This latest discussion paper by Ann Wilkens, Advisory Board member of the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) outlines key political challenges facing Pakistan and relevant for Afghanistan. The focus of the report is on possible political openings after the killing of Osama bin Laden.
While still too early to speak of Pakistan as a failed state, it is a country dangerously sliding down the path towards becoming one. This is bad for Pakistan, of course, but also for Afghanistan. The consequences for Afghanistan are obvious – mending Afghanistan is just not possible while Pakistan continues to fall apart. All the major insurgent movements are based in Pakistan and protected by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Since long, al-Qaeda has moved from Afghanistan to Pakistan while affiliated organisations – also based in Pakistan – seem to have taken the lead for terrorist activities. Pakistan is emerging as the biggest security threat in the region, turning Afghanistan into a sideshow. In other words, to stabilise Afghanistan, another Pakistan is needed.
This AAN discussion paper looks at what, in particular, needs to change for another Pakistan to emerge. Six areas of central importance will be outlined: The army needs to be put under democratic control; the fear of India has to be addressed; the Durand Line should be established as a border and the status of the FATA normalized; efforts must be made to solve the Balochistan crisis peacefully; the rising tide of religious extremism and sectarianism needs to be checked and the relationship with the United States should be defused.
The paper is based on eight years of continuous Pakistan-watching, on the spot and from outside.
For the report, click here
Report: Discussion paper 2/2011
Date of publication: 12 September 2011
This article was last updated on 9 Mar 2020