THE cold attitude of the Taliban interim government towards Pakistan, including the safe havens of the outlawed TTP in Afghanistan, is causing new challenges to our national security and sovereignty. Since the systematic attacks on state institutions and military installations on 9 May, Pakistani soldiers have been continuously targeted by the enemy. From North Waziristan to Balochistan, the roots of these terrorist activities reach Afghanistan.
The tragedy is that during the previous regime, the convicted terrorists of TTP were released and there was talk of resettling these 40,000 people in the country. The successive attacks on state institutions in recent days are an indication of the growing closeness of the outlawed TTP and Daesh. The Taliban Government has also been blaming Pakistan instead of abiding by the Doha Peace Agreement. Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesman of the Afghan Interim Government, says that there are no terrorists in Afghanistan.
If Pakistan has evidence, show it, we will take action. Zabihullah Mujahid may be forgetting that TTP commander Tariq Swati alias “Broken Button” involved in the Dasu bus attack was killed in Afghanistan. Apart from this, the death of several TTP terrorists on Afghan soil are a clear proof of their presence there. Pakistan is a major trading partner of Afghanistan. According to the Afghan Ministry of Finance, Pakistan-Afghan trade between 22 December 2017 and December 2018 was 1437 million US dollars.
Every day 8 to 10 thousand patients come from Afghanistan to Pakistan for treatment. Every day, 20 to 25 thousand Afghan nationals cross the border through Torkham, Ghulam Khan, Kar Lai, Chaman and Shamsulzai crossing points. In the past, Pakistan sent thousands of metric tons of wheat to Afghanistan to help the Afghan people. What did they give in return? But terror attacks on Pakistani outposts, India-hatched anti-Pakistani conspiracies, hateful rhetoric against Pakistan and safe havens for terrorists on Afghan soil! It is a bitter reality that Afghanistan’s expression of goodwill was rare.
Even today, evil elements cross the border and carry out sabotage operations in Pakistan and then escape back to Afghanistan. Those who shed the blood of innocent Pakistanis have safe havens there. Pakistan has left no stone unturned to bring the parties to the negotiating table for the “peace process”, but the Taliban government spokesperson has made it clear that they had an agreement with the US, not Pakistan. However, the fact is that Pakistan has played a key role in the Doha Peace Agreement and this positive peace effort of Pakistan was also appreciated at the international level.
The West and India are using TTP in their nefarious plans to destabilize the region. Pakistan’s growing proximity to China and Iran has made them uneasy. The world is deeply concerned about the Economic Corridor project and the Gwadar port agreements. That is why India has spread its terror net in Afghanistan under a well-thought-out strategy. Peace in the region is being undermined by anti-Pakistan Afghan bureaucracy and intelligence operators. This is a heavy responsibility on the Taliban government.
—The writer is contributing columnist, based in Islamabad.
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