Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, October 21st, 2018

Two-Weeks-Long Ambitious Talks

No more than few weeks have passed since Afghan ambassador to Islamabad, prior to President Karzai's last trip to Pakistan, announced that the two countries had survived tensions and had entered a new friendly phase of relations. During his visit, Afghan President and his Pakistani counterpart vowed to fight the scourge of terrorism and to expand their cooperation to establish peace in the violence-wracked region. Only few days later, a new series of accusations and counteraccusation have risen between the two countries. President Hamid Karzai on Sunday accused Pakistan of firing 470 rockets into two eastern Afghan provinces over the past weeks. Afghan security officials have recently alerted that frequent rocket attacks have killed dozens and displaced several families in Kunar and Nangarhar provinces.

Afghan military officials say the attacks have been either launched or watched by Pakistani forces along the border who are supposed to fight terrorism and militancy. However, Pakistan's military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas denying the attacks and said, "No rounds have been fired into Afghanistan"."This is not true. No rounds have been fired into Afghanistan. In the last one month, there have been five major attacks from the Afghan side of the border where 250-300 terrorists crossed over and assaulted our border posts," the army spokesman said in a text message in reply to media.

On the other hand according to Afghan officials' statement, the attacks said to have continued for three weeks and reportedly killed 36 people, including 12 children, are clear violation of Afghanistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity. It has raised severe anger among public and inside Afghan parliament and senate. Parliamentarians have harshly criticized the country's foreign policy apparatus's passive approach towards the issue. With overcast background of bilateral relations between the two countries, the rocket attacks can further deteriorate the situation. It is a potential threat against the relatively increased cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan since the civilian government took power in Islamabad. Leaders on both sides have hoped cooperation in fight against terrorism and have expectations that it will improve further. However, it has remained more acceptable in talks than in reality.

In President Karzai's visit to Pakistan, security topped the agenda in bilateral discussions, but it was clear that no new measures were seen discussed to help improve security in the two countries. Pakistan promised supports for the peace bid in Afghanistan. But it was clear that the promises would be of no use unless it is translated into practical, transparent actions against extremism hotbed in Pakistan. It is very clear that instability and violence in Afghanistan will not remain confined to here; it will spread across the region, as is seen in the case with Pakistan.
Mere diplomatic talks will make no change in relations and in cooperation unless the two sides take genuine steps to help improve the status quo.