Continued threat from Afghanistan

143

A day after reportedly positive engagement between Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Afghan National Security Advisor Hanif Atmar in London, two FC personnel have been martyred in an attack on a check-post in Khyber Agency by terrorists from across Afghanistan. The attack has been claimed by the terrorist outfit Jamaatul Ahrar that enjoys safe havens in Afghanistan and neither Afghan Government nor American forces have taken any substantive action against outfit.
Afghanistan has been demanding opening of the border on the pretext of humanitarian crisis caused by its closure and Sartaj-Atmar discussions centred on the very theme but the latest attack has once again proved that Pakistani move was motivated by considerations of security. It is to be noted that during the attack, the gun battle lasted several hours but the Afghan forces were unmoved and took no action against the attackers confirming that all this is planned and part of the strategy to destabilize Pakistan. Under these circumstances, one fails to understand how the two countries can move towards resolution of the border crossing problem that is affecting life and economy on both sides. Closure of border means disruption of trade and commerce and that in turn means loss of business opportunities to traders on both sides besides increase in prices of food and other items in Afghanistan as the cost multiplies in case they are imported from other countries due to increased transportation cost. However, there is no cost of security and peace and therefore, Pakistan must ensure that border is opened only when Afghanistan addresses its concerns and lends a cooperative hand in strengthening border management. Non-cooperation of Afghanistan also forces Pakistan to deploy more forces and employ additional resources on this side of the border besides justification for strikes across the Durand Line to eliminate the threat, which causes friction and tension. Now that the United States is also acknowledging that Pakistan was taking action indiscriminately against all terrorist groups, Afghanistan must reciprocate and stop playing into the hands of others who have their own interest in raising the ante.