Washington, Apr 3 : A South Asia expert, formerly working with the US State Department, has said that Pakistan was crucial for the stability of Afghanistan and the reinforcement of the ability of NATO forces to complete their mission successfully.
In an analysis published in Boston Globe, Karl F Inderfurth, former head of South Asia Desk at the State Department, wrote that both the nations should develop an effective process of devising a successful strategy to counter terrorist organisations Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
"There can be no successful outcome for Afghanistan if Pakistan is not a part of the solution. The future stability of both depends on the development of an effective regional strategy to counter and uproot the Taliban/Al Qaeda sanctuary in Pakistan's tribal border areas. Despite Pakistan's counterinsurgency efforts over the last four years, the Taliban and Al Qaeda have developed a stronghold in this region that bolsters the Taliban's capabilities against coalition forces in Afghanistan, poses a direct threat to the Pakistani state itself, and facilitates Al Qaeda planning and execution of global terrorist plots, including those directed against the US," the Daily Times quoted him as saying.
Inderfurth said in his article that the Trilateral Afghanistan-Pakistan-NATO Military Commission is an important mechanism as is the strengthening of the US military presence along the Afghan side of the border. Washington also needs to work more closely with Pakistan in joint counterterrorism operations, he added.
The possibility for collaboration exists, but these operations are highly sensitive and politically charged in the Tribal Areas and must be pursued through quiet, behind the scene efforts with Pakistan's political and military leaders.
Inderfurth proposed holding a UN-sponsored high-level international conference attended by all Afghanistan's neighbours and other concerned major powers to work out a multilateral accord that recognises Afghanistan's borders with Pakistan, namely the still-disputed 1893 Durand Line; pledges non-interference in Afghanistan's internal affairs; affirms that, like the Congress of Vienna accord for Switzerland, Afghanistan should be internationally accepted as a permanently neutral state; and establishes a comprehensive international regime to remove obstacles to the flow of trade across Afghanistan, the key to establishing a vibrant commercial network that would benefit the entire region.