Pakistan after the American withdrawal
By Khaled Ahmed
Most observers are worried about Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US-Nato forces from there in 2013-2014. It should be interesting to see what would happen to Pakistan once the Americans are gone.
Islamabad’s Jinnah Institute in its briefing (July 25, 2011) spelled out Pakistan’s ‘objectives’ in relation to post-withdrawal Afghanistan. The most outstanding point made in the report pertained to India: “Pakistani foreign policy elite accept that India has a role to play in Afghanistan’s economic reconstruction … but Pakistani security establishment [thinks] a reluctance to address Pakistani misgivings increases the likelihood of a growing Indian footprint, and in turn, New Delhi’s greater ability to manipulate the endgame negotiations and the post-settlement dispensation in Kabul”.
Will India get out of Afghanistan after the American withdrawal? From a statement by the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (“we will support the Afghan people”), it appears that it plans to retain its presence in Afghanistan.
The most likely post-withdrawal scenario is that there will be a civil war in Afghanistan. A parallel war will take place between the Afghan National Army and the non-state actors from Pakistan. The US commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, has told Congress he thought a future 230,000-strong Afghan force, scaled down from a planned 352,000, was enough after 2017. That will historically be the largest army Afghanistan will ever have.