Washington’s South Asia strategy is in flux. Notwithstanding the concern that the West has for counter-terrorism measures and ensuring that genuine peace returns to Southwest Asia, nothing concrete has been done to this day.
Afghanistan is undergoing a transition process on two counts: One, the withdrawal of US troops and those of ISAF by year-end, and, second; the subsequent political impact that Kabul will have once its cushion of security is done away with. Both these equations are fraught with concerns as the Taliban are waiting in the wings to swing surprises and that is squarely evident from their off-and-on hit and run away tactics with impunity across the southern and eastern provinces, as well as in the capital. Despite claims to the contrary, no understanding has been reached with the Pakhtoon militia and the void that is supposed to emerge in real-politicks could prove to be more toiling for the war-devastated nation. This despicable situation becomes more horrendous when it is coupled with the grave lawlessness that is at work in Pakistan, wherein non-state actors have almost cornered the writ of the state and the government. The rise in militancy and terrorist attacks since May 1 in Pakistan, when Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed in a US military operation in Abbottabad, speaks at length of the threat that is there and hasn’t been checked during the last decade of war on terrorism with much pomp and festivity.
The region today is no less than an unexploded bombshell, and wherein the socio-economic deterioration has further marginalised respective government’s room for manoeuvering. The onus of benefit has flown to the extremist organisations that have successfully capitalised the sentiments for their own ends. It has been argued time and again that the strategy to fight on the terror nexus won’t be a success until and unless a parallel approach to win over the aggrieved community is undertaken in all sincerity. This is why social scientists had recommended a two-pronged approach wherein the economic uncertainty of the locals has to be addressed while ensuring that social mobility is achieved. Once that had been done, a robust moving in of forces to flush out the unscrupulous elements would have mattered a lot. The genesis of gunrunning and warlordism, along with the hate complexion, lies in disparity and faulty geo-strategic adventures of consecutive regimes. The West, as well as Russia, that have blundered in this region not once but twice should have chartered a new course of action. Seeing a solution from the barrel of the gun is irrelevant for all times to come.