June 12, 2015 Special Dispatch No. 6070

MEMRI Scholar Tufail Ahmad In 'New Indian Express': Pakistani Colonialism Is Destroying Afghanistan

June 12, 2015 | By Tufail Ahmad*
Pakistan | Special Dispatch No. 6070

In an article published June 5, 2015 in the New Indian Express, MEMRI South Asia Studies Project director Tufail Ahmad noted that Pakistan's intent towards Afghanistan is colonialist and states, "The ISI-NDS agreement is an instrument of Pakistani colonialism seeking to control Afghanistan."

The following is his article:  

In Afghanistan's Case, "Independent" Means "Co-Dependent"

"Afghan president Ashraf Ghani thinks that he could embrace Pakistan as a friend. He has moved to build independent relations with Pakistan, though in Afghanistan's case the word 'independent' simply means 'co-dependent.' Indian writers, especially those whose minds are mugged by hope, argue that Ghani is 'acting in the Afghan interest' and that reports of his 'tilt to Pakistan' are baseless. The Delhi-based writer Radha Kumar wrote recently: 'We should not view Afghanistan through a Pakistan lens, nor even through a China one.' Before Ghani's New Delhi visit, Kumar was lavish in praise, saying that he has 'a grand strategy' and that, as 'a visionary,'  he would 'unfurl his vision' of a pan-Asian economy.

"Associating such words as 'unfurl', 'grand strategy' and 'visionary' with Ghani shows this: Either Indian English is cruel, or our analysts are bereft of realism and of any understanding of regional developments. In the anarchical society of states, hope is a short walk into the nearest graveyard; this is all the more so for Afghans whose miseries are created by only one factor: Pakistan. India's hopeful ideologues - identified as 'biryani politicians' and 'sickularists' for pushing the country into regressive thought patterns - may nurse optimism. But in Afghanistan's case, optimism is a tragedy, and cannot be a benchmark from which to begin an analysis. During the 1980s and after, some three million Afghans found shelter in Pakistan. Each Afghan refugee could have been Pakistan's best friend in Afghanistan. But the Afghan refugees grasped a reality that India's 'biryani brigade' is unwilling to accept: Pakistani colonialism is destroying Afghanistan even now."

The ISI-NDS Intelligence Sharing Pact Is A Continuation Of Pakistan's Colonial Intent; "The ISI Is Sole Creator Of All Jihadi Terrorists Across South Asia"

"On May 18, Pakistan army spokesman Asim Bajwa revealed that an intelligence-sharing pact has been inked between the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security (NDS). This is continuation of Pakistan's colonial intent. Before 1979, when Soviet troops landed in Afghanistan, Pakistanis dreamed up an Islamic corridor through Afghanistan to Central Asia. During the 1980s, the ISI, with CIA money, used jihadis in Afghanistan. In the 1990s, the ISI got Pakistani citizens appointed in the Afghan government institutions under Taliban rule. From 2002 to 2005, Pakistani colonialism was left in disarray, as the Taliban were removed by U.S. troops following 9/11. From 2006, the jihadis used an ISI strategy of detonating improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan. Even now, the ISI's foot soldiers, the Taliban, are bombing Afghanistan every day.

"Pakistan looks at Afghanistan with colonial intent. In recent months, Pakistan army chief General Raheel Shareef, ISI chief Rizwan Akhtar, and prime minister Nawaz Sharif have paid numerous visits to Kabul while doing nothing against terror hideouts in Bahawalpur and Muridke. By May, the ISI chief had paid at least five reported visits. On May 12, Nawaz Sharif took the army chief and the ISI chief to Kabul. This is not unprecedented. These visits mirror the Pakistani colonial mind. In 2011, on April 11, all of the leaders of Pakistan descended on Kabul: they included prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Defense Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar, ISI chief Shuja Pasha, army chief Ashfaq Kayani, Junior Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, and Interior Minister Rehman Malik. It would have been understandable had they gone to attend a wedding, but these visits reveal this: Pakistan continues to think of Afghanistan as its colony.

"Media reports indicate that the ISI-NDS agreement has following objectives: The ISI will train and equip Afghan intelligence officials; and Afghanistan will work to change the 'narrative' about Pakistan among Afghans. For younger readers who may not understand words like 'narrative' and 'discourse', these are meant to change the way Afghans think, speak and write about Pakistan. The ISI wants to rule over Afghan minds through this agreement. Due to these concerns, NDS chief Rahmatullah Nabil refused to sign it, leaving it to his deputy to initial it. During the 2011 visit, Pakistani leaders had put forth some really audacious demands, one being that Pakistani nationals be recruited into Afghan government institutions.

"In 2010, a report published by the London School of Economics warned that the ISI 'gives funding, training and sanctuary to the Afghan Taliban on a scale much larger than previously thought.' Harvard analyst Matt Waldman, author of that report, observed: 'This is official policy of that agency, and we're saying that it is very extensive. It is both at an operational level, and at a strategic level, right at the senior leadership of the Taliban movement.' Pakistan can stop the violence in Afghanistan. But the ISI, which controls Pakistan's policies on Afghanistan and India, continues to believe that the obedient jihadis will advance its objectives. In 2015, through the intelligence-sharing deal, the ISI now wants to equip the NDS with the jihadis. One must never forget this: The ISI is the sole creator of all jihadi terrorists across South Asia.

India Is "A Nation Of Cowards - We Do Not Have The Appetite To Fight"

"Also, we are a nation of cowards. We do not have the appetite to fight. We hosted General Pervez Musharraf, despite knowing that he was architect of the 1999 Kargil war. Our television journalists take pride in inviting Musharraf for numerous interviews, disregarding the fact that the Mumbai terror attacks were planned on his watch. We know that Musharraf garlanded jihadist commander Ilyas Kashmiri for killing an Indian soldier and bringing his head. We know that Musharraf made sure that an ISI chief was appointed for the first time as army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani. We also know that Kayani doubled salaries to jihadi commanders in the years following 9/11. In front of a jihadi enemy willing to die a thousand deaths, we surrender by sending our foreign secretary to Islamabad. India has never invaded any country for thousands of years, and it lacks the appetite to respond militarily.

"The ISI-NDS agreement is an instrument of Pakistani colonialism seeking to control Afghanistan. It has been exposed and criticised by Afghan parliamentary leaders and former Afghan president Hamid Karzai. There are indications that Ashraf Ghani may be willing to shed his rose-tinted glasses. It is time Indian analysts got real about Pakistan; and please do not mislead our next generations about ground realities in our neighbourhood.

 *Tufail Ahmad is director of MEMRI's South Asia Studies Project.

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