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Changing Regional Dynamics; Challenges on Pakistan volatile borders amid Afghan anarchy

With the US troops withdrawing from Afghanistan after their two decades of military engagement, the Taliban’s advance has led to a resultant spike in violence. Fears reign that power vacuum might emerge again as the intra-Afghan talks have made little headway. As the battle for Kabul usher close to Pakistan’s borders, strengthening security measures and harboring deft diplomacy against the “spoilers of the peace process” is need of the hour

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In a special transmission on New 92 HD, prominent anchor and political commentator Dr. Moeed Pirzada, comments on the emerging developments in the South Asian region after US withdrawal from Afghanistan on 4th July. By taking the leaf from history, Dr. Moeed traces the origins of Afghan Imbroglio from the start of the Saur Revolution in 1979 that led the country into the ravages of war and conflict.

The US-USSR Afghan War leading to the disintegration of the Soviet Union marking the Cold War and the ascendency of the US as the sole superpower become the aftermath of the Saur Revolution. Furthermore, the power vacuum after the USSR disintegration and US withdrawal from Afghanistan headed the country into the horrors of civil war in the 1990s.

At that point in history, the region saw the rise of the Taliban and the advent of Al-Qaeda as they managed to ingrain their footsteps on Afghan soil. Thus, Afghan soil because the haven and launching pad for their terrorism as they penetrated the grassroots of international order.

Peace Afghanistan is a panacea for regional chaos

DG ISPR, Babur Iftikhar in this special transmission sheds light on Pakistan’s volatile borders and how Afghan peace is essential for lasting stability in the region. Moreover, he expresses Pakistan’s unwavering support to the US both during War against terror by becoming the frontline player in 2001 and by fostering the Afghan peace process.

However, he adds that “Pakistan is a facilitator, not the guarantor of peace in Afghan”. He pitches firmly on the Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process by highlighting the significance of a legitimate Afghan government which is a prerequisite for maintaining Afghan sovereignty and securing the national interest of both states.

Read more: Afghanistan: Important Questions for the Future

He stresses Pakistan’s determined commitment to the war against terrorism through the range of military operations within its borders. He claims that these operations received international coverage and credibility as the community lauded Pakistan’s steadfast efforts.

By elucidating that 90% of the Pak-Afghan border fencing is complete, he claimed that this security measure is for the mutual interests of both countries. In addition, he underscored the initiation of a border control system through upgraded biometrics and sealing loophole points on the Pak-Afghan border. The regular troop deployment has put the lid on militancy and terrorism.

He highlighted that Pakistan has suffered greatly during the period of Afghan civil war and War and against terror through the spill-over of militancy and the refugee influx. Having faced this situation before and suffered the repercussions of faulty decisions to host Afghan refugees, Pakistan needs to take prudent and timely decisions to overcome the volatile situation across the border.

The prospects are grim and bloody as the Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mahmood Qureshi and National Security Adviser, Dr. Moeed Yusuf has warned of the potential instability in Afghanistan and its spill-over impact on Pakistan. He warned that the influx of refugees may bring back militancy and terrorism in Pakistan as terrorist outfits may infiltrate alongside refugees.

Read more: Afghanistan going back to its war-torn days?

And it will be difficult for the border authorities to differentiate between them. As the Taliban has stated that they will not allow the Afghan soil as a launching pad for terrorism and a haven for terrorist outfits, Pakistan needs to drive this point ahead with greater emphasis. He reiterates the need to enforce counter-terrorism and law-enforcement capabilities to tackle this reintroduced threat brimming upon borders.

Pakistan is jeopardizing the Afghan peace deal; blames Afghan VP Saleh

The Vice President of Kabul, Am Amrullah Saleh has indicted Pakistani authorities of allowing the personnel from Afghan National Defence and Security forces with permits signed by the Taliban to cross the border near the Chaman border. He said on Thursday that Taliban terrorists issued signed visas to members of the Afghan security forces who surrendered to the Islamist outfit before entering Pakistan. He accused Pakistan of being the spoiler in the peace settlement and is concerned with its strategic depth policy at the expense of regional peace.

