Defence Secretary Panetta’s airborne disclosure of a 2013 winding down of combat operations in Afghanistan, one year ahead of schedule, has baffled political and military analysts world over. While it appears to be a political judgement in the election year, it has much wider ramifications for the region.
The context and contents of memogate have defied logic in an environment where the military is firmly in control of the facade put up by the civil government in Pakistan. The scandal has rocked the world of Pakistani politics, exposing widening rifts between civilian and military leaders and highlighting the tense nature of the country’s relationship to the US, which is viewed by many with deep resentment.
Thus in this hot war between US and Pakistan, Pakistan will continue to side with terror to the detriment of US interests and keep its foot in the door to fill the power vacuum created by US withdrawal from Afghanistan. In all this whether it is controlling the terror groups or is being controlled by them is unclear
It can be said that preliminary work on seeking lasting solution to Afghan problem has begun which is at best at its infancy. Many hurdles and misgivings remain which can be overcome only through sincerity and honesty of purpose an exercise in which both the Afghan people and regional stakeholders must be equal partner. While it is easy to dismiss the present attempts as doomed to failure, but steps per se indicate a desire to move away from military solution to engagement, something that needs to be encouraged.
Once again an interesting date 10 days after 10.10.2010 is 20.10.2010