A two day NATO summit begins in Chicago, USA with a last minute invitation extended to President Zardari.
The main aim of the summit is to formalize a stretagy for the eventual withdrawal from Afghanistan by 2014 as agreed in the last summit.
“There will be no rush for the exits,” NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said as the summit got under way.
According to him NATO plans to successfully hand over security responsibilities to the Afgan forces by the middle of next year and then withdraw most of NATO alliance troops by the end of 2014. But these plans are farfetched as Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, the commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan himself admits that, “The Taliban is a resilient and capable opponent,” and “we fully expect that combat is going to continue”. “It doesn’t mean that we won’t be fighting,” the general said. “It doesn’t mean that there won’t be combat.”
Reading between the lines it is quite evident that NATO is sick and tired of this war and so is the economies of Europe whose ability and willingness to continue its support is doubtful. “There is a huge deficit there in terms of the budget for the Afghan forces,” as expressed by United States Senator Bob Corker, Tennessee Senator
On the other hand afghan forces are far from capable of defending/ securing the writ of the government throughout the Afghan territory. “Right now, these security forces do not have any commitment to the sovereignty of the country and they are not fully professional,” says Abdul Rahman Shaheed, a member of parliament from Bamiyan Province and a former police major. It will be very hard to maintain the current security after this transition plan is implemented,” Mr. Rahman says. “I think there will be more negative results if [security handover to Afghan troops] happens next year, because right now, the Afghan government does not have any clear security strategy for the country.”
So what’s in it for Pakistan? First and foremost if Pakistan is going to give transit rout then it must be worth it. Pakistan should not settle for an amount that is nothing for the suffering that we are undertaking, Secondly, a stable Afghanistan is very important for us as well, history should not be repeated by leaving us with another unstable and war turned neighbor.