Lacklustre response from Kabul


AS per a version of Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch given after a daylong visit of a high-level delegation to Kabul, the two governments have agreed to collaborate towards addressing the threat of terrorism and strengthen multifaceted cooperation. However, the statement issued by Taliban government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid only centred on what was discussed and avoided mentioning any substantial outcome as he said the two sides had held detailed discussions, covering, among other issues, “security concerns” and “activities of armed opposition groups.”

There are clear indications that the Afghan side was not responding neither to the concerns of Pakistan on highly provocative activities of the TTP nor on repeated escalation of tension on the border. That nothing substantial emerged from the visit is also substantiated by the fact that Pakistan’s Head of Mission in Afghanistan Ubaid Ur Rehman Nizamani, who was also part of the delegation and earlier survived an assassination attack on December 2, returned back to Islamabad rather than resuming his job in Kabul. Reports suggest Pakistan shared irrefutable evidence about the presence of banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) hideouts and precise location of its leadership in Afghanistan. As the Taliban Government is not fulfilling its commitments made to the world community as well as Pakistan not to allow militants to use Afghan soil for activities against any other country, the Pakistani delegation minced no words in conveying to the Afghan Government about the urgent need to take a decisive action as TTP elements were freely moving in Afghanistan with evidence it was being facilitated by the Taliban interim government.

There is scant possibility of a decisive action against TTP elements as suggested by Pakistan as media reports claim the Afghan side conceded that terrorist activities against Pakistan were taking place from inside Afghanistan but instead of expressing its willingness to go after the trouble-makers, they insisted on other options and solutions which were not acceptable to Pakistan. This is because Pakistan has already exhausted the option of negotiations with militants but the process was misused to regroup and re-launch terrorist attacks against law-enforcing agencies as well as innocent people.

Afghanistan is also not cooperating in strengthening border management that can take care of illegal crossings and rampant smuggling. Instead, conspiracies are being hatched to undermine the efficacy of the steps taken by Pakistan to formalize the international border. Pakistan is incurring huge economic, social and human losses due to the Afghan factor besides the negative impact of millions of refugees/illegal Afghans on its soil but there is consistent hostile attitude from the other side on all issues of concern to Islamabad. Under these circumstances, the issue should be discussed threadbare in Parliament and in the light of the intake from parliamentarians; a review of Afghan policy should take place to safeguard our core interests.