resembled the retreat of an army defeated.”
Afghanistan, also known as the Graveyard of Empires has succumbed to many superpowers before. Tales of Great Britain and Russian bouts are not too old to remember. It was not just a matter of intelligence or man power to conquer Afghanistanand bury the roots of west, deep enough to sustain a new order made on the foundations of untouchable, unbreakable ethnic sectors.
From deep sea ports to routs to every portion of the world, Asia has always been an eye catching emerald for superpowers. History of intervention in Afghanistan existed long before. Shah Shujah Durrani, the 5th Emir of Afghanistan from Durrani Empire, was being contested for the throne by Dost Muhammad. Due to prominent support by the Brits, Dost Muhammad became a successful heir to the throne in 1839. In a few years Afghanistan became the battleground for the first Anglo Afghan War. The first encounter of muskets and jezails fought between existing powers of today in our very own Afghanistan.
From the 1842 invasion of Afghanistan by Britain, to 1979 invasion of Soviets in the midst of Cold War, to the 2001 appearance of the United States,the land of multiracial population is still struggling for a way out of this abyss. United States (US), International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and NATO forces had a different perception of Afghanistan issue in the start. Britain special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2009-2010, Sherard Cowper-Coles, stated in an interview to BBC, “There was a believe it could be done quickly with a very light footprint, we could be in we could be out again and we ended up doing neither one thing nor the other”.
The quagmire the US has drawn itself into is keeping it engaged even after 17 years. Majority of the population in the United States opts to stay out of foreign clashes, especially Afghanistan. Former President of the United States, upon huge public appeal after 14 years of non-concluding struggle, decided to call back troops from Afghanistan. It seemed the best choice of the decade, benefitting both the US and the Afghans. However, sadly, the state of affairs changed after the 45th president of the US took the chair. The air current changed its direction, leading to change of policies for Asia focusing specifically on the issue of Afghanistan. The consequence is that currently 14,000 NATO troops are present in Afghanistan, increasing the number from 11,000 in Obama Administrative grasp, which is further feared to increase.
The neighboring country and the peak sufferer of this game of surmount, Pakistan, has been the all-time bearer of collateral damage since the start. More or less 60,000 people have been killed in this war on terror that never missed a chance to extend its roots towards Pakistan. Furthermore,$120 billion has been set to fire in this war. It is disgraceful that Mr. Trump couldn’t see how our competent young Army officers, civilians and brave police officers along with every institution of Pakistan suffered severe losses, each life, each uniform laid in the hope of a prosperous Pakistan and a peaceful region together.
Luckily, we have, not entirely but to a great extent, made it out of this abyss. Successful military operations by Pakistan Army in Swat, Waziristan and other tribal Agencies have been instrumental in working towards the current stable situation of Pakistan. Being a prominent member of One Belt One Road initiative of China, Pakistan is attaining its economical uplift. This is critiqued by some countries and has received criticism from within Pakistan too, but the risk is worth taking at this very moment in Pakistan’s history. CPEC is another way of putting up all the strategic advantages of this region into the best of use i.e. molding the clay this region bears into the proper desired outcome.
With the US willing to jump back to into the graveyard of empires, history seems to be repeating itself and this time not as a tragedy, but as farce. The situation here is not in any perspective similar to that of Iraq for the United States and that is what the American mindset was opposed to when invading Afghanistan. The difference is that in Iraq majority of the people wanted to get rid of the regime but here the opinion is quite the opposite – the people think of Americans as foreign invaders and not as the ones for their redemption.
Thus the only key towards a stable and peaceful Pakistan is a stable and peaceful Afghanistan and vice versa. The stability of both countries is correlated and it will only be maintained if foreign powers opt to stay out of it, otherwise whatever suffering happened before in history may repeat itself.