Prospects for Pak-Afghan Military Cooperation

Military cooperation among the states is a form of effective diplomacy that creates an alliance between the two and open up many opportunities. The deliverance of a secure environment is primarily the military’s responsibility. Resulting in supporting the local political process and ensuring long-term social stability. It’s about time that Pakistan and Afghanistan both realize the necessity of the Pak-Afghan cooperation through their years of experience with mitigating the conflicts. Pakistan’s regional cooperation resonates with its founder Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah policy statement:

“Our foreign policy is one of friendliness and goodwill towards all the nations of the world. We believe in the principle of honesty and fair play in national and international dealings. Therefore we will contribute to the promotion of peace and prosperity among the nations of the world.”

This statement is a testament in itself which has guided Pakistan to contribute towards the prosperity of the region. Pakistan has assisted through a multitude of alliances and agreements. It has always been in the best interest of Pakistan to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan. However, certain factors have led to the downfall of Pak-Afghan relations. This downfall has resulted from the effect of external third party factors which has greatly influenced the foreign policy of Afghanistan towards Pakistan. The US invasion of Afghanistan happened right after the 9/11 terrorist act. This largely affected the dynamics of regional relationships. Post 9/11, Afghanistan was the area that suffered badly. Mainly due to the presence of militias, Taliban and a foreign army invasion in its homeland.

Historical Perspective

While analyzing the history of Afghanistan, the state’s relationship with subnational, non-state security actors has evolved throughout time. Therefore, the importance they hold in the state structure is so fundamental that they cannot be separated. Particularly, while formulating effective military cooperation with Pakistan. In the modern Afghan state military, there are certain new components that include a regular army, tribal levies and community militia (Empowerment of Pashtun Wali concept). Consequently, each of these forces has its own distinct role in society and none of these can be ignored. The importance is such that the Tribal levies often overshadow the regular army.

Pakistan can facilitate Afghanistan by establishing a proper baseline of security, strengthening the nature of human and institutional capacity, providing and helping with a sound political foundation and consistent resource levels.

The necessity of Pak-Afghan Military Cooperation 

Increasing Taliban control over growing areas of territory started raising eyebrows because knowing that a lot of money has been invested in the War on Terror (WoT) but yet the Taliban resistance doesn’t seem to end. Therefore, the focus moved towards ensuring rapid deployment of operationally effective security and military personnel. To ensure that they are capable of eliminating Taliban influence while securing local support for the Kabul regime. However, the paramilitary nature of this training deferred focus on human rights, accountability and rule of law. Instead, the number of Afghan ‘boots on the ground’ is their primary parameters for measuring a  successful implementation.

The west failed to recognize the tribal makeup of Afghan society. They failed to recognize its roots in dominant Pashtun tribes of Pakistan; Popalzais and Barakzais and missing an opportunity to cater to the minority groups of “Tajiks”. Pakistan with its extensive military can provide assistance within this context.

The Pak-Afghan communities are a mixture of many different ethnicities, power structures, tribal and factional groups. Similarly, they all have various expectations from the states. Regionally, to achieve sustainable peace across the border, there two countries must have certain shared objectives. Different methods are needed in order to revive the relationship between the two countries. For instance, a security baseline based on local ownership needs to be introduced which previously lacked the community guidelines. The country is divided among itself right now, and there exists a necessity to call for integration and harmony among all and also among the regional stakeholders as well.


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