Afghan War and Pakistan

It has been over three decades that Afghanistan comes out of a war to enter into another. Being the neighbor of war-wrecked country, Pakistan where has played its strategic role in Afghanistan during these wars there it also brought some threats into its own land.

Afghan War (Since 1979)
Afghan War since 1979 has been fought in phases. In each phase the belligerents kept on changing in their outlooks and ideologies.

1st Afghan War (1979-1989)
This first phase of war commenced after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The Red Army troops installed a government favorable to the USSR. In this phase, with the mutual cooperation of CIA and Pakistan, Afghan Mujahideen were provided with training and weaponry in order to fight and oust the Soviets. It was a period of Cold War between the US and USSR. Thus, US played vital role by supporting the Afghan Mujahideen.

2nd Afghan War (1989-1996)
With the fluid peace in the initial years after ousting the Soviets from Afghanistan, the country became victim of civil war. Afghan ethnic groups led by several war-lords began to fight each other to grab political power. Coalition governments failed as one of them was created with the help of Pakistan under ‘Peshawar Accord’ of 1992. The situation got more worse when a Pashtun-dominated religious group of ‘Talibans’ came into the seen. The war became deadly but ended with the victory of Taliban who captured the political power in the country.

3rd Afghan War (2001 – Continues)
Taliban government in Afghanistan was the host of Osama Bin Laden whose militant organization named Al-Qaeda attacked the New York’s twin towers on September 11, 2001. When the Taliban government refused to hand over Bin Laden to the US, the latter invaded Afghanistan after forming an international alliance to fight the ‘War on Terrorism’. This war of Afghan Taliban and the foreign and Afghan forces continues since then.

Emergence of Threats to Pakistan in the Wake of Afghan War
Pakistan faces non-traditional security threats and is fighting the activism of the non-sate actors. The emergence of these threats can surely be attributed to the Afghan war. But this attribution is not mere based on the fact that there has been a war being fought in Afghanistan. It is rather based on the reality that Pakistan willingly and unwillingly got involved in Afghan matters during the war times.

This led to the emergence of non-traditional security threats in Pakistan in following ways;

  • Emergence of ‘Kalashnikov Culture’ in Pakistani society
  • Rise of non-state actors defying the writ of the state
  • Suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks on civilians and military establishments
  • Political instability in country
  • Heavy spending on military operations in the FATA of Pakistan

Afghan war and its consequences proved fatal for Pakistan. Inter alia other reasons, Pakistan wrongly assessed strategies and drastic change in the global order after 9/11 brought rough challenges for the country.