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Sunday, November 26, 2023

Cross Border Incursions and Afghanistan’s Audacity

Taimur Khan |

“Security officials warn Pakistan against cross-border incursions” was the title of a news article that appeared on the website of Afghanistan’s Tolo News agency. The article appeared on April 10, 2018, which highlighted the ‘condemnation’ and ‘warning’ statements made by Afghanistan’s law enforcement officials, prominent politicians and law-makers regarding the alleged cross-border incursions by Pakistan on April 8, 2018.

“You (Pakistani military soldiers) must respect the international law,” said Colonel Osman Janbaz, a commander of the Afghan Border Police (ABP). Another commander of the ABP, Colonel Fayaz stated, “You (the Pakistani military) have shed the blood of innocent people and that is not a good approach.” The article further stated that several MPs of the Afghan Parliament have declared Pakistan an enemy state who does not want to see a peaceful Afghanistan!

Such statements from high Afghan profile officials are a reflection of the negative and notorious mindset of the Afghan military and civilian leadership. These statements are not only offensive but utterly shocking, especially coming from a country that has no moral right or any solid ground to stand on. A country that is segregated on ethnic and linguistic lines and entirely plagued by the disease of warlordism.

Testing the patience, goodwill and resolve of the Pakistani nation and armed forces is going to prove extremely counter-productive.

How can Afghanistan blame Pakistan for shedding the blood of innocent Afghans when Afghanistan itself is to blame for the blatant killings of its own citizens, case and point, the bombing by the Afghan military (on false pretext) on a religious school which resulted in deaths of more than 70 people, most of them children? Also, Afghanistan is answerable for December 16, 2014, Army Public School attack in Peshawar by TTP terrorists which resulted in the deaths of more than 145 people (mostly children). The perpetrators of the attack came from Afghanistan and their handlers are still residing on Afghan soil to this day.

Read more: Afghanistan: The cornerstone of US-Pakistan mistrust?

Afghanistan needs to be given an objective lesson on history to set the record straight. Pakistan has always considered Afghanistan a brotherly country and still does, despite all the wrongs done to it by Afghanistan since its independence in 1947.

It was Afghanistan (the first country) that attempted to block Pakistan’s entry into the United Nations after the latter’s independence. It was Afghanistan that refused to recognize the Durand Line as the official border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and still does till date. It was Afghanistan that tried to create unrest and chaos by fuelling the Pashtunistan Movement in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province (NWFP now KPK) and carried out military expeditions into Pakistan in areas bordering Afghanistan during the 1950s. It is Afghanistan that continues (till date) to harbour the miscreants of TTP and ISIS (ISIL or Daesh) which not only pose a threat of Pakistan’s security but compromises the security of the entire region.

The Afghan leadership and policymakers should not forget that it is Pakistan that is still hosting more than two million Afghan refugees. Pakistan, despite being the worst hit country at the hands of terrorism, is trying its best for the establishment of peace and stability in its war-torn neighbour. Efforts of Pakistan with regards to finding a political solution to Afghanistan’s problem speaks volumes about its sincere intentions. All efforts by Pakistan, to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table were sabotaged by Afghanistan itself.

These statements are not only offensive but utterly shocking, especially coming from a country that has no moral right or any solid ground to stand on.

Threats and warnings emanating from Afghanistan vis-a-vis Pakistan are totally uncalled for and utterly ridiculous. The Afghan National Army (ANA), an army where the killing of officers, defections and incompetence are the norm should not be making threats to Pakistan, a country that has always maintained a friendly and forgiving attitude towards its western neighbour. The ANA and ABP should refrain from making big claims and threats against Pakistan and should strive to maintain control and establish the government’s writ over its territory (half of which they have lost control over to the Taliban).

Read more: Elections 2018 in Pakistan and Afghanistan: Critical juncture ahead?

Afghanistan should avoid preaching Pakistan on respecting the international law and do the honourable deed itself and uphold the international law, first by recognizing the Durand Line as the official border. Afghanistan should honour the international law and conventions by eliminating the elements of terrorism (TTP, ISIS and Al-Qaeda) which it is harbouring on its soil and jeopardizing the entire region’s security.

It is about time that Afghanistan owns up to its mistakes and takes responsibility for the mess its successive regimes have created in the country for the past several decades. The anti-Pakistan rhetoric and the age-old blame game has become redundant and resulted in mistrust with Pakistan.

The Afghan military and political leadership should focus on their own problems rather than accusing Pakistan of all the ills in Afghanistan. All efforts should be made by the Afghan government to bring its own house in order before slinging dirt on Pakistan, which has been a convenient excuse for their own shortcomings.

It is in the best interest of Afghanistan to stop being a tool and a proxy for anti-Pakistan propaganda which is initiated by extra-regional and regional elements. Testing the patience, goodwill and resolve of the Pakistani nation and armed forces is going to prove extremely counter-productive. Pakistan reserves every right to defend its interests and protect its national security at all cost and Afghanistan should be very careful to not force Pakistan to exercise that right!

Mr. Muhammad Taimur Khan is a freelance journalist. He holds an M. Phil Degree in International Relations from  National Defence University, Islamabad. He wrote many research articles, Policy Briefs, Issue Briefs, Book Reviews and Monographs on topics related to International Relations. The views expressed in this article are authors own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.