The Afghan Ball Game

The Afghan Ball Game

79’ Soviet war, Mullah Omar’s Taliban regime, the September 11 attacks, and now the 2014 pull out. –reminds of something- yes Afghanistan. Ironically though, its supposed that Pakistan has played the facilitator all through─ hosted and trained AfghanMujahideen, and also sheltered over 3.5 million Afghan refugees.


One major question that boggles many minds is why, despite the material and political sacrifice and socio-political suffering, does Pakistani role in Afghanistan continue to draw negative publicity? Why do our relations with Kabul fail to normalize?


For U.S, gaining total control over Afghanistan has been a failure in, more or less, every division; be it geo-strategic, geo-political, geo-economic, diplomatic, intelligence or the military-cum-security failures. Neutralizing the threat of militant’s ─ Taliban being the major ones ─ still remains an unsolved mystery.


The result of this failure has called for greater pressures, both from Karzai and the US, on Pakistan to act against the Haqqani faction of Taliban in Pakistan’s North Waziristan region. This failure and blame is resulting in further withering of Af-Pak relations as the US-influenced Karzai government has to synchronize with Washington’s call in blaming Pakistan for militant activities taking place in the country, obviously to hide the failures within.

The Afghan endgame is visible within striking distance. The situation is resting upon a proper roadmap from all the stakeholders. It seems like the coalition forces want to leave with their heads high, but the greater interest of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation(SCO) bloc in the region would make it hard to carry on the proceedings as planned.

Pakistan and Afghanistan need to realise the fact that further reliance on the US would prove nothing but detrimental for both the neighbours. With all the development activities coming to a halt soon after the NATO exit, it will all be left upon Afghanistan and its neighbouring friends, most importantly Pakistan, to play their part in this process. Further, succumbing to US pressure will not only worsen the Af-Pak relationship, it will also prevent the resolving of impeding issues haunting both sides of the border and faced by none other than the common man.


Ironic it is that recently both Islamabad and Kabul levied strict restrictions on visa procedures with the applicants only allowed a single-entry one month visa and, that too happens solely after having used influential references. These bars have jeopardised not only the legitimate business prospects but has also created problems for journalists and employment seekers on both the sides. What’s amazing is that on a daily basis, hundreds of thousands of people cross the border – many of them without visa or a passport. With such a huge number of people moving about freely, though illegally, restricting the valid cases seems to make little, or no, sense.


The policy makers in Kabul need to realize that allies and friends can change, neighbours cannot. Whatever happens, Pakistan will remain a neighbour; one that hosts more than three million of your nationals and deserves special consideration in the policies being made. Such a neighbour should not be defamed in the world media on wishes of the allies to hide explicit failures. Kabul also has to make sure that its neighbour’s territorial integrity is not violated through uncalled for attacks from its side by the NATO forces as such surgical strikes have never helped in the past and have lead to severing of ties between both the states.

Farooq Yousaf

A research associate, marketing consultant and content editor, belonging to Frontier region of Pakistan, working for the Center for Research and Security Studies, Islamabad

  • S Nasrullah

    Bravo Farooq Yusuf for well reasoned and intelligent commentary on current issues between the two neighbors – Pakistan and Afghanistan. Barring the esoterics of roller coaster rides in the existing unsteady relationships between the ISAF, Pakistan and Afghanistan, one thing is for certain that the WoT would die its own natural death leaving both the neighbors to settle their scores and skirmishes. With huge unmanned, unguarded, porous borders between the two neighbors, all those stringent visa impositions would prove self defeating. Those visiting Afghanistan on visa are not the Taliban or the Al-Qaeda activists, but traders and businessmen trying to revive and revitalize a trade link between them to pave way for better relations in times of peace. And I agree that: ”
    The policy makers in Kabul need to realize that allies and friends can change, neighbours cannot. Whatever happens, Pakistan will remain a neighbour; one that hosts more than three million of your nationals and deserves special consideration in the policies being made. Such a neighbour should not be defamed in the world media on wishes of the allies to hide explicit failures.”

  • Hadi

    Nice commentary, facts revelation.

  • Wali

    well thanks very much for realizing that we are neighbors, i would just say here that ( Taali aik haath se nahi bajti) you are talking about policy makers in kabul but not the islamabad…..i know situations are very bad for both countries but whenever they realize that they are muslims and neighbors then it won’t happen………..although interfering in afghan government by ISI is making this worsen, why not don’t interfere and live happily like the rest of the world lives with thier neighbors, the people from both side are great they love each other even i was born in pakistan and still living in pak but the government and policy makers from both side are hypocrites they say something and they do something and Allah will never forgive them…..Inshaallah

  • Afghan style

    Rawalpindi policy makers need to realize that by supporting anti Afghan insurgents they will make Afghans or their so called brothers enemy .ISI needs to and must stop their dirty policies towards Afghanistan and its people. Both countires share huge economic oppoutunities in the region that will benefit both peoples if Islamabad take take serious metures in stopping ISI.

