EDITORIAL: Pakistan on Sunday asked the Afghan Taliban government to secure the Pak-Afghan border regions and take “stern action” against terrorist groups, including Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), using Afghan soil to launch attacks on Pakistan’s border security posts. Using rather harsh language the Foreign Office (FO) spokesman said “terrorists are using Afghan soil with impunity to carry out activities inside Pakistan.
” The Taliban came to power last August promising not to allow any terrorist group to operate within Afghanistan threatening regional and global security, yet attacks into Pakistan have increased both in frequency and intensity, especially during the recent weeks, resulting in the martyrdom of several soldiers. Tensions boiled over last Thursday as seven soldiers lost their lives in two terrorist attacks in the North Waziristan border region. Patience in the face of such wanton, unprovoked attacks could only further embolden the terrorists.
The situation called for an effective response which came on Saturday. According to media reports, Pakistan conducted air raids in the eastern Afghan provinces of Khost and Kunar that caused many casualties. Pakistan’s Ambassador to Kabul was summoned over the incident to be handed a demarche. The FO in Islamabad, however, refused to comment saying, the government was looking into the situation and “will give its position accordingly.”
The ‘position’ was not difficult to predict from Pakistan’s repeated assertions that the Kabul government must rein in TTP terrorists operating from the Afghan border areas. In fact, for several months, the two sides have been engaged in talks aimed at improving coordination and security along the border. Yet this country’s concerns have continued to be ignored to the extent that the TTP did not hesitate to announce it would launch an offensive against Pakistan’s security forces from the first day of the holy month of Ramazan, and put that threat into action, too.
The loss of any civilian lives in Khost and Kunar is deeply regrettable, but the rulers of Kabul bear responsibility for it. If they did not remove the cause of trouble those troubled by it could be expected to do that by themselves. The Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid did not help matters when he said “the Pakistani side should know that if a war starts it will not be in the interest of any side.
” Indeed, confrontation is in no one’s interest. But his side needs to understand that they are not in the insurgency mode anymore; they are running a government that needs peace in order to attain stability, which is also what this country has been trying to help them with.
Since the Taliban takeover, Pakistan has been pleading their case before the international community to bring Afghanistan out of international isolation. Despite its limited resources Islamabad has sent over substantial aid to the Kabul government to tide over a serious humanitarian crisis, also allowing India to transport its supplies via the Torkham border.
Equally, if not more important, every day thousands of trucks carrying trade items, people seeking medical attention in Pakistan or to visit relatives, cross into this side. It is a mutually beneficial relationship the Afghan Taliban would be wise not to ruin by allowing their ideological brothers to go on carrying out acts of terrorism in this country. They must be controlled.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022