Working at odds

Published: October 27, 2014
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Both countries need to find a way to cooperate if they are to defeat what is the most dangerous enemy they have ever faced. STOCK IMAGE

Both countries need to find a way to cooperate if they are to defeat what is the most dangerous enemy they have ever faced. STOCK IMAGE

Pakistan has long claimed that support for militants from across the Afghanistan border is complicating its quest to defeat them. A security official has now said that as Operation Zarb-e-Azb continues, Pakistan has detected bunkers along the Afghan side of the border, lying adjacent to North Waziristan — and apparently intended to give refuge to militants. This is quite obviously disturbing. The question that arises is how the militants can be defeated, when they have powerful friends near at hand. Pakistan and Afghanistan share a problem with militancy. It is necessary that they work together, and not at odds with each other, if they are to overcome it and make both countries safer places.

Pakistan has alleged repeatedly that Afghanistan is giving shelter to some of the terrorists it wants most, like Mullah Fazalullah, who heads the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. Kabul has denied this. The trust deficit does not help matters at all. Islamabad had hoped it would be able to establish better ties with the new, unified Afghan government, led by President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah. Sadly, gauging by events in North Waziristan and the discovery of the bunkers, this does not seem to be the case.

Afghanistan needs to realise that only a joint front with Pakistan can enable it to overcome militancy. This monster has grown too huge to be defeated by any one country on its own. This is especially true given the long, highly porous border which separates Afghanistan and Pakistan. We need an equal effort on both sides to hold back a growth in militancy. Afghanistan must realise that with a US pullout planned within months, it must work with Pakistan in order to vanquish an evil that has already hugely damaged both nations. Both countries need to find a way to cooperate if they are to defeat what is the most dangerous enemy they have ever faced. This is possible only if they are willing to work together for the same cause and put aside other games involving a desire for power or to create problems for the other country. Kabul needs to accept that a partnership is essential.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Humza
    Oct 28, 2014 - 4:29AM

    I don’t think Afghanistan will stop supporting such criminal activities in Pakistan because their behavior has remained the same for the last 60 years. Ever since British left the region, Afghanistan became a willing puppet for Indian adventure against Pakistan. Even US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel pointed out that India uses Afghanistan as a base for cross border activities in Pakistan. The problem for Afghanis is to understand that all these years of serving Indian interests over their own have only caused more despair and instability in Afghanistan. Pakistan just needs to mine and fence the border area after it deports the remaining Afghan refugees. The nation should not expect any change in Afghanistan’s official behavior. Afghanistan’s partner and master will remain India.

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  • Plausible Deniability
    Oct 28, 2014 - 7:22AM

    Sage advice to Afghanistan that belies the hypocrisy that Pakistan still indulges in protecting its strategic assets as can be seen by the recent relocation of the Haqqani network with family et al to Kurram agency.

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  • Fareed
    Oct 28, 2014 - 12:44PM

    Really? Look at who is talking now, I think the author should address this to those who supported taliban at the first place and still support and helps Haqani network.

    It is okay for Pakistan to give shelter to thousands of militants in its land who are destabilizing Afghanistan that includes haqani network and the like of it but Afghanistan cannot give shelter to Mullah FM cause here is a double standard from Pakistan – keep dreaming.

    Come to us when you are serious cause no one now trust you guys and as long as you play this game you suffer more than anyone else.

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  • Shaheryar
    Oct 28, 2014 - 1:17PM

    Pakistan has also been giving shelter to over 3 Million Aghan Refugees since 1979. Why don’t they relocate to India or some other country, if things were that discouraging in Pakistan. Some estimates put this figure at around 5 Million.

    The UN acknowledges that this is by far the largest refugee population anywhere in the world. Moreover, the spillover effect of Afghan refugees in Pakistan over the past more than 3 decades is heroine trade, ship loads of contraband, illicit weapons & the list goes on. The environmental damage–especially the cutting of trees in KPK Province by our Afghan “brothers” has had a tremendous effect on environment.

    Further, Afghanistan—-being a landlocked country, is totally depedent on Pakistani ports & the absue of Afghan Transit Trade by Afghans & dumping/rampant sumggling of all sorts of commodities as well as influx of smuggled/stolen vehicls from all over the world & selling these unregistered vehicles to local tribesmen in FATA region on Pakistan, has only added to lawlessness. Thanks to our Afgan “brothers”.

    Had it been India, Afghans would have it. Look what they did to landlocked Nepal & India’s “excellent” track record of handling minorities———remember the genocide of Kashmiri Muslims, the genocide of Sikhs (3,000 Sikhs were butchered in India in a matter of days, after Indra Ghandhi’s assissanation by her Sikh body guards in 1984, the genocide of over 2,000 muslims in Gujrat in 2002. No wonder, PM Modi was banned by USA till last year, for his role in that ugly episode.

    So, the conclusion is that Pakistan must excercise utmost national interest in dealing with Afghans & must have them sent back to their country within no time & must seal its border with Afghanistan, so that lawlessness in general & smuggling in particular is curbed for Pakistan’s better future. Period.

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  • Feroz
    Oct 28, 2014 - 1:20PM

    Please practice what you preach.

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  • US CENTCOM
    Oct 28, 2014 - 5:03PM

    It is easy to get into a blame game and forget that we are fighting the same terrorists and suffering at the hands of the same terrorists. The terrorists have been taking advantage of the long and rugged mountainous border between Afghanistan and Pakistan to orchestrate their terrorist activities in both countries. The common threat of terrorism that lies on both sides of the border requires shared coordination and assistance between the regional partners. It was recently reported that the Afghan President has accepted an invitation from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to visit Pakistan to ‘share his vision’ for ties between the two neighbors. Afghan President Ghani was also quoted saying: “A new chapter has been opened in relations between the two countries today and I’m confident this will pave the way for close cooperation.” The fact of the matter is that the U.S., Pakistan and Afghanistan have collectively felt the impact of terrorism in the last decade, and continue to do so. Our nations have come a long way in our shared fight against terrorism, and it only makes sense for us to iron out any differences and remain united in regards to our shared peace objectives in the region.

    Ali khan
    Digital Engagement Team, USCENTCOM

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