US-led War on Terror in Afghanistan (2001-2008) Part-2
Major Character of War:
After 9/11 the decision to counter the terrorist’s attacks has been taken for the security and stability of United States of America. This immediate decision was ordered by the USA President Bush in response to cope with such kind of incidents in the future. President Bush was not concerned with the movement of Osama Bin Ladin because the continuity of planning the attacks against United States of America was not checked by the Al-Qaeda. According to this decision the terrorists and their supporters were focused to eliminate till death. The involvement of other countries to join USA was not a simple thing in the political perspectives of the entire world. The War on Terror was significant to its nature and scope. The neutral countries were considered as the supporter of terrorists. This was assumed by the President Bush speeches against these terrorists’ attacks. In his speeches he stated that this War of Terror is not for USA. This War on Terror is for the whole world. The terrorist’s attacks were threatening the whole world. That is why; President Bush announced this fight for the whole world against the terrorists. After this, Pakistan joined United States of America in countering the terrorists who were known as Taliban.
Pakistan followed the US-led War on Terror because the supports and cooperation of India was not free from threat for the stability of Pakistan. The most important countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Arab states were clearly addressed about the immediate operation against terrorists as per the directions of the US Secretary Powell.
The terrorist attacks of 9/11 resulted in the establishment of partnership between Washington and Islamabad to control such horrible incidents. Washington also established strategic relationships with New Delhi in using the various bases for operation against the terrorists. The conditions of Pakistan were very pathetic during the days of trouble as the economic instability; political unrest was prevailing throughout the country. In comparison, India was considered as a better opportunity to cope with terrorism. Pakistan was also problematic country because of recent Kargil conflict in 1999 with India.
In 1999 the Pakistan was a nuclear power with atom bomb technology. USA tried its best to stop Pakistan nuclear power programs with different kinds of international economic sanctions and blamed Pakistan to provoke a new war with India. At that time there was a severe threat of nuclear power attacks on the conflict of Kashmir between Pakistan and India. All the favours were for the India from USA and not for Pakistan as it had refused to stop its nuclear power program. The relations of India and USA were establishing to its significant stages as it was publically assumed to recognize it a special partner.
At that incident there was a shift in the strategic policies of USA because of arrival of American security forces in the countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and some neighouring countries of Central Asia. This shift was totally focused and designed to counter the terrorism. It was not an easy intervention because of heavy resistance of the militants in Afghanistan. The forces of America faced many untold challenges in this War on Terror. The battle field was based in Afghanistan. President Bush declared to change the USA policies regarding the relations with the countries of this region.
The role of Pakistan and United Arab Emirates was significant as the relations with Taliban were very strong. During the Jihad in 1980s , Pakistan and United Arab Emirates had supported Taliban for deep Islamic world interests. The involvement of Pakistani intelligence agencies in Afghanistan was significant during the jihad. They knew the geographical and strategic conditions of Afghanistan better as compared to forces of America. So, America recognized Pakistan as a source of cooperation and support to launch military operation in Afghanistan. This War on Terror was not a simple task as there were international interests on both sides. The main thing of resistance was the anti-American sentiments in the region. Pakistan became an international stake holder in this process of eliminating terrorism.
Due to international political and economic pressure President Musharraf changed the policies to support American forces. The religious groups of Pakistan disliked these policies of President Musharraf as it was a war imposed on the Muslims. This resulted in negative perceptions about Musharraf till now. Pakistani forces started military operations against the militants of Al-Qaeda and other countries in the adjacent border areas of KPK and FATA. The writ of the government of Pakistan was weak in these areas of WANA and Waziristan Agency. USA indirectly forced Pakistan to launch military operation to prove its innocence. The reason for these military operations was to gratify the USA government because it was considered that Pakistan is intentionally providing shelter to these militants. In this war Pakistan had faced many political, economical and cultural disorders. Pakistan had paid its cost in the assortment of suicide bomb attacks and human losses.
The world had acknowledged the sacrifices and contributions of Pakistan in US-led War on Terror. The courage and wisdom of President Musharraf was recognized and he was known as the courageous leader of Pakistan. The support from Pakistan changed the status as a key ally of United States of America. After this the cooperation of Pakistan was considered as major element of success in this War on Terror. That is why;USA recognized it as a major non-NATO ally in mid June of 2004.
The question for becoming ally is based on the various factors which were important to consider for the stability of Pakistan. If Pakistan had not taken decision for the military operation against the Taliban militants, then there would be an international security threat for the stability of Pakistan. The other thing was the refusal of United States of America will about the nuclear explosions in 28th May 1998. Due to these nuclear explosions Pakistan had become nuclear power in the world. The United States of America had economically sanctioned Pakistan which resulted in low economic growth. Pakistan found an opportunity to establish good relations with United States of America to lessen the economic sanctions for the betterment of the people. General Musharraf had taken these decisions to secure Pakistan from many allegations. The most important were declared in a public address in September 19, 2001.
