Afghan-Pak: Cross border blame game

The blame game is not in favour of either state but of those who want to create mistrust between the two countries.

Mureeb Mohmand August 08, 2012
On August 3, about 16 mortar shells were fired from the Afghan side in Mohmand Agency and on August 4, the Afghan lower house of parliament, Wolesi Jirga blamed two key ministers of Hamid Karzai’s government over cross-border attacks from Pakistan in Kunar province. It demanded that Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak and Interior Minister Bismillah Ahmadi be replaced as they failed to prevent the Pakistani attacks.

So why are Pakistani forces being blamed in this incident when they only acted in self-defence after being attacked in Chitral, Dir, Bajaur and recently, in Mohmand Agency? And why is Pakistan not proactive in this case, even though Afghanistan itself has adopted a proactive stance instead of an apologetic one?

Pakistan’s border is regularly attacked from the Afghan side and Islamabad has suffered many casualties as a result. Last month, after being attacked in Dir, Pakistani security forces suffered casualties, their soldiers were beheaded and a few days later, their bodies were handed over to the jirga.

In the end, Pakistan is blamed and the message conveyed to the world is that Pakistan is attacking Kabul, just like Pakistan was blamed for fighting a proxy war in Afghanistan. In all these cases, Pakistan is a silent spectator with the elected government and parliament at loggerheads with the Supreme Court. We must admit that, in the past, Pakistan has committed some blunders in the name of strategic depth but after 9/11, the strategy has changed and Pakistan now wants a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan.

On the other hand, Afghanistan is blaming Pakistan on the border issue instead of taking action against those who are attacking Pakistan. When Pakistan attacks in self-defence, they term it a border violation. It is now necessary for both states to rethink their stances instead of blaming each other and make arrangements so that such incidents may never occur in the future.

The joint operation promised by an Isaf commander — that if Pakistan starts an operation on its side, Afghanistan will protect the other side to combat terrorism — should be launched. The blame game is not in favour of either state but of those who want to create mistrust between the two countries.

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Mureeb Mohmand An Express Tribune reporter from FATA. He tweets @mureebmohmand (
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