Kabul’s double standards

A Pakistani soldier was martyred when security forces and suspected militants based across the border in Afghanistan exchanged fire in North Waziristan tribal district. In a statement, the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) identified the martyred soldier as Niaz Ali and vowed that the fencing would continue undeterred.
This is not the first incident of its kind as there have been numerous incidents of firing both from Afghan forces and militants on border fencing teams resulting into loss of precious lives. Pakistan has repeatedly been assuring Afghanistan that the border management plan is aimed at securing the Durand Line and therefore, Kabul should extend fullest cooperation for its successful completion but the latest incident shows Afghanistan has not accepted the ground reality. Fencing began in 2017 to prevent cross-border movement of terrorists and human trafficking between the two countries and this was in response to allegations from Afghan side of terrorist attacks from this side. Pakistan too had similar grievances as terrorists, enjoying safe havens in Afghanistan, crossed the border, attacked villages and posts and returned to Afghanistan. Under these circumstances, despite financial constraints, Pakistan initiated the project of border management to regularize and monitor the entire border as is done elsewhere in the world. Nowhere in the globe, thousands of people cross border on a daily basis without any valid documents and there are reasons to believe that terrorists, militants, criminals and smugglers also moved freely along with other people. It is strange that on the one hand, Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah has emphasized that cooperation of Pakistan was a must for peace in Afghanistan but on the other hand, his country was not willing for cooperation in measures that would help realize this cherished objective. Some recent developments sparked confidence that the two countries would ultimately extend whole-hearted and sincere cooperation to each other in eliminating the common threat of terrorism but it seems some elements on the other side are bent upon creating tension between the two countries. These elements are obviously enemies of peace and the region and the two countries must not allow them to advance their nefarious designs. They should, therefore, hold regular consultations and remove irritants there and then.

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