- To protect Pakistani defense assets
- To get international support about the cause of Kashmir
- To be considered as anti-terrorist state
- To ensure the establishment of non anti-Pakistan government in Afghanistan
- For the political re-emergence of Pakistan as a responsible and dignified country
United States of America decided to launch military operation just because of taking revenge from the terrorists who had taken shelter in Afghanistan. After this decision Pakistan was at a threat about its strategic assets and imposed war. Then General Musharraf had taken decision to save Pakistan from the military operations of USA. The high international delegations demanded Pakistani support for this US-led War on Terror. The visits of high officials and British Prime Minister Tony Blair in Islamabad forced General Musharraf to support the USA decision against Taliban terrorists. General Musharraf agreed with this operation just to make Pakistan stable. He had permitted US forces to use Pakistani airspace including sharing of secret information and logistic supports. Pakistan supported US forces in this military operation against Afghanistan and became charter member as stated by E.J. Dionne, “coalition of the not-so-willing”.
Due to international pressure General Musharraf deserted the Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants. Pakistan had the efforts for good relations with Taliban just to ensure the peace on the western border. The reasons for these good relations were to focus on the eastern border as India was a big threat for the security and sovereignty of Pakistan.
United States of America demanded cooperation to capture Osama Bin Ladin from Pakistan with sharing of secret information about Taliban who were protecting and providing him safe place in Afghanistan. The Taliban reluctance regarding the Osama Bin Ladin raised a US-led military operation with enforced cooperation of Pakistan. The coalition of many countries with US was alarming for the peace and stability of the whole region. The situations became critical due to coalition of the various powerful countries and Pakistan tried to maintain peace in the region. That is why; Pakistan had sent its delegations to talk with Taliban for the issue of Osama Bin Ladin but it was not a successful effort. Taliban had not allowed handing over Osama Bin Ladin and it provided an ignition to the gravity of situations. Thus, ultimately there was no room for Pakistan except to join international communities in fighting against the terrorism that was focused on Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
When Pakistan had no way except to join US, the General Musharraf contacted Washington and shared the views of government. He agreed with US to launch military operation against the terrorists in Afghanistan. He also showed his consent to US for the sharing of intelligence, use of airspace, providing logistic support, and using two air bases located in Jacobabad and Pasni. Pakistan had constructed three air bases and two naval bases for the comfort and easy access of US forces to fight against Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. During these military operations Pakistan had sealed off its western border adjacent to Afghanistan.
The grounds for initiating fight had completed about October 7th 2001 and forces of America started action with missile attack from Indian Ocean. The American forces were stationed at Kitty Hawk naval base at that time. The Pakistani government requested to launch targeted operation in Afghanistan so that the civilian casualties would be at a minimum level. Frequent bombardment of missiles and ground attacks resulted in the ending of Taliban rule in Kabul. It was 13th November, when Taliban escaped from Kabul in search of safe places of shelter. Most of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda leaders were succeeded in escaping from Kabul and found shelters in the hilly areas of Afghanistan. Some of the militants found shelter in the border areas of Pakistan. The rule of Taliban in Afghanistan had ended but the leaders were not captured by US forces till now. The search for Mulla Muhammad Umar and Osama Bin Ladin had not ended.
The role of Pakistan was significant in this “Operation Enduring Freedom”(OEF). It was a key role by deploying forces on the border areas adjacent to Afghanistan to stop the access of militants in Pakistan. The support of Pakistan with coalition had resulted in the consumption of its own logistic resources. Many senior members of Taliban and Al-Qaeda had been captured with the cooperation of Pakistan.
The views of General Musharraf were not so simple about the issues of Afghanistan and Taliban. He said on September 19th, 2001 that he had made all efforts to save Taliban rule in Afghanistan but the results were not encouraging. He also stated with sadness that the efforts for the success of War on Terror were not completely acquired as compared to the losses. He was of the opinion that Afghanistan must adopt wisdom to cooperate with international community for the maintenance of peace in the world. General Musharraf also demanded the evidences of Osama Bin Ladin from US that he was present in Afghanistan. He said that it was better for Afghanistan to join international community against terrorism that he had done.
Pakistan decided to join coalition in fight against terrorism. After this decision Pakistan had no way to get rid of these dangers. Many countries involved in praxis but some just paid lip service in this war. With this coalition, the government of General Musharraf had faced varieties of noteworthy domestic threats. These threats were pro-Taliban sentiments for the survival of Musharraf regime in Pakistan. Other anti-American sentiments also added the trouble for the political stability of Pakistan. The radical and liberal school of thought was also an internal threat to the Pakistan. Pro and anti-American sentiments caused societal and security establishment divisions in response to the War on Terror as well as religious commonality between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Reynolds, Maura (October 14, 2004). “Bush ‘Not Concerned’ About Bin Laden in ’02”. LA Times. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
Dr. M. IshaqueFani, “US-Pakistan Relations after 9/11; Options and Compulsions,” Pakistan Vision, July 2004, p. 68.
The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2002), p. 330.
“Pakistan and the War on Terrorism (Extract),” Islamabad Policy Research Institute Fact File, February 2006, p. 64.
E.J. Dionne, “The President: Paying the Price…”, Washington Post, May 30, 2004.
Dr. RifaatHussain et al., The Anatomy of a Conflict: Afghanistan and 9/11 (Lahore: Roli Books Pvt Ltd, 2002), p. 200.
Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema, “Addressing the Roots Causes of Terrorism,” Islamabad Policy Research Institute Factfile, February 2006, p. 31.
Dr, RifaatHussain et al, ibid, p. 203.