    • Ali Ayub

      stop allowing your country to be used for nefarious activity against Pakistan….accept durand line….then we can talk. until then, forget it

  • Jamal

    Why Afghans have such a thankless attitude towards Pakistan? Pakistan has helped them fought their wars, burnt the burden of 3.5 millions Afghans for many decades now, have faced internal terrorism as a back lash, is a target of external terrorism some of which is sponsored by India and world other great powers. After all this, ISI should just sit idle? Why? Why CIA, RAW, Mossad, and M15 are not idle and why they are so active in Afghanistan and Pakistan? ISI has to react in the best interest of Pakistan. Afghans are not even a nation, they are whole bunch of tribes. Pakistan facilitated them to form a national government but they failed misreably. Thus Talibans filled the vaccum when so called moderate Afghans were killing each other. Be realistic and be thankful to Pakistan. Develop a good attitude for the only country who has helped you to survive. All others have occupied you and destroyed you.

    • TRUTH

      Strongly aggreed. Afganistan has always done this and will still do it. Thats what you can expect from Afghani people becuase it is so easy to screw thier mind initialy by Russia (with free prost culture) and then the media provided by India. They do not have thier own mind, unfortunately. They speak off the mind of india and the West.

  • Afghan stle

    Mr jamal . Pakistan never fought Afghan war but instead Afghans saved pakistan with costs of its blood and country so that russians never get to warm waters you may know warm waters where russians aim was pls read the history once before making ur own conclusion. Secondly pakistan was receiving billions of dollars in aid arms abd cash from the west in Afghan war.

    • TRUTH

      It was afghan who let Russians get their land. Afghan made them come and destroy thier land first. Its was afgan who were happy with their westren free culture. You need to read the history first. Pakistan saved their b*tts and still doing it. You are just aligning your voice with the west, and thats it. Even after the Russians were kicked out, you still could not make a sensible govt, either. Also rememeber, more than 3 million afghans living freely in Pakistan for the last 40 years exhausting every resource of Pakistan. Those billions of dollars in aid were nothing compared to the burdon, crimes, prostitution, and chaos they brought to Pakistan (and still their). But afterall, the fact is, we are neighbours, brothers, we got to help each other and we rely on each other, while afghan relying more on Pakistan. It’s now to the point that their are blood relations between the two countries across the border. Families living across the border are is so hard to separate. Therefore, it is in the best interest of Afghan NOT to allow India (and their >22 embassies), or NATO to use thier land for nefarious plans agisat Pak. We as Pakistanies strongly believe that Kabul is equally invloved in all those plans. ISI was involved to save the b*tts of both the countries then but not at all in any negative sense. Now ISI is a savor of Pakistan and the region. Unfortunately in the last few years, the media in Afghan is used by India and the West to propagate negative propaganda against Pakistan and ISI. And YOU ARE ONE EXAMPLE OF THOSE MINDS SCREWD BY THEM.

      • Afghanstyle

        You mean the crimes in karachi , lahor hira mandi ??? Let me tell you pakistan was created because the british wanted to create a mess in the region and the county is governed by bulshit politicians and the sons like you, pakistani awam is great people but people such you create ninsense problems ISi is a cancer which is need to stop and un near futture we will be witness Inshallah.

      • virkaul

        @Truth, you are terribly India centric in your thinking that you cannot see beyond it. Let Afghans decide what they wish to do. History shows that you have used them for your own gain and treated them like your colony. Pakistan led them to destruction rather than build anything for them. India has been building schools, hospitals, police force, roads and many other institutions. What is your problem?
        You are one of those Pakis, who believes that army/ISI saves them, Mullahs show them path to heaven and yet cry all the time about their condition. If you guys concentrate on education, healthcare and become a welfare state rather than security state and stop being MAMAS of the world, you’d be better of.

  • Afghan style

    Pakistani people are great people and Afghans loves them as their muslim brothers and sisters, We share religion, culture and languages even Alama Iqbal visited Afghanistan and mention it in its poems. Afghans never complained about abot pakistani Awam but their government and its military agencies which even most of the pakistanis are suffering because of them. ISI and its affailiates will never succeed by interfering in internal affairs of Afghanistan. Today they are exposed not only to the peope of pakistan and Afghanistan but to international community as well .

  • Afghanstyle

    Prost is the culture of those indi punjabi culture who dance let dance their women infront of thousand men it is not afghan culture who defeated world empires with TaqWa and eman history knows this so stop your baseless Propaganda agaist us try to youtube and find millions of prost in your punjab and Hira mandi.

  • a2zStuff

    Stop Killing Innocent People in Afghanistan

  • virkaul

    By this logic,it should be true of India and Pakistan too.

  • virkaul

    @Spartan, if you stop being Indiacentric most of your problems will be over.