Post 2014, Pakistan will be the only country in the
region that can play a substantial role in
No country has or can have the kind of strategic
interest in Afghanistan that Pakistan has.
But does Pakistan has the ability to play its role is
the big question?
12/9/12 Mohan Guruswamy ORF 2
Pakistan’s economic crisis.
Since the beginning of 2008, Pakistan's economic outlook has taken a dramatic
Security concerns stemming from the nation's role in the War on Terror have
created great instability and led to a decline in FDI from a height of
approximately $8 bn to $3.5bn for the current fiscal year.
Concurrently, the insurgency has forced massive capital flight from Pakistan to
the Gulf. Combined with high global commodity prices, the dual impact has
shocked Pakistan's economy, with gaping trade deficits, high inflation and a
crash in the value of the Rupee.
GDP growth has slowed down to the lowest in Asia. The savings rate has been
dropping each year. Investment has been dropping every year. Pakistan has the
second highest population growth in the world and it has a growing problem
with opportunities for young people.
A civil war in Afghanistan is unaffordable for Pakistan. A spillover of this civil
war into Pakistan is even more unaffordable.
“The future of Pakistan is a wildcard in considering the
trajectory of neighboring Afghanistan. Pakistan’s
Northwest Frontier Province and tribal areas probably
will continue to be poorly governed and the source or
supporter of cross-border instability.
If Pakistan is unable to hold together until 2025, a
broader coalescence of Pashtun tribes is likely to emerge
and act together to erase the Durand Line, maximizing
Pashtun space at the expense of the Punjabis in Pakistan
and the Tajiks and others in Afghanistan.”
……. The US National Intelligence Council 2008 report on “Global Trends
Pakistan’s uncertain future!
12/9/12 5Mohan Guruswamy ORF
Son one word I have for thee,
Fear no one and no one you flee.
Pull out your sword and slay any one,
That says Pashtun and Afghan are not one.
Arabs know this and so do Romans,
Afghans are Pashtuns,
Pashtuns are Afghans……
Khushal Khan Khattak
Afghanistan only emerged as a country-
of-sorts in the mid-18th century, when
Ahmad Khan, later Ahmad Shah, leader
of the Abdali contingent in the Persian
army of Nadir Shah the Great, carved out
a buffer zone between Persia and a
crumbling Mughal empire in the Indian
subcontinent that was later to evolve into
a buffer zone between Czarist Russia and
Emergence of Afghanistan.
06/10/14 7Mohan Guruswamy
As a consequence of the May 1879 Treaty of Gandamak
after the Second Afghan War, Britain had taken control of
Afghanistan’s foreign affairs. This treaty also gave Britain
control over traditional Pashtun territory west of the
Indus including Peshawar and the Khyber Pass.
After the Panjdeh incident a joint Anglo-Russian boundary
commission, without any Afghan participation, fixed the
Afghan border with Turkestan, which was the whole of
Russian Central Asia, now Kirghizstan, Tajikistan,
Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
Thus, as a consequence of the competition between Britain
and Russia, a new country, the Afghanistan we know
today, was created to serve as the buffer.
How present day Afghanistan came to be.
12/9/12 8Mohan Guruswamy ORF
Afghanistan’s economic woes.
12/9/12 Mohan Guruswamy ORF 9
Its GDP is about $26 bn.
About 30% is due to international aid and US/ISAF spending. What will happen
Afghan exports about $2.5 bn. Of which opium accounts for $2.0 bn. Of rest
33% is to Pakistan & 25% ($154 mn.) is to India.
Afghan and Pak generate $18 bn. from heroin export.
Last year Afghanistan produced 5600 tons of opium. It earns a farmer $16000
per acre, while wheat earns him about $1600 per acre.
Afghanistan has about 30% unemployment.
It has 8 mn. acres of arable land. It uses only 1.6 now.
It produces $800 mn. of fruits and farm produce.
It has rich marble deposits.
Pakistan does not allow it trans-shipment to India, potentially its biggest
market. Consumption in India will spur demand for greater irrigation and land
use, creating huge number of jobs.
