Strange as it is, Washington seems to be on the verge of committing a foreign policy blunder that, if instituted, will haunt this region for a long time to come. In what seems like a fit of frustration following the fall of Kabul to the Taliban and evaporation of its influence in the region, it seems to want to tie future dealings with Islamabad with how things turn out across the border in Afghanistan. This is no doubt the Americans’ latest smart idea, and it is meant to put Pakistan on a tight leash, as they like to call it, as far as the latest developments in the region are concerned.
Also, once again Secretary of State Antony Blinken has started singing in the old tune that laid all the blame of all the problems in Afghanistan on Pakistan and always asked Islamabad to “do more”, which is not just concerning but also goes to show that the US has decided that it will hold others responsible for its own mess. So, fears that the Americans might be retreating form this region lock, stock, and barrel, just like they did after the Soviet war, are turning out to be true. But it needs to be very seriously noted that it is no longer US presence that is wanted, or even needed, here. But considering what it has left behind it is being expected of it to finance a lot of the reconstruction; and that does not mean routing dirty CIA money to powerful warlords, as they have been doing throughout the war.
Afghanistan needs to rebuild its institutions from scratch. For that it needs peace and stability. And no matter how much the superpower that lost this war fumes over it, everybody will have to accept the reality that the Taliban are the new rulers of that country. So the sooner all countries – the US and Afghanistan’s neighbours especially – embrace this reality and start working for the improvement of Afghanistan, which is in everybody’s larger interest, the better. And since Pakistan is the nearest and the most directly affected country, Washington would do well to learn a thing or two about how we handle such issues instead of trying to force its own ideas down our throats. Antony Blinken needs to reconsider his approach.
The US must accept its policy failure in Afghanistan and also take full responsibility for its political as well as military defeat. Passing the blame is a fruitless exercise. It’s much better to move on and help Afghanistan settle down for a change.
Published in Daily Times