Comment By: Jalil Afridi
Knowing current National Security Advisor of Afghanistan, Hamidullah Mohib since last couple of years, who also served as Ambassador of Afghanistan to Washington DC, I obviously knew that he was very anti Pakistan but what I did not know was the fact that he was not at all interested in seeing peace in Afghanistan. In his speech and questions answers session at the Hudson Institute in Washington DC yesterday he displayed his confusion, personal dislikes, greed for power and diplomatic begging.
The host of the event at Hudson Institute was none another than Hussain Haqqani, whom I fail to understand what kind of pills he has taken to swallow the last sense of his respect and integrity. None of the other think tanks in Washington DC have such a South Asia desk in charge like Mr. Hussain Haqqani, who hates Pakistan so much that during the entire session yesterday, he was referring to Pakistan as the “Patrons” of Taliban. If the host of the event is a biased person then how can it be held unbiased? I hope Hudson Institute serious give it a thought that Mr. Haqqani is putting the very integrity and credibility of Hudson Institute.
Hamidullah Mohib, the National Security Advisor of Afghanistan in his speech stated that his government was very upset with the fact that they are not part of the dialogue process with Taliban. He also said that the people of Afghanistan will only accept a peace agreement which is led and controlled by the Afghan government. Mr. Mohib while showing his confusion also stated that one of the conditions set by the Taliban for holding dialogue was that they only wanted to negotiate with America and not the Afghan government. Of course, this condition was accepted, President Trump appointed Zalmay Khalilzad as envoy for this dialogue and peace process, Pakistan was involved in the peace process and so was Russia, India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar. Then what is Mr. Mohib trying to say? Is he confused himself or is he trying to confuse us? America did not come to Afghanistan with the permission of Afghan people or Afghan government. America came to Afghanistan because it was attacked by the elements from Afghanistan and till today America is there along with its troops and strength. So, if the Taliban are talking to America what is wrong with that? And are you really in the position to challenge that? Is President Ghani in the position to challenge that? I don’t think both of you are in this position.
In reply to a question by Hussain Haqqani, Hamidullah Mohib said that the cost of 45 Billion dollars which America spends in Afghanistan can be reduced up to five billion dollars per year. On further query by Haqqani, Mohib said that he has not mentioned this amount to current US administration yet. So basically what Mr. Mohib is trying to do is to use Hudson Institute platform to convey President Ghani message to the current US administration and American think tanks that if his government is given further chance in Afghanistan, he can reduce US expenditure by tremendous amount. I hope Hamidullah Mohib is aware of the fact it was reported in The Frontier Post that on November 27, 2018 in the District of Columbia ANHAM FZCO Chief Executive, Abdul Huda Farouki and his brothers were indicted for defrauding the US military in connection with 8 billion dollars Department of Defense Subsistence Prime Vendor Afghanistan contract and for illegally transporting construction material through Iran. In a personal capacity I hope one day the current US administration does an independent third party on ground audit report of the money spent in Afghanistan in the development sector in just the last five years. The figures of the corruption done in these projects will be mind boggling for the American public, congress and even the US media.
Hamidullah Mohib comment about using Afghanistan as base to fight terrorist organization was very interesting by the fact that no National Security Advisor has probably ever said such a thing in the past. Mohib also mentioned that twelve different kinds of terrorist organizations were fighting inside Afghanistan.
Hussain Haqqani, while referring to Pakistan as “patrons” of Taliban asked Mohib about the role of Pakistan in current dialogue process with the Taliban; to which Mohib said that Pakistan was cooperating in this dialogue process for its own interests. He further said that Pakistan was raising its own non state actors in order to show its power and importance in the region. Mohib even went to an extent that he mentioned the Pakistani intelligence agencies were transporting the Taliban leadership from one location to another. Mr Mohib did not mention the recent requests made to Pakistan about releasing Afghan Taliban who were jailed in Pakistani prison since last many years. Who made these requests and why were these requests made? Mr. Mohib also needs to understand that the people of Pakistan are also fed up of seeing bloodshed in their own country. Every city and every neighborhood of Pakistan has some family who has lost a dear one to terrorism related incident. I hope Mr Mohib is aware about the initiatives of Prime Minister Imran Khan which he is taking for the betterment of the four million Afghan refugees based in Pakistan. Mr Mohib also needs to understand that the Taliban are his own people, they are the people of Afghanistan and they are in millions. Pakistan can not raise so many non-state actors. And neither are you such a good actor to fool so many intellectuals in Washington DC. The point is that Afghanistan cannot throw its garbage inside Pakistan anymore. Pakistan cannot be blamed for what lacks in Afghanistan and what lacks in Afghanistan is a genuine leadership. Everybody fights for the bigger chunk of the pie in Afghanistan and America no longer wants to provide the same size of pie which it has been providing since last many years. So now Afghanistan needs to look within and search for a solution which is in their own interest and not blame Pakistan for every problem which they face.
The current US administration led by business tycoon President Trump does not see the value in spending billion of dollars in Afghanistan. He wants to negotiate with Taliban because he knows that President Ghani and his whole entourage is full of corrupt elements. He also knows that fair elections were not held when President Ghani was elected. I do not believe that President Trump plans to abandoning Afghanistan any time soon but he surely sees that there are not many readers in a library in Afghanistan, as he mentioned at his state of the union. The world in general and America in particular is not interested in playing the same game anymore. America wants to have minimum expenditure deterrence level in Afghanistan and they want Afghanistan to solve its own problem and on its own expenditure.
Hamidullah Mohib during the event at one point had stated that he even saw Taliban representatives at that moment at Hudson Institute. During my question I reminded him of his comment and said that the Taliban in Afghanistan were mostly Pakhtuns and that I only saw him and myself being the only Pakhtuns in the hall and hoped that neither of us were the Taliban. In his reply, Mohib said that it was very sad that Pakhtuns were resembled as the Taliban and that Pakhtuns were very kind hearted and hospitable people. There is nothing to be disagreed about that but it is the fact that most of the Taliban in Afghanistan are Pakhtuns and that since last eighteen years Pakhtuns who are considered more than half of the population of Afghanistan have been tremendously ignored in the Afghan government. President Trump has been convinced that the Pakhtuns have been ignored and he is planning to bring them into power corridors in Afghanistan.
At the end of the conference while saying hello to National Security Advisor of Afghanistan, Hamidullah Mohib, asked me why I take so much stand in favor of Pakistan and I replied because its my motherland. I hope he feels the same way for Afghanistan.