By Sajjad Shaukat
When US had invaded Afghanistan in 2001, political analysts had opined that America seeks to control the energy resources of Central Asia by making Osama Bin Laden a scapegoat. But now the sole superpower has included India in its hidden agenda by adding multiple strategic designs against Pakistan, China, Iran and Russia.
In this respect, after the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan in 2014, US has decided to establish six permanent military bases in the war-torn country. Even Afghan President Hamid Karzai has strongly supported American plan of permanent bases in the strategically located country. US is also holding peace talks with the Afghan insurgent group in Qatar for its long-term scheme in Afghanistan.
Iran fears that US bases in Afghanistan would enhance its ability to gather intelligence on Iran which could give the US a major strategic advantage, if the two countries go to war. Tension between Washington and Tehran soared in December, 2011 after Iranian authorities recovered a CIA surveillance drone which had been launched from Afghanistan. Now, war-like situation exists between Iran and America over the Strait of Hormuz and Tehran’s nuclear programme. Notably, on January 8 this year, Iran launched military exercises near its border with Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama unveiled a defence strategy on January 5 which calls for greater US military presence in Asia. Obama elaborated that the strategy also calls for the US military to “rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region…even as our troops continue to fight in Afghanistan, the tide of war is receding.”
However, US new defence strategy cannot be seen in isolation as it is also part of Indo-US hidden agenda in Afghanistan. First of all, by maintaining its military presence in Afghanistan, America wants to protect the puppet regime of Karzai, and Indian influence in Afghanistan which could be toppled by the successful guerrilla warfare of the Taliban.
India which has already invested billion of dollars in Afghanistan, signed a strategic partnership agreement with that country on on october 5, 2011. Apparently, it is open strategic agreement, but secretly, New Delhi wants to further strengthen its grip in Afghanistan not only to get strategic depth against Islamabad, but also to use the war-torn country in destabilizing Pakistan. For this purpose, American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad and Afghan Khad, based in Afghanistan have been sending well-trained agents and militants in Pakistan, who not only attack the check posts of Pakistan’s security forces, but continuously conducting suicide attacks and targeted killings, ethnic and sectarian violence in our country—coupled with ground shelling by the US-led forces and air strikes from time to time.
In fact, under the pretext of cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan, safe-havens of militants and Haqqani group in Pakistan’s tribal areas, CIA, RAW and Mossad have been destablizing Pakistan to ‘denculearize’ the latter. Especially, regarding Indian activities in Afghanistan the then NATO commander, Gen. McChrystal had revealed: “Indian political and economic influence is increasing in Afghanistan…is likely to exacerbate regional tensions.”
India and US are supporting the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and other Balochi separatist leaders who have taken shelter in Afghanistan, while backing separatist group, Jundollah (God’s soldiers) which is working against the cordial relationship of Pakistan with China and Iran. In the past few years, Jundollah kidnapped and murdered a number of Chinese and Iranian nationals in Pakistan. This insurgent group has been committing acts of sabotage both in Pakistan and Iran. Regarding various suicide attacks in Iran, Tehran had directly accused CIA for funding of that type of terrorism, while diverting the attention of Iran towards Islamabad through secret propaganda. Last year, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei revealed, “The bloody actions being committed in Iraq, Pakistan and Iran are aimed at creating a division between the Shias and Sunnis…those who carry out these terrorist actions are foreign agents.”
Particularly, Balochistan’s mineral resources and geo-strategic location with Gwadar seaport, connecting Central Asia have further annoyed America and India because China has already invested billion of dollars to develop this port. However, it is due to multiple strategic benefits that the US which signed a nuclear deal with India in 2008, intends to control Balochistan to encircle China and subdue Iran. The province of Balochistan has also shifted the Great Game to Pakistan which has now become its arena.
On October 15, 2010, Indian Army Chief General VK Singh had openly blamed that China and Pakistan posed a major threat to India’s security, while calling for a need to upgrade country’s defence. Indian former Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor had also expressed similar thoughts.
On the other side, in the recent years, several persons died in the terror-incidents and ethnic riots occurred in various regions of China’s Xinjiang-the largely populated Muslim province. For all the incidents, India accused Pakistani militants of supporting the insurgency in order to deteriorate Sino-Pak ties. In fact, New Delhi which had given shelter to the Tibetan spiritual leader, Dalai Lama and his militants has been playing a key role in assisting upsurge in the Tibetan and Muslim areas of China. Recently, US President Obama also met Dalai Lama so as to indirectly encourage insurgency in China.
It is of particular attention that, on July 20, 2011, during her trip to New Delhi, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged India to be more assertive in Asia as a US ally, and should play a leadership role. She explained, “India has the potential to positively shape the future of the Asia-Pacific.” On the other hand, while indicating US double game towards Islamabad, She remarked, “Pakistan must do more to tackle terror groups operating from its territory being used for attacks that destabilize Afghanistan or India.”
Notably, American defence thinkers presume China’s fast-growing economy and military modernization, and its cooperation with Iran and Middle East—particularly strategic partnership with Pakistan as a great threat to Indo-American secret interests.
As regards Russia, it opposes US intention to deploy national missile defence system (NMD) in Europe, while differences already existed between Moscow and Washington over the US-led NATO’s attack on Libya. Both Moscow and Beijing have opposed UN incremental sanctions on Iran.
In the recent years, besides, various annual summits of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) which includes Russia, China and four Central Asian states including Pakistan and Iran as observers, on 16 August 2007, in their summit, the leaders of the SCO displayed strength against the US rising dominance in the region. The SCO is seen as anti-western club against the United States as well as the NATO military presence in Afghanistan, near the region of Central Asia.
Pakistan has been rapidly strengthening its relations with Russia and Iran so as to cope with Indo-US hidden agenda. Notably, America had opposed the Iran-India-Pakistan (IPI) pipeline project. So Islamabad and Tehran had signed the IPI without New Delhi as the latter was reluctant in this context owing to its pro-US tilt. Recently, Pakistan refused to cancel Pak-Iranian gas agreement on the insistence of Washington.
Although, tension already prevailed in Pak-US relations since May 2, 2011 when US commandos killed Osama Bin Laden by violating the sovereignty of Pakistan, yet these received a further blow when on November 26, US-led NATO aircraft deliberately carried out unprovoked firing on two Pakistan Army border posts in Mohmand Agency, killing 24 troops. In response, Pakistan’s civil and military leadership took tough measures such as blockage of the NATO supply to Afghanistan, vacation of the Shamsi Airbase, boycott of the second Bonn Conference on the future of Afghanistan, rejection of US investigation report in relation to the air strikes. Besides, Islamabad also decided to review its engagement with the US. For this purpose, the two-day envoys’ conference deliberated on the country’s foreign policy on December 12, last year with special focus to redefine the relationship with the United States.
Taking cognizance of Indo-US covert strategy, Pakistan and China have signed multiple agreements to enhance bilateral cooperation in diverse sectors. In this context, during the latest trip of Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to China, on January 6 this year, Beijing and Islamabad have pledged to strengthen military ties.
Nonetheless, America is determined to maintain permanent military bases in Afghanistan in order to fulfill Indo-US hidden agenda which is likely to destabilize whole of the Asia.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations