News Analysis |
Pakistani authorities have re-opened the Chaman and Torkham border crossing with Afghanistan after the formal request from Afghanistan government. The request was being made on the security grounds following the parliamentary elections which were held on October 20. The border was immediately closed after the assassination of one of the most influential and notorious Police Commanders of Afghanistan, General Abdul Razik, killed by his own security.
Chaman crossing marks its significance for the heavy movement of trucks carrying NATO supplies and also the passage of thousands of Afghan nationals to and from for various reasons. Pakistan has closed the Chaman crossing on multiple occasions in the past, owing to the cross-border fire exchange between Pakistani and Afghan forces on the issue of fencing the Pak-Afghan border, also referred to as Durand line.
Gen. Abdul Razik who was known for his despise against Afghan Taliban and who brought somewhat stability through his fierce tactics in Kandahar, was an open critic to Pakistan as well.
The 2430 Km long boundary which was drawn by the British in 1893 was never, and still not, accepted as the international boundary by Afghanistan. The border had been relatively calm and posed no real threat for the state of Pakistan until 9/11 which changed the entire outlook of the line partitioning both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Since the border has always been porous and due to tribal relations between Pashtuns living on both sides, the cross-border movement was never scrutinized. It eventually led to the exploitation of the vulnerability as non-state elements used it for their benefit. Finally, Pakistan decided to push forward with the multi-million dollar and challenging task of bordering the fence which has since been the bone of contention between both sides.
Happens there, Impacts here
The complex nature of war in Afghanistan has been the leading cause of instability in Pakistan, especially the regions of Baluchistan and KP which border the country. As soon as an incident, like the shooting in Kandahar which led to the death of Gen. Abdul Razik, happens an immediate backlash or response is expected on the Pakistani side and vice versa. A high-level meeting of police, Frontier Corps, Levies, and other law enforcement agencies was called to review the security situation soon after the Kandahar incident.
Pakistani authorities have re-opened the Chaman and Torkham border crossing with Afghanistan after the formal request from Afghanistan government.
The provincial ministers, MPAs, and other government functionaries were asked to limit their movement for a few days. Patrolling– by police, FC, and other forces– was increased in and around the provincial capital. People and vehicles were checked strictly at all entry and exit points. Police, personnel of the counterterrorism department, and FC were deployed at public places and markets to keep an eye on the movement of the suspected people.
The arrangement is not at all sustainable which calls for measures more than just fencing of the border. Due to ineptness and lack of resources of Afghan security forces and the divided strength and focus of Pakistan security forces, the gap in the optimal and on the ground level of security still exists. There need to be the capacity and trust-building measures to stop the incidence like Kandahar in the first place and then prevent the cross-border fallout.
The Growing Resentment of Afghan Security forces toward Pakistan
It has been seen several times, via interviews and video clips of Afghan soldiers disrespecting the Pakistani flag that the resentment is growing in the minds of Afghan security and, to a certain extent, political apparatus. The reasons for the anger vary and so does the credibility they stand on, but what is more important is to address the differences in the approach.
Gen. Abdul Razik who was known for his despise against Afghan Taliban and who brought somewhat stability through his fierce tactics in Kandahar, was an open critic to Pakistan as well. It is a troubling scenario for the state of Pakistan as the eastern border is already hostile and it is simply not feasible to look out for the threats coming from the western border all the time.
Both Pakistan and Afghanistan have their longterm stability linked with each other. It is very important for both sides to remain open for communication and try to resolve the difference via dialogue. There are certain forces active to extract the benefits the differences and an active eye must be kept on them before things get completely out of hand.