Wednesday May 22, 2024

Why is Afghanistan ditching us?

By Rehman Malik
January 22, 2022

I remember the day of 2nd oath-taking ceremony of President Hamid Karzai in an old beautiful palace in Kabul where I was invited as a guest with President Asif Ali Zardari. President Hamid Karzai apparently looked too interested in improving relations with Pakistan. But, with the passage of time, Afghanistan fell in the hands of India and India became the darling of Afghanistan.

If we see the historical pattern of Afghanistan-Pakistan relations we see the hard fact that the Afghan intelligence agency has always remained hostile towards Pakistan and kept the Afghan leadership away from Pakistan while remaining more closer to India.

It is interesting to note that NDS manipulated the first Taliban government and now the present one has also drifted into its clutches as we see its hostile attitude towards Pakistan. The reasons are that NDS is on the payroll of India. The manipulation is done from New Delhi.

Historically, all the successive governments in Afghanistan have drawn this consistent mindset from the anti-Pak groups within KHAD (Khadamat-e Aetla'at-e Dawlati) and WAD, State Intelligence Agency, which were the main military security agency and intelligence agency of Afghanistan during 1980’s until 1996. Both were accused of human rights abuses in mid-1980s which included use of torture, use of predetermined "show trials", widespread arbitrary arrests, detentions and execution of prisoners without trial. Mohammad Najibullah remained the director of KHAD while Osman Sultani and Muhammad Fahim were the directors of WAD in the past. We all had witnessed how KHAD created a warzone in our country after Afghan-USSR conflict filled by WAD. The series of oppression and violence continued by the kHAD with its changed name to WAD and now NDS. The mindset of every Afghan government consistently remained anti-Pakistan as it has never accepted Durand Line as international border and we see the new Afghan government having the same old claims against Pakistan.

As interior minister, I did my best to bring Afghanistan closer to Pakistan along with international efforts and bilateral scope which is matter of public record.

It was proposed in a meeting with Richard Holbrooke (former US ambassador to UN) who facilitated the meeting between Haneef Atmar, the former interior minister of Afghanistan, and me where I was fully mandated by my government to proceed with it to improve relations with Afghanistan.

We met first during one of the conferences on our initiative of Friends of Pakistan and then in a hotel in Washington where we finalised a draft agreement to work out a doable draft. We both decided to take the draft agreement to our respective cabinets as it is mandatory to sort an approval of the cabinet.

Accordingly, I got the approval on my return and Amtar got the approval from his cabinet and eventually we met in Islamabad again. The ceremony was televised in the world and it was officially witnessed by John Mueller, the then Director of FBI, on my request.

It was about exchange of information on terrorists and exchange of terrorists. It was indeed a great step to improve relations. But. with the change of interior minister, it was torpedoed as the new minister Gen Bismillah was strong opponent of international border. Afghan government did not honour the agreement to allow us to set immigration and customs check post on Chaman border. The Afghani fighter jet once again destroyed our check post just a day before my visit to Chaman.

The intent was quite clear that Afghanistan did not want good relations with Pakistan. In the meantime, the attacks by the Indian-trained Baloch boys under Brahamdad Bugti increased in Balochistan. I presented undeniable proofs of involvement of Afghan and RAW Intel with satellite images to President Karzai in his office in Kabul. They included video clips and pictures of the Indo-Afghan training camps in Qandahar that made President Karzai speechless in the presence of PM Yousaf Raza Gilani and the then ISI DG Gen Zaheer.

However, I must respect President Hamid Karzai that he admitted the presence of training camps. He clearly said it was not in his hands, hence Pakistan should talk to US to finish these, whereas he could help Pakistan only if Islamabad hands over Mullah Baradar to them who was imprisoned in Pakistan. It did not happen and the camps continued to operate despite the fact that we managed the migration of Brahamdad Bugti to Switzerland with the help of some friendly countries.

President Dr Ashraf Ghani, former NSA of President Hamid Karzai, followed President Karzai to keep Pakistan away from Afghanistan. I had serious arguments with him in Istanbul about unholy alliance between RAW and NDS against Pakistan.

Let me say that their national intelligence agency is the same coming from three successive regimes and all the SOPs are against Pakistan as matter of policy. As Afghan Taliban are now using the same anti-Pakistan bureaucracy and intelligence operators, we should not expect that the mindset of Afghans brainwashed by India can be changed. It is understood that Afghan Taliban had cemented their working relations much before the takeover of Kabul.

The present Afghan hostility goes back a long time and was well reflected by the Afghan forces attack duly led by the local commanders of NDS on our fence. We can see the real intent of new Afghan government. The Afghan refusal to accept friendly offer of PM Imran Khan in the IT sector further tells the intent of Afghan mindset. I appeal the Afghan Taliban to work for peace in the region and do not play in the hands of India.

The writer is former interior minister of Pakistan, author of five books, ex-Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior and Chairman IRR Islamabad. He can be reached at:, Twitter @Senrehmanmalik