Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, July 12th, 2020

Kabul and Islamabad Need to Fundamentally Tackle their Long Tensions


Kabul and Islamabad Need to Fundamentally  Tackle their Long Tensions

Afghanistan and Pakistan as two neighboring countries share deep historical and cultural links and each has declared itself an Islamic republic and both have become members of the south Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. Meanwhile, the two countries have long faced ups and downs in terms of relationship and it severely affected the lives of people living in both countries. The relations between the two countries have been strained since 1947, when Pakistan gained independence. According to most analysts, the main issues originated from Durand Line disputes which cover a large part of Pakistan current territory while others believe that Pakistan does not want a strong government in its neighborhood, Afghanistan.
It seems that the tension has never been fundamentally resolved and instead it continued in one way or another which sometimes termed as “blame game”. In previous years, the Pakistani military have accused Afghanistan of sheltering various terrorist groups which launch attacks into Pakistan while Afghan authorities have always blamed Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI for funding terrorists, especially the Taliban for basing terrorist camps within Pakistani territory to target Afghanistan. Though there is no considerable anti-Pakistan sentiment in Afghanistan, the negative sentiments towards Afghan government and people have caused a lot of deaths and destruction in the country.
In recent months, the tension between two countries has once again intensified. Both countries have traded charges of harassment of their diplomats serving in each other’s capitals. The latest diplomatic dispute between the neighbors erupted last week when Pakistan complained that its diplomatic staff, while going to work, had been obstructed on the road and the embassy vehicles were also hit by motorcycles in the Afghan capital.  As a result, amides possible resumption of the US led peace efforts in Afghanistan, its diplomatic relations with Pakistan is on verge of collapse when foreign offices of both the countries are engaged in exchange of harsh words, blaming each others for harassing of diplomats and cross points insertions.
So far Afghanistan has locked its Consulate General in Peshawar on the grounds of a dispute on the grounds of its ownership whereas in reaction Pakistan has halted Visa release through Embassy in Kabul. However, after a break of single day, Pakistan announced issuing of Visa’s to patients. But in both Kabul, Islamabad diplomats are passing through what it called an era of worst king of fears. All those nationalist political parties, groups or individuals who are talking about friendships and cordial relations with Afghanistan are being dubbed as “traitors and anti-Pakistan.”
In addition, last week some Afghan people and also some of parliament members condemned Pakistan for bombing Kunar province of Afghanistan. In fact, this issue has vastly been reflected in public opinion and public media. Local T.V channels have repeatedly showed the bombed provinces and destroyed area. Therefore, it was also repeatedly warned by Afghan officials that continuing violations of international norms... will have further consequences on the relations between the two countries. On the other hand, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry more often justified the allegation conducted against originally Afghanistan-based militant groups on the Pakistani side of the border, not the Afghan side.
Unfortunately, Afghanistan and Pakistan have been playing blame games for many years instead of initiating meaningful talks. As a consequence, the tensions and blame games have widened insecurity and wars in Afghanistan. Afghanistan had frequently said it does not trust Pakistan, and they do not want to be honest about Afghanistan’s peace and security. In few last years, it was repeatedly articulated by the President of Afghanistan that Pakistan is in an unannounced war with Afghanistan means Taliban receive orders from Pakistan. Based on this, we had to resolve our fundamental issues with Pakistan, then with the Taliban and other insurgent groups. Because these groups are blamed for receiving orders from the intelligence circles of that country and that’s why they cannot join the peace process until they are allowed.
In dealings with Pakistan, Afghanistan insists on a few points: first, Kabul stress that Islamabad should set their relationships on the basis of government to government and adjust its policies to the same extent. Supporting terrorist groups and negotiating with some insurgent groups instead of the government can undoubtedly damage the relations between the two countries. Farther more, Pakistan must understand that the current situation is not in the interest of any party, and none of the countries could profit from the insecurity of each and other. 
Secondly, Afghanistan wants Pakistan to recognize its national sovereignty and accept that Afghanistan is an independent state that independently adopts its domestic and foreign policies. Afghanistan has always called for good-faith relations and good will with neighboring countries, regions and the world, and has never intervened in the affairs of other countries. Afghanistan does not allow any country to use its soil against other countries and always respects the sovereignty and national interests of the countries.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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