Afghan war could spill over into Pakistan, India, warns daily


Islamabad: Islamabad and New Delhi need to give peace a chance as “a civil war in Afghanistan post-US withdrawal…will spill over into both Pakistan and India, leading to a widening of the war”, a Pakistani daily said.

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In an editorial, the Daily Times said Tuesday: “President (Barack) Obama’s observations during his visit to India are something both India and Pakistan should seriously consider…he emphasised the importance of a stable Pakistan for the wellbeing of India.”

“This has become even more important because, in addition to their traditional rivalry, the two countries are becoming embroiled in pursuit of their respective interests in Afghanistan.”

It pointed out that “if Pakistan is not stable and prosperous…India cannot rest sanguine. Those very elements, which were instruments of its foreign policy in Afghanistan and India, are now challenging the writ of the Pakistani state”.

President Obama was in India Nov 6-9 on the first leg of a four-nation tour that will also take him to Indonesia, South Korea and Japan.

“Obama’s soft tone towards Pakistan indicates that the US thinks that it cannot win in Afghanistan without even the half-help that Pakistan is extending, half because of Pakistan’s dual policy towards the Taliban.”

It went on to say that Obama has taken a clear position that the US cannot impose its will on the Pakistan-India divide, but would be glad to facilitate the peace process.

“The will for peace, however, has to come from within the two South Asian neighbours. Given the accumulated layers of grievances over time, this will be an uphill task.”

The editorial observed that Afghanistan’s scenario was tricky, “given the growing strength of the militants and lack of a credible government. If the problems between India and Pakistan are not resolved in the common interest of the two neighbours, the region and the world at large, it will have grave consequences”.

“A civil war in Afghanistan post-US withdrawal and struggle for turf and influence will spill over into both Pakistan and India, leading to a widening of the war, which raises the risk threshold given that both neighbours are nuclear armed,” the daily said.

“Hence both India and Pakistan must give peace a chance, without which we cannot hope to survive in a dignified manner, let alone progress.”