Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, March 19th, 2018

Pakistan and Afghanistan are in the Same Boat


Pakistan and Afghanistan are in the Same Boat

Following the exchanges of fire between Afghan-Pak soldiers in Torkham border, the tension has reached a climax. The relation between these two countries ebbed the flowed for more than a decade. Persisting on peace talks, Pakistan hosted a face-to-face negotiation between Afghan officials and the Taliban elements on July 07, 2015 – which was stalled after the revelation of Mullah Omar’s death.
With the Taliban’s heavy inroads, mainly as Mullah Akhtar Mansour succeeded Omar, the Afghan-Pak relation deteriorated. As a result, a sense of mistrust emerged after the Shah Shaheed bombing on August 07, 2015, which took heavy toll of Afghan civilians. Therefore, Afghan President Muhammad Ashraf Ghani talked in a serious tone about Pakistan in a press conference. He said, “Pakistan still remains the venue and ground for gatherings from which mercenaries send us a message of war.” He added that at the time Pakistan President Nawaz Sharif had said the enemies of Afghanistan were the enemies of Pakistan, “now the time has come for him to prove it.”
Similarly, the Afghan Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Abdullah Abdullah declared on the 70th United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York that the Haqqani network, which enjoys a safe haven in Pakistan, had been identified as a main culprit and needed to be dismantled. He directly stated as, “We call on Pakistan to do what its leadership promised to us a few months ago when they agreed to crack down on known terror outfits – meaning the enemies of Afghanistan.”
Currently, although Pakistan is a member of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG), the trust among the group is moribund and it is unlikely to succeed in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table. Amid the lack of bonhomie, Afghan-Pak officials declare angry statements against each other. Of late, Pakistani Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz denied fighting terrorism in its own soil. He said that the US wants Pakistan to act against the Afghan Taliban but “Pakistan cannot fight Afghanistan’s war on its own soil.”
On the other hand, the Afghan Ministry of Defense has said that Up to 45,000 Madrasahs in Pakistan continue to train, fund and send terrorists to fight against Afghanistan. Based on this statement, members of the terrorist groups, who are fighting against the Afghan security forces, are fostered in the Pakistani Madrasahs. The terrorists are educated and equipped and then dispatched to Afghanistan to attack the Afghan government forces.
It is believed that a sour relation between these two countries will strengthen the morale of warring factions. The militants will fish in the troubled water and intensify their attacks to fuel the cold war. It should be noted that the Taliban masterminds, who are orchestrating attacks behind the scenes, hunt for a damaged relation to exploit it through triggering further violence and bloodshed. The militants will stage attacks against both the countries to display a proxy war, which will compound the tension.
It is self-explanatory that when a country is burning in a fire, the smoke will go to the eyes of the neighboring countries. Therefore, when Afghanistan suffers from militancy, the whole region will be exposed to threat. Just think of the establishment of the self-styled caliphate in Iraq by Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi. Currently, not only Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria suffer from the militancy carried out by members of the IS group, but the Orlando attacker in the US, Omar Mateen, and California murderers Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik also claimed loyalty to the IS group while shooting at the civilians. In a nutshell, terrorists have transcended the borders and will continue to do so as they claim to establish caliphate on the surface of earth.
Since the terrorist groups practice upon their own radical ideology, they seek to impose their ideology with the barrel of gun wherever they gain foothold. Needless to say, there are great potentials in Afghanistan and Pakistan for the attraction of terrorist groups. As a result, as soon as the IS group gained foothold in Pakistan and Afghanistan, an “ISIL-K” was formed between the Afghan-Pak border, according to the US, and a number of the Taliban fighters pledged allegiance to them. Hence, both the countries are in the same boat.
The first and foremost step to be taken in anti-terrorist campaign is destroying the hotbed of terror that is to say religious seminaries (Madrasah). In other words, it is far more effective to eliminate the factories rather than products. Both the governments will have to keep vigilant eye on activities going on in Madrasahs and make sure that the text books do not spread radicalism. Moreover, they have to intensify their attacks against warring parties, as they never succumb to show green light for talks. Simultaneously, they should tighten the border security so as to prevent from militants’ infiltration.
To bridge the rift and put an end to the chronic problem of terror, the two countries should intensify anti-terrorist operation regardless of good and bad terrorists. The futility of peace talk is clear for the world and further persistence will be a waste of time and energy. Therefore, the only effective mechanism left for brining peace is increasing counter-insurgency. Pointing fingers at each other will do more harm than good and it will never resolve the issue.

Hujjattullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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