A Pentagon report released on Monday for use by the Congress, once again terms Pakistan one of the three main obstacles to peace and stability in Afghanistan. The other two are the widespread corruption in the country and weak Afghan capability to effectively check incidents of terrorism. Islamabad figures prominently for its alleged oversight of the existence of militants’ safe havens in the Pak-Afghan border region, an obvious reference to the Haqqani group based in the North Waziristan Agency. This has been a long-standing charge despite Pakistan’s repeated disclaimers that the Haqqanis living the Agency were not responsible for targeting Nato/Isaf interests across the border; rather its faction located in Afghanistan that is avowedly committed to the ouster of foreign forces carries out such terrorist acts. But, somehow, the stand has failed to cut much ice with Washington.
Peace and development in Afghanistan are contingent upon several factors. In the main, they would rest on how the ethnic mix in the country is represented in the ruling setup immediately after withdrawal and, in that, how far the traditional power wielded by the different communities is respected with due adjustments agreed to among them. An imposed system is a recipe for disaster. The corrupt mafia, a hindrance in executing the much-needed reconstruction work, is not expected to easily give up the fight. The drug industry that has flourished over the years can be anticipated to be another source of trouble. The element of agitation against those considered to be collaborating with the foreign forces would keep the pot boiling for some time at least. In short, it is no mean task and it calls for all friends of Afghanistan, especially those in the region, to give genuine help to the Afghans to finally put an end to the decades-long cycle of instability and destruction that they have been living on the edge of, by no fault of their own.