Tension in Kabul-Islamabad ties

Monday, 27 February 2017 03:19 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 75 times

Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have strained once again following a fresh spate of violent terrorist attacks in both countries. Contrary to all diplomatic norms and agreements with Afghanistan, Pakistan which has backed militants fighting in Afghanistan for years shut all the Durand Line crossings with Afghanistan and denied entry to even Afghans carrying legal documents in the wake of recent terror attacks. Besides, Pakistani forces launched hundreds of artillery shells into eastern Kunar and Nangarhar provinces in reprisal for the attacks, causing causalities to many Afghan civilians and forcing hundreds of families to flee their homes. Similarly, Pakistani police have intensified the harassment of Afghan refugees throughout the country. Islamabad has used Afghan refugees as a tool to pressure Afghan government for decades. 

 

Tension in relation between Kabul and Islamabad is neither a solution nor can reduce problems in the region, whose continuation will squander the opportunities available in the joint fight against terrorism and regional consensus. The Pakistan’s notorious intelligence agency may have many goals for accusing Afghanistan of aiding terrorists, but one of the major one is to relieve itself from international pressure and to portray itself as a victim of terrorism. 

Efforts to improve the Afghan-Pak relations have failed so far, mostly because of Pakistan’s breaking of its commitments.  Afghan ambassador in Islamabad repeatedly expressed hope that Pakistan will reopen the crossings, but it did not honor its promises. 

Fingers are always pointed to the role of the United States in times of border closure and Pakistan’s pressures on Afghanistan. The US, with which Afghanistan has inked the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), and which has thousands of troops in Afghanistan, remains silent on many occasions instead of resolving the problems through supporting Afghanistan. In the latest instance, America is yet to take a stance, which is criticized by several Afghans. If America does not back Afghanistan in such sensitive conditions in which Afghan territorial integrity is threatened, all its agreements with Afghanistan and the presence of its troop in the country will come under serious question. In addition to Afghanistan and Pakistan, the US should also try to deescalate the tension.