“I will not go, a spoiler can’t be a peacemaker,” Pakistan NSA Mr Yusuf said, answering a question whether he would attend the NSA meet called by India on Afghanistan

Afghanistan remains a major issue of concern for not only the countries in South Asia but also across the world. Since Taliban, the hardline Islamist group, took over the country on August 15 this year, there have been reports of numerous violations of human rights as well as attacks and bombings targeting civilians.

India, which was a major stakeholder in development of the war-torn country during the last two governments led by Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani, has now called for a meeting of national security advisers (NSAs) of countries in the region, including Pakistan and China, this month to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

This will be the first such meeting to be convened by India since the Taliban marched into Kabul in mid-August. There was no official word on the development. Besides China and Pakistan, regional countries such as Iran, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have also been invited to the meeting. There are no plans to invite the Taliban to the meeting in line with the Indian side’s decision not to rush into recognising the current dispensation in Kabul.

Pakistan And China Will Not Visit

Two key stakeholders in Asia in context of Afghanistan- Pakistan and China- are however unlikely to visit India to attend the talks to be hosted later this month by India’s NSA Ajit Doval.

According to The Print’s report, the Pakistani NSA has turned down the invitation extended by India last month, citing the reason that his country will not attend any meeting where there is no representation from the Taliban regime from Afghanistan.

Both Pakistan and China continue to be hostile neighbours for India. With history of war and border clashes with Pakistan, the Muslim majority country has never been on the same page with Hindu majority India. China, on the other hand, has indulged in several expansionist moves in recent times, leading to direct clashes with Indian troops and border conflicts in areas of Ladakh and North East India.

The fall of Ashraf Ghani government and takeover of Taliban has strengthened the two neighbours’ fight against India, the power to reckon with in the subcontinent. Pakistan has actively supported the Islamist movement for the past few decades and continues to stand by the newly formed government of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

India, which invested heavily in Afghanistan in the last twenty years, has also had historical and cultural ties with the country. The Republic of India was the only South Asian country to recognize the Soviet-backed Democratic Republic of Afghanistan in the 1980s. Though the relations between the two countries soured during the 1990s Afghan civil war and the Taliban government, India actively participated in rebuilding the country after US and NATO forces ousted the Taliban regime, thereby forming a democratic government led by Hamid Karzai. The gains made in Afghanistan in context of development, employment, literacy and women’s rights are at stake now.

Pakistan NSA Calls India “Spoiler”

Though NSA Ajit Doval’s invitation to his Pakistani and Chinese counterparts may have surprised many, the Pakistani NSA’s response was not very surprising. Pakistan, emboldened by the Taliban victory, will try to pull down any Indian initiative to discuss the situation.

Pakistan National Security Advisor (NSA) Moeed Yusuf on Tuesday, November 2, said that he would not be attending a meeting on Afghanistan that is being hosted by India, dismissing India’s role as a peacemaker, news agency PTI reported

“I will not go, a spoiler can’t be a peacemaker,” NSA Yusuf said, speaking at a press conference in Islamabad.

“I think the region’s obstacles are in front of you, there is no need for debate on this. On one hand is India…unfortunately (because of) the government’s behaviour and ideology there, I don’t see how this (peace) process will move forward — not just for Pakistan but the region,” he added.

Pakistan’s Hypocrisy At Display

Pakistan NSA, before accusing India of being a “spoiler”, should have introspected a little. Pakistan has had a history of not only allowing but also harbouring terrorist activities on its own land. Its intelligence agency has been often credited for waging a proxy war against India by propping up Jihadist outfits to destabilise the sensitive region of Kashmir, the major issue of contention between the two countries. Osama bin Laden, one of the most infamous terrorist responsible for deaths of thousands of people, was found hiding in a compound of Pakistan’s Abbottabad city. Pakistan’s Army School of Physical Training is located at Kakul about 9 km away from Abbottabad. The most infamous terrorist in the world, responsible for 9/11 attacks and many other similar attacks, was sitting under the nose of Pakistani authorities near a military training centre and surprisingly, it was the US, not Pakistan, which tracked him down and killed him. Terrorist like Hafiz Saeed, against whom the United States has announced a bounty of $10 million for his role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 civilians, continues to stay in Pakistan and carry out his activities.

Pakistan’s history of harbouring and supporting terrorists makes the argument compelling that the Pakistani NSA must have been talking about his own country when he said “spoiler can not be a peacemaker”.

India And Pakistan’s Role In Afghanistan

At a time when India, along with the NATO countries, was helping Afghanistan recover from the decades of war and uncertainty, Pakistan was not only offering refuge to runaway Taliban leaders but was also helping them to continue the movement. India has invested around $3 billion into Afghanistan, making it one of the largest regional donors to the country. Meanwhile, Pakistan not only actively detested the Ashraf Ghani government, it made every possible attempt to clear the way for return of the conservative and hardline Islamist organisation. As India built schools, bridges and dams for the prosperity of the Afghans, Pakistan supported a terrorist organisation to rule the country. As India tried to contribute to the progress of Afghan people, specially the youth and women, Pakistan tried to bring in a regime that can’t give jobs to the hands of the youth and bans women to wander out of their houses without wearing a Burqa.

At a time when India, along with other countries, was playing a peacekeeper’s role in Afghanistan, Pakistan was in fact playing a “spoiler”. When a country, which is on the FATF’s increased monitoring list because it has failed to curb terror financing of UN proscribed terrorists on its soil, blames its neighbour of being a spoiler, all we can say is- ‘That’s a bit rich coming from you!’