Origin of Regional Militancy


By Sajjad Shaukat

Despite American failure to cope with the Al-Qaeda-related Taliban particularly in Afghanistan, US new strategy of war on terror in South Asia had excluded the solution of Indian-held Kashmir which is, in fact, origin of regional militancy.

While during and after the American presidential elections, US president Barack Obama, recognising co-relationship between war on terror in Afghanistan and dispute of Kashmir had repeatedly said that he would pay attention to the solution of this core issue so that Islamabad could fully concentrate on the rising militancy.

However, Obama’s u-turn has indicated open deviation from his pragmatic approach in the region. In fact, India which has already been manipulating American war against terrorism in securing its covert designs against Pakistan and other regional states by strengthening its strategic grip in Afghanistan succeeded in diverting the attention of Washington from Kashmir.

It is notable that since partition, suppression of Kashmiri’s struggle for independence and ignorance of their legitimate right of self-determination are the root cause of terrorism in South Asia. In 1989, after facing a long period of Indian state terrorism, people of the Valley launched an armed movement to fight back the barbaric methods of New Delhi’s security forces. And people of the Occupied Kashmir crossed the stage of fear and entered that of the fearlessness. At that time, United States which helped train Afghan and Arab fighters, left them after defeating the former Soviet Union. Afghanistan was thrown into an era of poverty and uncertainty. Out of that, came the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network. Although Bin Laden announced his own pattern of conflict against the US, yet armed struggle of Kashmiris proved a motivating force for him.

Even at present, a perennial movement of Kashmiris is giving a greater incentive to the insurgency both in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s tribal regions. In this context, reply provided by Islamabad to India last year, after admission in relation to Ajmal Kasab and arrest of some suspects show that there are links among the non-state actors in respect of the November 26 Mumbai carnage and Kashmiri freedom fighters. These connections were verified on February 8, 2009 when Indian Gujrat Chief Minister Narendra Singh Modi, while indicating Indian home-grown militants, had disclosed that the Mumbai terror attacks could not have been carried out without internal help.

Europe of the 19th century gives ample evidence that non-state actors had links with each other. Metternich, the emperor of the Austria-Hungary, who concluded an alliance of the like-minded rulers, did all what he could to crush the European nationalist movements. A renowned historian, W. Laquer remarks that terrorism at that time appeared as the activities of the secret societies which grew up throughout Europe. Italians and Germans took up arms to free their lands from the occupying forces. Despite the brutal tactics of Metternich, his empire could not survive. Like Metternich, now, the US-led some western powers and India have been trying to curb the South Asian militancy through their futile efforts.

Indian author, V. D. Mahajin writes that the ideas of the French Revolution of 1789 dominated the European politics throughout the 19th century, inspiring the whole of Europe.

Similarly, a prolonged struggle of Kashmiris has given a great impetus to the subjugated people of Afghanistan where Taliban have been fighting against the colonial forces. Like the past Europe, there is close cooperation among the non-sovereign entities of Afghanistan, Kashmir and FATA.

After fighting for more than eight years in Afghanistan, American and European taxpayers should understand that terrorism has emerged as global phenomena, having linkages with the unsettled issues among the concerned sovereign states. The non-state actors of the occupied Kashmir have been fighting against the Indian alien rule. Suppression of their right of liberation has radicalised the whole of region.

British Secretary of State David Miliband has rightly assessed that peace and stability in South Asia are directly linked to the solution of Kashmir. While, India which wants to fight Kashmir war in Afghanistan has tried to keep Pakistan silent on the issue to get a favourable bargaining leverage on all the related disputes. In this regard, before leaving Afghanistan in accordance with the announced schedule, Americans must keep the Indians out of Afghanistan.

Pragmatic approach demands that Kashmir dispute must be included in the new strategy of Washington, if it really desires to get rid of terrorism and needs stability in South Asia as well as the world.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations. Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

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