We have already seen in my article ‘Imperatives of Pakistan's Foreign Policy that the major consideration of USA is to prevent the probability of China emerging as economic and political super power and Central Asian Muslim countries including Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan all joining Chinese block. In the backdrop of this consideration, the USA may have two opposite choices regarding Afghan situation. The first choice of USA may be to oppose establishment of Islamic state in Afghanistan. The pre-condition of such a choice would be installation of a USA friendly government in Afghanistan so that USA’s regional interests may be protected. Such an option would be made viable and achievable through winning over both Pakistan and India to favor this policy option so that threat of emergence of China and Islamic block may be addressed. For this purpose, Pak-India disputes would be resolved to keep, on the one hand, Pakistan away from China and Chinese dependence and, on the other hand, to encourage and enable Pakistan to fight Pakistani Taliban which are aligned with Afghan Taliban to establish Islamic state in Afghanistan.
It was also stated in the same article that in case of failure of first choice, the second choice of USA may be to support Islamic state in Afghanistan, provided such an Islamic state is anti-China and anti-Iran. The basic objective behind such a policy option would be the same i.e. to undo the threat of emergence of Chinese-Muslim block. To achieve objectives behind this policy option, Taliban would be encouraged to enflame liberation movement in Chinese province of Xinxiang. In order to make such a policy a success, Pak-India disputes would be resolved so that Pakistan’s dependence over China may be reduced to the minimum and resultantly Pakistan may not resist Islamic state of Afghanistan’s anti-China role.
The recent developments in Afghanistan may be appreciated in the backdrop of the geo-strategic scenario delineated above.
The USA seems to have failed in achieving its first policy option in Afghanistan. As mentioned earlier, one objective behind the USA’s first policy option was to have a pro USA regime at Kabul. But the current peace talks between Afghan Taliban and Kabul regime is an effort to include Afghan Taliban in the government. Thanks to Afghan resistance, the future regime at Kabul has to be Islamic regime, not a USA’s puppet. The USA employed many tactics to win over Pakistan to its first policy option through creating bad blood between Pakistan and Afghan Taliban. But Pakistan showed tremendous resilience to stand against USA’s pressure and did not turn against Afghan Taliban even in the face of series of bomb blasts carried out in Pakistan’s cities by the terrorists. As mentioned, another objective of the USA’s first policy option was to develop friendly diplomatic and economic relations between Pakistan and India. As both India and USA wanted to create Pak-India rapprochement by keeping Kashmir dispute at fence, Pakistan foiled USA’s attempt to get Pakistan to develop close economic and friendly diplomatic relations with India at the cost of Kashmir. As the basic objective behind the USA’s first policy option was to create hurdle in the way of Political and Economic Alliance likely to be emerged between China and regional Muslim countries, China also countered USA’s policy by ending its historical inward looking policy, and adopting an outward looking policy China played an important role in foiling the USA’s policy objective by engaging Afghan Taliban and facilitating peace process between Afghan Taliban and Kabul regime so that Afghanistan may be integrated into likely emerging regional Alliance.
Now that USA’s first policy option has been failed, USA may take on the second policy option.
As already mentioned, USA’s second policy option in Afghanistan aims at creating bad blood between China and Afghan Taliban. When Afghan Taliban were under unity of command, it was a really hard target to win over Afghan Taliban to this second policy option; but death of Mulla Omar has eased the USA’s task. After Omar’s death, Afghan Taliban have lost their unity of command, and some Afghan groups may play in the USA’s hands which may employ such Afghan groups to support or undertake militant activities in Muslim territory of China. This scenario gets even more likelihood when we see that, in recent months, the central stage of war in Afghanistan has been shifted from the south to the north which is nearer to China border.
The USA was most likely knowing of the death of Mulla Omar, but USA kept this news in secrecy with the hope that Afghan Taliban, under pretended unity of command, might come in terms with USA and Kabul regime-an exigency which was vital for protecting USA’s regional interests; but when Afghan Taliban came into terms with China as well, the USA realized they were losing the game, and China was succeeding in bringing Afghanistan under its influence. It was the right time for USA to take on the second policy option. Because pretended Afghan unity of command had come into terms with China, it became necessary to divulge the news of Mulla Omar’s death so that Afghan Taliban might be split apart and some Afghan factions might be chosen by the USA to implement its second policy option.
There are many implications of USA’s second policy option for the region (continued).