Nonetheless, the Foreign Office on 15th July, has rejected these allegations and has reiterated Pakistan’s stand committed to lasting peace in Afghanistan and will continue its endeavors irrespective of the detractors. It reiterated the FO narrative by claiming,

“We acknowledge Afghan Government’s right to undertake actions on its sovereign territory. However, as alleged by the Afghan Vice President, Pakistan Air Force never communicated anything to the Afghan Air Force. Such statements undermine Pakistan’s sincere efforts to play its part in an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led solution.

“Pakistan lately rescued 40 ANDSF all ranks who fled to Pakistan and returned them to GIORA with respect and dignity, with a declared offer to ANDSF to provide all logistical support as requested”

Indian involvement in Afghanistan vis’a vis Pakistan

Former US President Donald Trump presented his South Asia policy where he emphasized the need for a continued Indian presence in Afghanistan. Undeniably, the Indian nexus with the Kabul government had been evident in the past to keep Pakistan constantly engaged at the western border.

Read more: India evacuating RAW anti-Pak staff out of Afghanistan amid fears

Furthermore, India has also spent around $3billion on the Afghanistan reconstruction plan and maintains excessive clout over the spillover of militancy from Afghanistan. The objectives of hybrid warfare by fuelling insurgency in Baluchistan and ensuring a haven to the Baloch militants in Afghan soil can only be fulfilled with India’s continued connection with the political elites at Kabul.

Moreover, continued Indian influence is also a political card to monitor Chinese clout and the subsequent Belt and Road initiative. As regional rivals had a military face-off at Ladakh that triggered the age-long border dispute, Indian presence in Afghanistan has its motives for becoming the regional hegemon and fostering the US-Indo strategic alliance vis-à-vis Pakistan-China nexus.

Playing the Pakistan card; India’s media tactic

Furthermore, the Indian media is playing the Pakistan card by blaming it to be the source of all problems in Afghanistan and the region. Although the narrative is overrated, it still adds fuel to the fire by spreading propaganda against Pakistan through diverse means. Some RAW-sponsored elements and PTM are towing the narrative that the Taliban is the wing of the Punjab army who aim to make Afghans their slaves.

Through deft diplomacy and informational maneuver, Pakistan needs to rebut Indian propaganda. It has to reiterate how India employed her intelligence apparatus in Afghanistan to bleed Pakistan white for the past two decades. Through adept coverage, there is a need to explicate how India is a spoiler in the region and has attained disproportionate mileage in Afghanistan to destabilize Pakistan. By building an extensive intelligence network in spaces provided by NDS and US in Kabul, Kandahar, Herat, Jalalabad, and Mazar-e-Sharif and supporting insurgent factions in Pakistan, it had kept the Pak-Afghan border on fire for years.

Taliban resurgence and fears of heightened insurgency in Kashmir

Policymakers in New Delhi are pondering over the consequences for the disputed territory of Kashmir and attuning ways to ensure that a Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan wouldn’t embolden militancy in the region. They fear the Taliban’s advance as an impetus to armed militancy in India-administered Kashmir in response to the August 5th, 2019 measure taken by the Indian government. Also, they envision a consolidated front comprising of Pakistan-China-Taliban and Kashmir will not remain unaffected.

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Thus, the presumed fact that Indian involvement in Afghanistan might recede should be taken with a grain of salt. It is because Indian in the past has relied on hybrid warfare to destabilize, disintegrate and demoralize Pakistan’s writ and might continue these tactics with greater impunity to safeguard its interests in the region.

Taliban want negotiated peace in Afghanistan, says Suhail Shaheen

As the Taliban deem that Pakistan “cannot dictate or impose views on us”, they foster the narrative of ensuring fraternal ties with Pakistan with whom they share cultural, religious, and historical links. Additionally, Suhail Shaheen, the Taliban’s spokesperson iterates that they expect India to remain impartial in this struggle of the people of Afghanistan and urges them to align its support to the people, not to their vested interests.

Read more: Escaping the graveyard of nations: Expert Opinions

Also, the spokesperson rejected the notion that the Taliban perceived the use of force as the solution for their rule in Afghanistan. He highlighted that embassies and properties were never their targets of attacks. Their approach was and is always on the defensive as they targeted military forces at Kabul engaged in attacks on them. He explained the Taliban’s stance by shedding light on their meetings and negotiations with the Afghan government and representatives in Doha.

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