Amid the mounting tensions in Kabul, nine people were killed at Kabul Serena Hotel in downtown Kabul, in an armed attack carried out by Afghan teenagers. Among the dead were four foreigners, one Swede, one Briton and two Canadians. The attack is a chilling reminder of the post Ides of March violence in Afghanistan, in the throes of the new cold war between the United States and resurgent Russia. Many political commentators view this attack as a desperate attempt by those with vested interests to influence the outcome of the Afghan presidential race.
This deadly attack was a cowardly but nevertheless successful attempt to scare away the foreign election monitors. The assailants killed two Canadian developmental activists and respected Afghan AFP reporter Sardar Ahmad, his wife and one of their two children. A journalist from Sweden was also killed in what is being termed as a brazen attack on civilians to strike terror in the hearts of the populace and send an unequivocal message to the international community.
Karzai’s administration, as per tradition, cites the presence of foreign hands in the deadly attack and is pointing his finger in the direction of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), the master spy agency of the Pakistani army. The latest attack is a trademark ISI move, which is linked to the attack carried out against the Indian Embassy in Kabul in 2008.
There are 12 days left before the historic Afghanistan presidential election, which may prove to be a major milestone as the American ISAF and NATO troops are to withdraw from the region by the end of 2014. The most likely outcome may be a reincarnation of a Taliban state, a scenario that haunts the Obama administration.
The tensions caused by Putin in Crimea and Ukraine further highlight theAmerican-backed essential stratagems for a stable Afghanistan. Russia is meddling in the internal affairs of both Iraq and Syria, which is also a cause of major concern for Americans. The icing on the cake is that Russia is one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council in the P 5+1 powers busy in negotiating the nuclear deal with Iran. In addition, it is an important member of G-8 nations.
The Pakistani army is not ready to rein in the Pakistani-Talibans because they will be the main asset after the coalition forces withdraw from the region. Therefore, the government and Taliban peace talks are doomed to fail. Indian phobia keeps Pakistan looking westward to find some sort of strategy in Afghanistan. However fallacious the policy may sound, it is the strategic need of Pakistan to have a satellite state in Kabul and there can be no better time than now as the Afghanistan presidential elections are to be held April 5. The Americans also want to see a weak state, one that is under its authority, installed in Afghanistan. The Americans are keen to hammer out a deal with the Afghanis, even if they may be Taliban, in order to ensure a peaceful Afghanistan.
In the present volatile situation around the world, it is necessary for American policy makers to revisit their much beloved policies, like the birth of an independent Palestinian state bordering Israel, a gesture that collides with the imperialistic and hegemonic Zionist designs in the troubled Middle East.
The Americans have pleased the Sunni majority, led in pomp and circumstance by the Saudi kingdom but, in actuality, it was led by nuclear-armed Pakistan, which is the focus of the mounting tensions, especially while considered from the standpoint of the expected government in Kabul.
Op-Ed by Iftikhar Tariq Khanzada
The Washington Post