The Afghan blame game

Both countries need to realise that the opportunities created by the recent warming of relations must not be wasted

Editorial June 26, 2015
Afghan security personnel take position at the site of an attack in front of The Parliament Building in Kabul on June 22, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

Despite the recent warming of relations, there is a long way to go before the relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan can be described as ‘normalised’. The attack on the Afghan parliament that was quickly claimed by the Afghan Taliban has led to an exchange of un-pleasantries and accusations. The Afghan intelligence service is claiming that elements within Pakistan were involved in the planning and financing of the attack, using the Haqqani network as a proxy. In addition to finance, it is alleged that these elements provided logistical support, and that the entire enterprise was planned in Peshawar. These are very serious allegations indeed, which Pakistan has refuted in the strongest terms.

The waters are further muddied by claims that the attack was the work of the Indian intelligence agency RAW, and was designed to derail the improvements in the relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Specifically, to undermine defence collaboration and the much publicised intelligence-sharing agreement signed between the two countries in the last month. This particular claim cannot be overlooked outright.

All the claims, counter-claims and refutations regarding the attack on the Afghan parliament hint that whilst there is both desire and willingness at the highest civilian and military levels in both Afghanistan and Pakistan for an improvement in relations, at a lower level, inside government institutions, such pacifism may be lacking. The role of other regional players that may not be wholly pleased with the recent warming of relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan cannot be discounted either.

Add to this, the sputtering peace process that involves the Afghan Taliban, the Afghan government and the Chinese, with Pakistan playing the role of a facilitator and honest broker, it is clear that the road ahead is going to be bumpy. Not all regional players are on the same page, or even reading from the same book and not all have an equal investment in the peace process in the region. Those who do not, will try to knock it off course, with the result being events like the one recently witnessed, followed by accusations and counter-accusations. Both countries need to realise before it is too late that the opportunities created by the recent warming of relations must not be wasted.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 27th,  2015.

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prem | 8 years ago | Reply @Afzal:The problem with you people is that you don't read comments carefully and start swearing.I have said same thing about the RAW that Raw is not what you people think it is.About bringing India to knees is your pure delusion,You are waiting for current situation in Pakistan to defuse and then dealing with India is nothing but your frustration..Your this obsession has brought to you to your present situation.
Afzal | 8 years ago | Reply @prem: In any sabotage activity India has to be the first suspect and must be subjected to thorough scrutiny. And coward RAW is not powerful, certain politically orphaned groups among us are providing opportunity for enemy to chip in and plan their dirty acts. Involvement in Pakistan has been admitted by your national security advisor and the PM himself. If that continues ISI will have to initiate appropriate and befitting responses once The army has completed its current operations on western border. Our current strength has the capability to see India go in a kneeling position....give us just a little more time.
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