A report by an Islamabad-based think tank shows that the Afghan Nation Army (ANA) and Nato forces operating alongside the country’s troubled north-west border region have become increasingly hostile towards Pakistan.
In its annual report, the Conflict Monitoring Centre, which scrutinises anti-state violence and the security situation in conflict zones, revealed that 745 cross-border attacks took place from the Afghan side during the year 2012, out of which 371 attacks were carried out either by the ANA or Nato and US forces, while the rest of them were carried out by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and al Qaeda militants hiding in safe havens inside Afghanistan.
The report shows that the situation along the Pak-Afghan border remained tense during the year and despite Pakistan’s reaction to the Salala incident, hostilities from across the border continued unabated.
It says that the deteriorating security situation in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Federally Administered Tribal Area (Fata) is a result of tacit support for anti-Pakistan militants provided by the forces active across the border, which include Afghan National Army as well as Nato.
The report further states that border areas along Pakistan, of at least four Afghan provinces, have become launching pads for anti-Pakistan militants of TTP.
Maulvi Fazlullah of TTP Swat chapter is roaming freely in Kunar province, organising his cadres to target Chitral and Dir districts of KP and Bajour Agency of Fata. Militants in South and North Waziristan, Orakazai Agency and Khyber Agency have established their bases in border areas of Nangarhar, Paktia and Paktika provinces. Despite Pakistan’s recent efforts to bring the Afghan Taliban to the negotiation table, armed forces across the border are increasingly becoming hostile to Pakistani interests.
Conflict Monitoring Centre’s data shows that during 2012, Nato and US warplanes and helicopters violated Pakistani airspace some 53 times, and in some cases they bombed as well.
The airspace violation took place six times in January, four times in February, eight times in March, four times in April, nine times in May, six times in June, one time in July, three times in August, five times in September, six times in October and one time in November.
All but one of these violations took place along the Fata border, and one took place in Balochistan.
The year 2012 also witnessed an unprecedented increase in cross-border rocket and mortar attacks by the ANA.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 2nd, 2013.