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EDITORIAL: As the deportation of unregistered Afghan refugees goes on the Kabul government has been criticising Pakistan for it.

Speaking at a news conference on Monday, caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq rightly reminded the Afghan rulers that the move is a response to their unwillingness to act against the self-styled Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

After the establishment of the interim Afghan government in August 2021, he said, Pakistan had expected that strict action would be taken against terrorist groups, especially the TTP, and they would not be allowed to use Afghan soil to launch attacks in this country.

Instead, there has been a 60 percent increase in terrorism and a 500 percent spike in suicide bombings. In the last two

years 2,867 lives of innocent civilians have been lost, for which TTP operating from Afghanistan has been responsible, he averred, noting also that “in a few instances, clear evidence of enabling terrorism has come forward”.

The Kabul government, of course, is aware of all these details but refuses to do anything about it claiming instead that the violent extremists challenging the writ of this state are in Pakistan, not in Afghanistan.

Indeed, under a dubious agreement brokered by the Afghan interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, hundreds of them were allowed to return to be integrated into society. They used that as an opportunity to regroup in the erstwhile tribal areas, from where they have been attacking the security forces, police as well as other civilians.

Thousands of them, including their leaders, still remain ensconced in safe havens provided by their Afghan hosts. Despite assurances by the Kabul government no action has been taken against these terrorists.

Considering that the TTP leadership pays allegiance to the Afghan Taliban supreme leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada, he could have used his authority to rein in his ideological brothers. But nothing of the sort happened.

Affirming Islamabad’s concerns, a UN report released last July noted that the TTP militants had intensified attacks inside Pakistan. Dealing with the Afghan rulers’ lies and false claims for far too long, Islamabad has lost patience.

During his talk with journalists interim PM Kakar demanded the Afghan government hand over Pakistani nationals involved in terrorism - an ask almost certain to be shrugged off. That leaves this country with the option - already much discussed - of eliminating them in drone strikes.

The military leadership has made it clear it would do all it takes to decimate the enemies of this state and its people. It is about time the Afghan Taliban controlled these heartless terrorists to avoid consequences of inaction.

As regards the refugee issue, it is a product of two wars the US waged in Afghanistan facilitated by our past rulers.

At the end of its misadventures the US just walked away, leaving this country not only to host some four million Afghans, including 1.7 million unregistered ones, uprooted from their homes and livelihoods, but also turned around to declare this county the epicentre of terrorism.

Those at the helm presently need to do some introspection why we are where we are, and draw some lessons from it.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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