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Ending the endgame politically

September 10, 2012


THE long Afghan war has been over for all those who lost their lives in it. And there are surely thousands who have, in the past 10 years, become its victims. The aggrieved family members want an end to this war.

The pain and trauma of separation is undoubtedly experienced with the same intensity by the victims’ families all over the globe. The story of Marina Buckley, the mother of a US soldier killed in Afghanistan by the Afghan army a few days prior to his arrival back home, published in the New York Times, is heart-wrenching.

Marina’s grief is surely no less than that felt by the mothers of thousands of Pakistani soldiers who have sacrificed their precious lives while fighting against militancy.

In fact, the grief is multiplied when expectations and hopes are also shattered by the departure of dear ones.

After a decade one feels compelled to ask the inevitable question regarding the major achievements towards attaining peace in this region. Operation after operation has been launched by the Pakistani and allied forces either side of the border, but they still have not been able to achieve absolute success. Despite accepting the fact that Afghanistan needs a political solution, military strategies are all that have been employed and discarded as the situation descends into a more chaotic state where reality becomes undecipherable.

The need is being felt more with each passing moment to contain and to bring the war that has spread beyond its original battleground, to its decisive phase that needs to move beyond military solutions. That the simultaneous employment of military and political means is sure not a workable strategy, just like going after the Haqqani network in Pakistan, while giving a free reign to the militants in Afghanistan is a move that will bring forth nothing but disaster.

How many more innocents are to lose their precious lives in this unending conflict that seems to feed upon the blood of our soldiers and keeps coming for more? The beheading of over a dozen Pakistani soldiers just a few days ago who were kidnapped from the Batwar area by the TTP is not the only episode of such barbaric act of violence against our security forces.

Soldiers, whether Pakistani or from any other country, would keep on being targeted in a similar manner until the respective states realise that it is up to them to handle the situation politically.

LUBNA UMAR Islamabad