Rough Neighbors: Afghanistan and Pakistan; Strategic Insights: v.2, issue 1 (January 2003)
Khan, Feroz Hassan
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Focus on South Asia over the past fifty years has primarily remained on the India-Pakistan rivalry and tensions over Kashmir. This dimension overshadowed the effect of Pakistan-Afghanistan relations on the security dynamics of the South-Central Asian region. The historical and cultural dimension of the Afghanistan-Pakistan relation has been and will remain critical in the evolving regional dynamics. Since the events of September 11, 2001 the political landscape of the region has transformed dramatically. Pakistan made a strategic about-face over the Taliban, when her decade old forward policy in Afghanistan became counterproductive to her own national security. A year after the historic Bonn Agreement on December 6, 2001, Afghanistan has now embarked on a journey towards peace and reconstruction after being ravaged by war, bloody coups, and displacement of the society. In June 2002, the Loya Jirga endorsed the leadership of President Hamid Karzai. The interim administration and coalition in Kabul however remains fragile and the potential danger for a return to civil war still remains as Afghanistan undergoes a delicate transition period until 2003. For the past year Afghanistan and Pakistan have been enjoying an unprecedented level of cooperative relations. Will both countries remain on track and for how long? Will Afghanistan and Pakistan destabilize each other this decade? What major changes have now taken place and what steps might be taken to sustain this healthy trend in the future of their relations? This essay analyzes the security dynamics of Afghanistan-Pakistan relations in their historical framework and within the context of the ongoing war on terrorism, with an eye to the future of the region.
This article appeared in Strategic Insights (January 2003), v.2 no.1
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