Islamabad, Oct 6(ANI): Pakistan, which is already isolated internationally and seen as a 'troublemaker extraordinaire' regionally, will be the real loser in the Afghan conflict, an editorial in a Pakistani newspaper has said in the wake of the signing of an strategic partnership between Afghanistan and India.
Pakistan's so-called strategic depth policy could be seen as consisting of denying India influence in Afghanistan, which our military and intelligence establishment has tended to view as its 'backyard', a description fiercely contested by all Afghans, even the Taliban, the Daily Times editorial said.
"The very outcome the policy of strategic depth was intended to prevent has finally come to pass, precisely because of that policy. Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have just signed an Indo-Afghan strategic partnership agreement in New Delhi," it noted.
After the 9/11 terror attacks in the United states and the subsequent invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, India projected soft power into Afghanistan, having by now invested some two billion dollars in reconstruction and infrastructure building in Afghanistan, whereas Pakistan stuck to its old paradigm of offering safe havens to and supporting a proxy war by the Taliban and Haqqani network, the editorial said.
It complained that Pakistan's 'brilliant strategists' have succeeded beyond measure in driving Afghanistan into the arms of India.
"A golden opportunity to turn the page and befriend Afghanistan in its hour of need was thus missed. Afghan resentment of long standing interference by Pakistan in its internal affairs has wiped out whatever goodwill Islamabad had earned during the days of the anti-Soviet resistance," it rued.
"Now, Pakistan is hated by most Afghans whereas India is seen as a benefactor and true friend. The shortsightedness of our strategic planners stands badly exposed thereby," it added.
The editorial said that Pakistan's military establishment has tried, and failed, to convince the world that it has genuine and legitimate interests in Afghanistan and therefore cannot leave things to take their own course.
"Had that 'interest' been confined to having a friendly government in Kabul while recognising the sovereign right of the Afghan people to manage their own affairs themselves, and backed up by help rather than sabotage of the Afghan polity and society, Islamabad may have obtained more purchase," it observed.
"As things stand now, Afghanistan will continue to lose a great deal in the prolongation of its internal conflict, in which the contending sides may be backed by rivals India and Pakistan. But the real loser in the end will be none other than Pakistan itself, internationally already isolated, regionally seen as a troublemaker extraordinaire," the editorial concluded. (ANI)