U.S. President Donald Trump's new strategy to end the 17-year old war in Afghanistan is bound to fail, due to the fact that strategically United States is fighting Pakistan's game-plan in Afghanistan under the chief geopolitical patronage of China and since Beijing is deeply involved in Islamabad's sphere it is likely to bear the consequences.
"The so-called U.S. 'alliance' with Pakistan in the fight against radical Islam is a farce because long go, Pakistan decided to use radical Islam as one pillar of its security policy, the others being nuclear weapons and China as its chief geopolitical patron," said Lawrence Sellin, a retired U.S. Army Reserve colonel and a veteran of Afghanistan in an article published in a U.S. based news website.
Col. Lawrence Sellin has listed many aspects to support his argument, First Pakistan considers strategic importance in Afghanistan and keeping that in view, since 1970s Islamabad authorities have been pursuing the policy of radical Islam for its security and strategic purposes, Taliban are being given safe havens inside its territory, mushrooming of religious schools and religious political parties, Ethnic separatism was suppressed and Pakistani military in connivance with its Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) used Islamic fighters particularly against India and Afghanistan.
"Islam, especially its radical manifestation, is the "glue" that holds Pakistan together, an otherwise artificial state composed of ethnic groups that never interacted in any significant way," Col. Sellin stated.
Pakistan government allowed the building of Deobandi madrasas who used to brainwash youths to counter U.S. and NATO troops in neighbouring in Afghanistan, he added.
Pakistan has been controlling the entire Afghanistan through Taliban comprising of Pashtuns i.e. the war in Kabul and the supply routes of U.S. troops. "Pakistan not only controls the battle tempo in Afghanistan, it controls the supply of our troops. In the past, when pressure was exerted by the U.S. on Pakistan for its support of the Taliban and other terrorist groups like the Haqqani network, those supplies were interrupted or convoys were attacked by Pakistani-sponsored terrorist groups operating inside of Pakistan,"Col. Sellin stated.
"In any case, the President's policy will unlikely affect the direction of events in South Asia, only delay them, while U.S. withdrawal would hasten the inevitable," he added.
Whatever be the outcome of the Pakistan's game-plan, China will have to bear the outcome as it has made a huge strategic investment in Pakistan, that has the most to lose from regional instability and which also has the greatest influence in Islamabad.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a part of China's larger Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) i.e. "One Belt" referring to the Silk Road Economic Belt while the "One Road" refers to the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road that aims to connect Asia . CPEC is an infrastructure project, the backbone of which is a transportation network connecting China to the Pakistani seaports of Gwadar and Karachi located on the Arabian Sea.
Moreover, China has its own strategic interests in Pakistan and is expanding People's Liberation Army influence and Gwadar will be a part of Chinese military bases near the entrance of the Persian Gulf.
"The trajectory is, not just a pre-9/11 Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, but a much larger radical Sunni entity that spans the Afghan-Pakistan border, completing the encirclement of Iran and creating a Sunni-Shia powder keg. Ever more extreme and intolerant Salafist groups are increasing and expanding their influence, fuelled by Arab Wahabi money and transnational Jihadi ideologies like ISIS,"Col. Sellin stated.
If U.S. strategists want to stabilize South Asia they should consider Balochistan, Pakistan's south western province bordering Afghanistan and Iran, which has become a stronghold of ISIS, radical Sunni groups and further fuelled by Arab Wahabi money and transnational Jihadi ideologies, he concluded.