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Canadian minister reveals Pakistan's proxy war in Afghanistan

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Ottawa | March 4, 2021 12:13:30 PM IST
Former Ambassador and Canadian Cabinet Minister Chris Alexander on Wednesday revealed the integral role of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) as the principal and underlying cause of persistent war in Afghanistan.

He detailed the proxy war strategies of Pakistan in a new MLI paper titled "Ending Pakistan's Proxy Way in Afghanistan."

Alexander argued that, instead of working to achieve stability under democratic institutions chosen by Afghans, Pakistan's post-9/11 military leaders have "sheltered Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda while working to scale up military and terrorist campaigns prosecuted by the Taliban's Quetta Shura, the Haqqani Network, and other groups."

He also revealed that the Taliban and their allies have received unstinting support from Pakistan's military for decades. This state terror as statecraft has systematically resulted in the Taliban's capacity to continue engaging in terrorist activities. As a result, "ISI's covert proxy war has killed a total of about 124,000 people to date - more than half of the Taliban fighters and nearly one-third Afghan civilians," noted Alexander.

Those responsible for the continuation of Pakistan's proxy war in Afghanistan have not been held to account. This has enabled the impunity enjoyed by Pakistan's military leaders.

"The regional conflict - and its resolution - is no longer about Afghanistan and Pakistan alone. It is about the credibility of international institutions, including the UN and NATO," wrote Alexander.

"It is also about the future of proxy war as an instrument of policy - at a time when Russia's Vladimir Putin, Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Iran's Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei, and others are eager to mimic ISI impunity."

He made several recommendations, including calling on Pakistan to end its covert proxy war at the UN, sanctioning officials responsible for supporting terrorist organizations, listing Pakistan as an official state sponsor of terrorism until it ends its proxy war, suspending coalition force reductions pending an unconditional ceasefire, convening genuine peace negotiations between Kabul and Islamabad, and much more.

"By acting together, we can create a new anchor of stability for the world in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the benefits of which will be felt for generations to come. [These] strategic recommendations are made in this spirit." The paper makes it clear that the principal beneficiaries of peace will be the large and growing populations of both Afghanistan and Pakistan, whose future the conflict now threatens.

Many Canadians have lost their lives in pursuit of Afghanistan's freedom and prosperity. It was a major contributor toward bringing greater stability to the country, strengthening a democratic government, empowering women and girls, and much more.

However, despite substantial efforts from the international community, Afghanistan remains mired in a worsening conflict - and these gains are increasingly under siege. (ANI)

 
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