It has 1.9 mn. pcs of small arms.
What will happen in Afghanistan after the Americans withdraw?
That the USA will leave Afghanistan is certain. That it will do so within
the next couple of years is also as certain. The only question that
remains is how long will it remain engaged with Afghanistan and the
war on terror that it has decided is now mostly confined to the rugged
The Russians officially withdrew from Afghanistan when they signed a
peace accord on April 14, 1988 in Geneva with the Afghan government,
Pakistan and the United States. The agreement included “non-
interference” articles supposedly protecting Afghanistan’s sovereignty
and right to self-determination.
Till the attempted coup d’état in august 1991 leading to the final
collapse of the USSR in towards the end 1991, the Russians continued to
pour in money and material amounting to almost $300 million a
month. Najibullah’s government kept fighting beating back onslaughts
on Jalalabad, Herat and Kandahar. After Mikhail Gorbachev resigned
on Christmas day in 1991, Russian funding ceased almost immediately
The point is that as long money kept flowing in, and $300 million a
month is an amazing burn rate even by today’s standards, Najibullah
was able to retain control over the government in Kabul. How long
Hamid Karzai keeps going after the US withdrawal really depends on
how long the purse strings will be open. There are something’s even
America cannot afford these days.
As far as one can see now it seems inevitable that once again the
Taliban will rule an Afghanistan that is mostly the Pashtun territory
west of the Durand Line with its capital in Kabul. Then what?
There is a Pashtun Taliban in NWFP and FATA that is even now
waging a jihad against Pakistan.
Whatever else the Pakistani military may want, it doesn’t want a
Talibanized Pakistan. To this extent there is a commonality between
Pakistani and Indian interests.
But how long will it be before the two Pashtun Taliban’s unite to
become one nation once again?
Since 1990, 34 new countries have been created. The
dissolution of the USSR and Yugoslavia in the early 1990s
caused the creation of most of the newly independent.
USSR and Yugolavia gave us 22 new countries.
New CountriesThirteen other countries became
independent through a variety of reasons
Last was South Sudan peacefully seceded from
Sudan following a January 2011 referendum. Sudan
itself was the first to recognize South Sudan and did
so one day early, on July 8, 2011.
Does India has any strategic interest in Afghanistan?
Afghanistan’s two most relevant neighbors are Pakistan and
Iran. India has no access.
We read history seriously. We are not about to repeat what
happened to others.
Afghanistan is Pakistan’s problem. We will be quite happy to
let it keep you busy. You created the problems by getting
involved after the USSR left. You must pick up the pieces
We see the partition of Afghanistan as inevitable. The
historical processes are rolling and cannot be stopped. Can
Pakistan stem the tide of nationalism? It has failed in the
past. Bigger and more powerful countries have not been able
to stem that tide.
Does India have any economic interest in Afghanistan?
One will have to scratch ones head very hard to find any,
except for a fondness for Afghan melons in Delhi
This talk of a $10 billion investment in an iron ore and steel
plant is extravagant, to say the least.
India produces 120 million tons of steel each year and there
is a glut in India. There is a world glut with Chinese
consumption slowing down.
No bank or FI in India will finance an overseas project of
this kind. I think our MEA needs a primary lesson in
06/10/14 Centre for Policy Alternatives 15
(For the good of the country)
The practice is first seen as being employed by France under the direction
of its Chief Minister Cardinal Richelieu in the Thirty Years' War (1618-48)
when it intervened on the Protestant side, despite its own Catholicism, to
block the increasing power of the Holy Roman Emperor.
At Richelieu's prompting, Jean de Silhon* defended the concept of reason
of state as "a mean between what conscience permits and affairs require.”
*A French philosopher and politician. He was a founding member, and the first to occupy seat 24 of the Académie
Française in 1634.
India has the world’s second largest Muslim
A strong and modern Pakistan is a buffer against
the turmoil of the region west of it, near and far.
It is in India’s interest to have a prosperous and
India can also live without Pakistan as we know it