By Farman Nawaz (Unpublished Article)
Though strong army in this modern age is the backbone of any country but it can only be used against any insurgency, calamity or war with external powers. Army is not trained to counter ideologies and concepts. Fighting against ideologies is the duty of the scholars, politicians, civil societies, journalists, and educationists. If someone needs to verify the credibility of this claim, so Pakistan is the best example to study. Pakistan has one of the best armies of the world. Its intelligence agencies have the experience to work with international agencies. But still countering terrorism is a mission impossible for Pakistan.
The threat of terrorism changed the traditional and deep-rooted mentality of Pakistan army. Now instead of India terrorism is considered the main threat to the solidarity of Pakistan. It is true that the practical expression of terrorism is the militaristic mentality of armed groups but terrorism itself is a state of mind and united army of the world is not able to defeat this mentality. Reconciliation with extremists is just like first aid in emergency. It is not the treatment. It may just give us a gap to take a sigh but we are already drowned.
Today we see that Afghanistan is promised to rebuild its army and police but has someone thought that in the presence of international forces for a very long time Afghanistan does not need a strong army but its immediate need is building its educational base. The reason of failure of Pakistan to eliminate terrorism is the lack of strong educational system that can influence the people to stand against this injustice and barbarism. People of Pakistan are still not able to decide how to eliminate terrorism. People still believe that terrorism is the outcome of American domination in the region. They do not try to understand that the real cause of terrorism is our approach of fundamentalism and extremism. The ignorant people become victims of Talibanization because their sphere of knowledge and the sphere of terrorism overlap and have many common concepts. Professional trainers can easily pervert these people.
The only solution to the problem is to make strong educational bases that can guide the people about the consequences of fundamentalism and extremism. These are our real enemies. If we look at the map of Afghanistan so it is very easy to understand that the neighbors of Afghanistan are not in the mode to conquer Afghanistan. Afghanistan does not need professional army like Pakistan at the moment. Investing in Afghan army is a total loss at the time. The defense of borders of Afghanistan should not be a serious concern for Afghans. For the last two decades, the boundary of Afghanistan was without army but its neighbors never tried to occupy its territories.
It is a fact that international forces will stay in Afghanistan for a long time so Afghanistan must take advantage of their presence. Pakistan has even nuclear capability but this capability is useless in fighting against terrorism. Afghanistan should learn from Pakistan. Instead of investing foreign funds in military, these funds should be allocated for education. In future Afghanistan will need an educated afghan nation for rebuilding Afghanistan. Militarily strong Afghanistan may defeat terrorists for the time being but the roots will be still strong to grow new generations of extremist in tribal society of Afghanistan.
At the moment Afghanistan needs a small but competent army that can cope with situation but as for as international forces are here in Afghanistan, Afghans must concentrate on education. It is the time when Afghans can workout an educational syllabus that can help in rebuilding Afghanistan. Over here in Pakistan, still we are not certain what kind of material we need to include in our curriculum. Even some of our educational degrees (for example Bachelor of Arts) are not accepted on international level.
Most of the Afghanis completed their education here in Pakistan. There was a time that Afghans were having the opportunity to go to foreign countries and settle there but now a time will come that they will face the same problem, which our young people are confronted with. From now, Afghanistan must frame such an educational system that their degrees are acceptable world over.
But basically the curriculum must be framed in such a way that in future no one can misguide our people. Once we have fought a jihad and still our countries are showing the scene of battlefield. Still injured people are crying in these battlefields. To make these people joyful and to defeat the extremist we need a curriculum that can make us enlightened, modern, liberal, broadminded, noninterventionist, tolerant, peace loving, humane, and conscious. Our educational curriculum must also make us aware of national and regional interests.