Tense exchanges

Increase in tensions between Kabul and Islamabad would not be something we want at the present moment.


Editorial August 03, 2014

The tension between Islamabad and Kabul over cross border incursions, by militants from the Afghan side of the border, continues. In the latest incident, Pakistan has strongly protested an attack Friday on a check post in Bajaur Agency bordering the Afghan province of Kunar, in which one FC jawan was killed. In late July, 70 or 80 militants allegedly from the Afghan side of the fence had attacked a check post in Lower Dir leading to deaths of several among the terrorists. Pakistan, especially since the launch of Operation Zarb-e-Azb has continued to strongly demand that Afghanistan control the crossing over of militants from its Kunar and Nuristan areas in order to ensure the action against militants in the country can succeed.

It seems this has not happened. Security officials in Pakistan, clearly frustrated by the situation, have warned that Islamabad may be forced to resort to military action including ‘hot pursuit’ into Afghanistan if the incursions do not stop. The porous nature of the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, running along the Durand Line, has constantly created problems in the battle against militancy. These issues seem to be continuing now notably because militants from Afghanistan seem able to launch attacks inside Pakistani territory. We also know that key Pakistan militant leaders, including the chief of the TTP, have for months taken shelter in Afghanistan, moving across the border as and when they wish.

This is an unacceptable situation. Both countries need to battle terrorism jointly if there is to be any hope of success against scourge that has so badly affected both nations and their people. We must hope however that the need for military force that Pakistan has warned of does not arise. Foreign Office officials and the prime minister have emphasised their desire to resolve matters through diplomacy and talks. We must hope that they succeed in this. It is the only way to stop the militants in their stride and an increase in tensions between Kabul and Islamabad would not be something we want at the present moment. Talks then should be the key tool to be used in order to pull ourselves forward.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2014.

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COMMENTS (10)

guddi | 7 years ago | Reply

@Indian Muslim: When you go back to Pakistan.

US CENTCOM | 7 years ago | Reply

It remains imperative to counter the threat of terrorism in the region through mutual cooperation. The terrorists continue to orchestrate their terrorist activities throughout the region. Afghanistan and Pakistan continue to face common challenges in the form of terrorism. It remains our wish to see the regional partners working together in regards to their shared peace objectives. Our officials from the highest level are working closely with the officials from Afghanistan and Pakistan, and we remain confident of seeing peace prevail throughout the region. We reiterate what Rear Admiral John Kirby, Defense Department Press Secretary, said recently: “We've been very clear for many years now that we share common threats with the Pakistanis, that terrorism there is a regional issue, it's not just an Afghan issue or a Pakistan issue. It's the whole region, and we remain committed to having as cooperative and as constructive a relationship with Pakistan as possible.”

Ali Khan Digital Engagement Team, USCENTCOM

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