The president of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, declared for the first time that Islamabad acknowledges the Northern Alliance and all the groups included in it. The Pakistani leader appeared on national television channel last night and declared that the taking of Kabul did not pose a threat to Pakistan’s safety.
Well, better late than never. Pervez Musharraf is actually trying to catch a train that has been missed already. He is not likely to succeed in this. Such harsh turns are not usually welcome in politics and there will be a different subject for discussion with the people of no principles.
Islamabad has been playing a certain political game in Afghanistan, the final goal of which was the economic and political subordination to Pakistan. The Taliban movement was like a guiding light in this policy, and Pakistan established very close relations with this Afghan movement. Everything would seem just fine, but it did not: Bin Laden chose Afghanistan as a country where he could hide, and the Taliban helped him to do that. This was the right time for Pakistan’s diplomacy in Afghanistan to collapse. Pakistan has been practicing a dubious policy since the very beginning of the anti-terrorist operation: it supported the USA and at the same time it did not stop its contacts with the Taliban. However, sitting on fence is very hard, and after the military successes of the Northern Alliance, being under the American pressure, Pervez Musharraf had to make his choice, and this choice was surely not in the Taliban’s favor. However, having broken diplomatic relations with the Taliban movement, he did not reject the idea to include some figures from this movement in the staff of the future coalition government. Musharraf does not think that all Pashtuns should be identified with the Taliban. The majority of the Pashtuns has never followed the movement and there are good leaders among the Taliban administration who deserve to participatein the new government. This is what Pervez Musharraf thinks. Of course, the Pashtuns will never forgive him for his treason, and he is not likely to be out there long under these conditions, even if he has the protection of the Americans. Moreover, there is quite a number of Taliban sympathizers in the governing structures of Pakistan.
Musharraf set out his support for the UN’s actions concerning the establishment of the new government in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s leader believes this government will surely be friendly towards Islamabad. “The future government of the neighboring country merely cannot be unfriendly to Islamabad, since it is Afghanistan, which depends a lot on Pakistan and not vice versa,” he stressed. Musharraf also said that the international community cannot impose any government on Afghanistan; this country will have to decide on its own future, and the world must simply help it financially and economically.
It seems like Musharraf still has a hope to repeat everything over again, although he has already failed once. The hint pertaining to Afghanistan’s dependence on Pakistan was first and foremost aimed at those who gathered in Bonn for the summit. It is as if he is saying, “You are trying to solve the problem of Afghanistan's tomorrow, but tomorrow will never come without Pakistan.”
Well, Pakistan made up its mind to stake on the Northern Alliance. The military success of the Alliance is a very good political “luggage” to take along for negotiations, and Pakistan is well aware of it. That is why it is trying to enlist its support.
The News newspaper wrote that Islamabad is currently establishing contacts with the Northern Alliance, and it even sent its emissaries to Rabbani and to General Dostum. At the same time ,Musharraf’s press-secretary declared at the press-conference that there were no official negotiations being conducted with the Northern Alliance currently. –dos-
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Reuters photo: Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said November 13, 2001 in Istanbul a U.N. force, with Muslim participation, was urgently needed to ensure stability in Afghanistan and head off a danger of ethnic clashes