Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, March 28th, 2023

Deteriorating Security Situation

As the security situation in the country, particularly in capital Kabul is worsening, there are more questions being asked regarding the peace process and the future of Af-Pak relations. Currently, the confidence started building up regarding the role of Pakistan in supporting the peace talks with Taliban, particularly after the facilitation of talks in Murree, Islamabad. However, since the news of the death of Mullah Omar, things seem to have changed though Mullah Omar himself was never part of the negotiations.

The Afghan leaders seem to be getting frustrated regarding the deteriorating security situation. The gigantic attack in Shah Shaheed area of the capital Kabul, in addition to other two attacks on the same day, has made Afghan leaders question the future of Af-Pak relations as after every such attack the public opinion gets critical of the role of Pakistan in Afghanistan.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Monday, August 10, said that the recent wave of violence showed suicide training camps, facilities used for making explosive devices and sending them to Afghanistan to kill innocent people were still functional in Pakistan. He is said, “We hoped for peace, but war continues to be declared against us from Pakistani territory. In fact, it clearly shows vivid hostilities toward a neighboring nation… Now it is proven to the region we have been right, but in Pakistan still there are gatherings of slaves and captives who send the message of war to us.”

He called the Peshawar school attack killing more than 150 schoolchildren a significant point in the history of Pakistan. “The recent incidents in Kabul mark a significant point for us as well. We want to tell friends and enemies apart,” he said.

He went on to pose the Pakistan nation and the government this question: “If a massacre similar to what happened in the Shah Shahid area of Kabul takes place in Islamabad and the groups behind it have sanctuaries in Afghanistan, offices and training centers in our major cities, what would be your reaction? In such a situation, will we be your friend or enemy?”

These statements clearly show that Pakistani government is not doing as much as President Ashraf Ghani has been expecting. Since the very beginning of its government, Ashraf Ghani has been very clear regarding his stand in Af-Pak relations. He has clearly shown that he believes in a cooperative role of Pakistan in peace negotiations with Taliban.

Similarly, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah has also criticized Pakistan for not showing willingness to make the peace talks result-oriented.

Presiding over the council of ministers meeting on Monday, August 10, he said that the people had hoped that Unity Government would be able to bring peace and stability to the country, but that has not been materialized yet. He said that lack of cooperation from Islamabad in peace process and recent deadly attacks in Kabul damaged public confidence over the government.

He blamed Taliban for the growing insecurity in the country but also added, “Every one of us knows the culprits behind these inhuman acts have safe heavens in Pakistan and they feel pride to claim responsibility for deadly attacks in Afghanistan.” He also mentioned that the unity government had been cooperative with Pakistan and waited for reciprocity from the neighboring country, but Islamabad did not materialize its pledges and tried to deceive Afghanistan.

The statements by the leaders of National Unity Government clearly depict that there are concerns in Afghan government regarding the security situation in the country and the talks with Taliban particularly after the death of Mullah Omar. The death of Mullah Omar has, in fact, undone the progress made so far regarding the peace talks. The controversies of leadership in the group would definitely influence the talks and their effectiveness. There are fears that Taliban may further divide in various groups and many of them may even join ISIS or Daesh, which is another growing terror in Afghanistan.

Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are facing serious challenges as the international forces have withdrawn and they are leading the combats against Taliban. They are not fully equipped and trained to face all the security challenges that arise in different parts of the country and that can give Taliban a high hand in those areas and can encourage them to spread further from those areas.

At the same time, the country is going through severe economic challenges. The rising poverty and unemployment are making the security challenges even more difficult. People, compelled with the conditions readily join the ranks of Taliban or other terrorist groups every day and pose more threats to the country.

All these result in more insecurity to the common people of Afghanistan. The civilian casualties are on the rise and the recent UN report also approves it. People have started losing their confidence over the government they had voted for in severe security challenges. 

It is important that the government must serve the people in the best possible way; guarantee them a safe and secure life, which is also their right. In this regard government must revise its relations with Pakistan and should have a clear strategy regarding the peace talks with Taliban.