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Resolution of Afghan crisis impossible without accepting realities: Aslam Beg

ISLAMABAD, Oct 18 (NNI): The Former Army Chief General (retd) Aslam Beg has said that the visit of US Secretary of State to Pakistan Colin Powell has three objectives.

"First to know the ground reality. He wanted to know to what extent the expectation attached with US attack on Afghanistan have been fulfilled. He has been told that neither Osama bin Laden has been arrested nor has the Taliban system and military might been broken. It is still intact. The Taliban waiting for the land forces of US. Secondly, he wanted to discuss establishment of a broad-based government in Afghanistan. The possibility of installing such a government has also become ‘Zero’. The third objective was to discuss Kashmir," the former army chief told Voice of America in an interview.

He said that US Secretary of State colin Powell said nothing on the last point. He remained salient and only said India and Pakistan should improve their ties. And in New Delhi, Powell endorsed the Indo-US government against terrorism cross-border terrorism.

"It means on one hand he has assured us about the progress on Kashmir while on the other, has assured India that as an action is being taken against terrorism in Afghanistan, a similar step will perhaps he carried out in Kashmir also," he claimed.

Responding to a question about any possibility with regard to the Kashmir, Beg said he did not see any possibility because India could not so far understand that it is difficult to crush by force the Kashmir Mujahideen or Kashmiris struggle. He was of the view that the effects of the Afghan issue will cast their impact on Kashmir and more difficulties will emerge for India. And before these difficulties surface, it is necessary to find out a political settlement of this issue.

When asked about the movement of the Indian forces he said that the reports were true. "It is time for maneuvre. The troops might be moving up and down. But it is not time for India to create any difficulty for Pakistan while US is present here. I believe it is not possible," Beg added.

To a question about the how much time would the United State would take to achieve its military objective and what difficulty is could face, former Military Chief said one thing is reality and the other perception. "This is the different of perception and reality that—unfortunately, the perception of the US and Pakistan government about Taliban is very wrong. They believed that after the attack, the Taliban will be defeated and then a broad-based government will be established in Afghanistan. There will be nothing of the sort. The Taliban are a reality. They have their government in Afghanistan and until we accept this reality, we will continue to move towards a wrong direction. The other thing I see is that they have no political agenda. It is all a military agenda" he added.

About the establishment of a broad-based government in Afghanistan, Beg said it is nothing but shortsightedness. "They have been working on a plan, which will not be able to take even a single step forward. It is a non-starter, it is just not possible" he remarked.

Talking about the resolution of the crisis Beg said the Taliban Shoora’s decision contained great wisdom. They asked Osama to go to Saudi Arabia if it again grant him citizenship. Then, Saudi Arabia consults its friendly countries including Pakistan, China and if there are solid evidence, he should be tired in an Islamic court. The Shoora said the civilized way of resolving the crisis is to sit together and hold talks.

Referring to Pak-Afghan relations he said these relations would continue unchanged. They are saying the Pakistanis are their brothers. They say they have no enmity with Pakistan government also. He said that Taliban are of the view that the government had taken the decision to support US under compulsion.

Unfortunately, the US which has been working with them for eight years, knows them very well, our intelligence agency ISI knows them. They will have to cut a sorry figure if they did not understand the reality and did not start dialogue process with Taliban, Beg said.—NNI

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