The U.S. airstrike that hit a hospital Saturday and killed 22 civilians in the northern city of Kunduz has returned the spotlight to Afghanistan and the overlooked fact that U.S. forces are still deeply involved in the fighting.
Afghanistan and Pakistan are moving on a path that threatens to bring their relations down to a level not witnessed in more than a quarter century. If allowed to continue, the Afghan unity government and the Afghan state itself could be imperiled. The downward spiral in relations follows from the shattering of three interrelated myths generally shared by the Kabul government and its American and European allies.
Few can fail to see the signs of change in relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan over the last nine months. Not only has the tone improved, but encouraging steps by both sides point to a possible ending to the nearly 70-year history of mostly discord. Afghans and Pakistanis increasingly appreciate that their domestic insurgencies cannot be overcome without each other and how, in other respects, their countries’ futures are intertwined. These developments would not have occurred without a new Afghan leader’s determination to push a regional political and economic agenda and Pakistan’s reexamination of its strategic options with Afghanistan.
This article surveys and critically evaluates sectarian conflicts and trends in Balochistan during the War on Terror, concentrating primarily on the predominantly Shi‘i Hazara community based in Quetta.