By Farman Nawaz (The Patriot Islamabad)
So far the regional and international powers refrained to provide heavy military equipment to Afghanistan National Army because of the fear that either terrorists might snatch these weapons or possibly Pakistan might be upset because of the supply. But now the IS factor in Afghanistan is such a development that at least the regional powers will have to strengthen the Afghan Army to curb the threat of IS.
So far Afghanistan’s requests for supply of heavy military equipment are declined but a weak Afghan Army can be easily defeated by IS. The recent bomb attacks in Afghanistan and Orakzai Agency of Pakistan are carried out by ISIS. Pakistan army has the capacity to deal with any situation but weak Afghan army can provide an opportunity to IS to establish its bases in Afghanistan.US departure from Iraq has left Iraq with IS development and the same can happen in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan too will have to change its outlook and bury the past. The neighboring Pakistan army is an economical source for the Afghan army not only for training its cadets but for providing it military equipment.
In February 2015 first group of Afghan army cadets arrived for eighteen months training at Pakistan Military Academy Abbottabad. Keeping in view the previous tussle between Pakistan and Afghanistan governments on the issue of Durand Line and the recent reservations of Afghan government about Pakistan’s role in nurturing Afghan Taliban, this trust of Afghan government to send its army cadets to Pakistan is a serious blow to the forces which tries to create mistrusts in their relations.
The Afghan army chief’s participation as chief guest at the passing out parade of the Pakistan Military Academy long course signifies a change in bilateral relations over the past few months. Gen. Karimi had the distinction of being the first foreign dignitary to be the chief guest at the ceremony. His remarks about the terrorists and the common strategy to counter terrorism shows that now Afghanistan and Pakistan are on the right track to solve their issues.
The significance of this development can be understood from the IS terrorist attack in Afghanistan. This attack implies that now Pakistan and Afghanistan both are faced with the common enemy about which Afghan Chief of Army staff has given a clear statement “We see around us, almost every day that the world and our region, especially Afghanistan and Pakistan, face the greatest threats and dangers from individuals and groups that are not affiliated directly with any state”.
Although Afghanistan had reservations about Pakistan involvement in nurturing Afghan Taliban but Taliban chapter is almost closed. After Pakistan Military operations in North Waziristan and the weakening position of Afghan Taliban when its lower leadership joined ISIS, the new development is a serious threat for both Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The neighboring China is eager to invest heavily in Pakistan and Afghanistan but the security situation in both these countries is a threat to Chinese investment. Any misshape in Afghanistan will also threaten the regional security. It’s an opportunity for Pakistan and Afghanistan to take a new start and cooperate against the common enemy of the region.
Pakistan military help to Afghanistan is better choice in the sense that it is not considered a threat by Iran, Russia or China. Secondly training from Pakistan army is a better choice to eliminate the growing threat of IS. The Pashtun soldiers of Afghanistan will feel it easy to get training from Pashto speaking officers of Pakistan army. Same culture, same language and same threat will help Pakistani and Afghan soldiers to understand each other.