I was in cozy comfort of my sofa, reading Hillary Clinton’s book “Hard Choices,” when news started rolling in… Pakistan launches military operation in North Waziristan, against terrorists hiding in sanctuaries near Afghan border.
Ironically, I was at chapter 7, Af-Pak: Surge; and an ironic comparison between Pakistan’s Premiere Nawaz Shareef and US President Barack Obama struck me.
When Barack Obama was a presidential candidate, he promised to bring back US troops from Iraq. Similarly, Nawaz Shareef promised to use negotiations instead of guns.
When Obama joined office in 2009, he found a request from the Pentagon, asking for thousands of additional troops in Afghanistan.
When Nawaz Shareef joined office, he convened an All Parties Conference, and it was decided that government would talk to terrorists.
On February 17, 2009… Obama, who was elected because of his opposition to the war in Iraq, approved deployment of seventeen thousand troops in Afghanistan. Therefore, while promising to end war in one country, he escalated America’s involvement in another war.
Nawaz Shareef had constituted committees to talk to terrorists and wooing them to end the war.
Obama had commissioned a strategy review to Bruce Riedel, a CIA analyst, Richard Holbrooke, special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Michele Flournoy, an official at the US Defense Department. Obama was recommended that Afghanistan and Pakistan should not be viewed as distinct issues, and should be approached as a single regional challenge. Hence the term Af-Pak was coined.
The term Af-Pak proved true… while Pakistan started negotiations with the terrorists, their chief went into hiding in Afghanistan.
When Obama came to power, he ordered a surge, and asked for an analysis.
When Nawaz Shareef came to power, he pledged for a dialogue, and asked for political opinions.
Obama has the option to abandon Afghanistan anytime he wants.
Nawaz Shareef does not have any such option. (Well, with most of his reserves abroad, he also can abandon Pakistan anytime he wants.)
In this situation, America has comparatively less stakes than Pakistan.
These terrorists have been attacking us like an enemy, so we will have to deal them like an enemy.
Good luck Pakistan Army. Bad luck terrorists!