The number of Afghans who sought refuge in Pakistan-after the Saur Revolution of April 1978 and the movement of Soviet troops into Afghanistan in December 1979 amounted to 5.5 million. Many to start with were looked after by Pakistani Pashtuns who, bound by Pashtunwali offered hospitality and protection to the refuge seekers who came from all parts of Afghanistan. At that time, with the Jihad against the Soviets in full swing we received enormous amounts of aid through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other organisations. I used to joke with US and UN officials that the quota of food and other assistance fixed for the refugees was far higher than what the Pakistani labourer could afford for his family. Confining them to camps set up along the border was therefore a viable option but in the Zia regime they were permitted to travel and settle in whatever area of Pakistan they chose. It is to the credit of the Pakistani hosts and their guests that this did not result in clashes when Afghans reinforced by the rations in the camps offered to work for lower salaries than their Pakistani counterparts who had no such external support. They did however create such avoidable problems as the upsetting of the ethnic balance in Balochistan and the sectarian balance in places such as the Kurram Agency. That they swelled the numbers of the religious parties as these parties grew under the patronage of the Zia regime may be questioned but there is no doubt that at this time the government turned a blind eye when through bribery the refugees sought and secured Pakistani documents including passports. Today the UNHCR says that there are 1.4 million refugees holding Proof of Registration Cards. My estimate is that there are at least an equal number of unregistered and a further 1.7 million who have acquired Pakistani documents. This has accentuated the unemployment problem to which the new government wishes to pay particular attention. when arms, purchased with American and Saudi money reached the Mujahidin they used some but put the rest on the market. Parties from Karachi were the principal buyers and until the recent operations and even after these operations Karachi is probably the most heavily weaponised city in South Asia Shortly after the Saur Revolution we started providing arms to the Mujahidin, with a principal conduit being the Kurram Agency which bordered Afghan provinces on three sides. It thus became a base for the Mujahidin and upset the tenuous sectarian balance. This was one consequence but far more important perhaps was the fact that when arms, purchased with American and Saudi money reached the Mujahidin they used some but put the rest on the market. Parties from Karachi were the principal buyers and until the recent operations and even after these operations Karachi is probably the most heavily weaponised city in South Asia. This flow of arms did not stop during the period of the internecine war following the Soviet withdrawal or the period of Taliban rule. Governments of the day probably did not like it but in the “larger interest” did not try to stop it. During the Soviet occupation, the Mujahedeen did not control cities but they did in the countryside encourage the cultivation of opium and benefitted from the tax they imposed and from marketing the drug. Pakistan became a conduit and as a logical consequence also the user of opium. Before the jihad we had 30,000 registered addicts whose needs were met by officially sanctioned opium shops. By the time the Soviets withdrew we had a proliferation of opium dens all over Pakistan laying the foundation for the multiplication of users and traffickers today, as the opium harvest in Afghanistan has grown to 9000 tons in 2017. The partly American-financed Anti Narcotic force I believe has some good estimates on the volume of opium trafficking and the growth of opium addicts in Pakistan which may turn out to be comparable to Afghanistan where more than 3 million — a million of them women — constituting 12 percent of the population are now addicts. Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan with its numerous unmanned crossing points has been a smuggler’s haven-perhaps never more so than during the period of Taliban rule when civilian administrators of border controls were informally advised not to be too stringent in their inspection of cross border trafficking. Our border crossings at Torkham and Chaman became dens of corruption with anecdotal stories of the distribution of the chai pani collections between border officials being made in rooms where the floor was covered with banknotes. Even if these accounts are exaggerated there is no doubt that their impact on the integrity of our civil service has been enormous. The decimation of the Maliks in the tribal areas and the ascendance of the Mullah in the social hierarchy of the tribal areas during the period of insurgent control started perhaps in the Zia era but grew to full strength when the region served as the staging area for the Taliban. This was one of the major deleterious consequences of our involvement in Afghanistan. It will take many years and large financial and administrative investments to correct. It will take recognition of protests such as the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement as not necessarily anti-patriotic, rather a genuine reflection of the difficulties faced by the residents of the tribal areas. Has this cataloguing of losses failed to take account of “machinations by adversaries”? perhaps, but policy makers must know that any vulnerability they create will be exploited by their adversaries. Has this account of losses exaggerated the magnitude of the losses? Again, perhaps — but where our social indicators now stand, and where we stand in this regard even in this poverty stricken SAARC region would suggest otherwise. What directions should our foreign policy take as Prime Minister Imran Khan pursues the quest for a naya Pakistan? My suggestions for what they are worth will be the subject of my last article for this series. The writer is former foreign secretary, and former Pakistani ambassador to the US, Canada, Iran and Germany. He currently heads the Global and Regional Studies Centre at IoBM, Karachi Published in Daily Times, August 29th 2018.