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News Analysis |

Two blasts rocked the cities of Kabul and Lahore resulting in the loss of 24 and 26 lives, respectively. Both Afghanistan and Pakistan have been affected by the menace of terrorism. The Commander of Resolute Support Mission (RSM) and US Forces in Afghanistan, General Nicholson called on Army Chief, General Bajwa in Rawalpindi to discuss security affairs of the region.

General Bajwa expressed Pakistan’s concerns over a “blame game perpetrated by some quarters in Afghanistan and US to undermine Pakistan’s contributions” in the war against terrorism.

With the ever-worsening security situation in Afghanistan, the US has decided to adopt a new policy for Afghanistan. The strategy which is yet to be announced will be applied to Pakistan too as enunciated by Generals McMaster and Mattis.

The press release of the ISPR read: ” it’s not a coincidence that this theme is being played at a time when policy review is being undertaken in USA. He (COAS) said that despite provocations, Pakistan will continue to act positively as we consider the defeat of terrorism as a National interest.”

Read more: Why not just say no to CSF?

With the ever-worsening security situation in Afghanistan, the US has decided to adopt a new policy for Afghanistan. The strategy which is yet to be announced will be applied to Pakistan too as enunciated by Generals McMaster and Mattis. General Nicholson had requested additional combat troops to bolster the present 8,400 in their fight against the Taliban and the ISIS. The Pentagon has been given the discretion to devise the policy, which many believe will backfire.

Appreciations and Condemnations 

General Nicholson appreciated counter terrorism efforts and the professionalism of the Pakistan Army, stressing upon the need for continued cooperation. This comes days after the Pentagon halted $350 million of the Coalition Support Fund (CSF), citing Pakistan’s lackluster drive against the Haqqani Network.

A high-powered delegation led by Senator John McCain while lauding Pakistan’s fight against terrorism called upon it to mend ways. Voices in Washington have been clamoring for punishing Pakistan. Last month, two lawmakers introduced a bill to revoke Pakistan’s MNNA status, which was accorded to it by President Bush.

Read more: Pakistan is nipping the ISIS evil in the bud!

Pakistan is going forward with counter terrorism operations inside its territory. A preemptive operation was launched last week to forestall ISIS in Pakistan; the first phase was successfully completed on Saturday. Islamabad’s efforts have been brushed aside by Kabul, be it border fencing or the latest operation.

The contours of the new strategy are more or less clear: more troops with a changed role; no talks with the Taliban and a hardened stance toward Pakistan

The US has been suspected of going soft on various elements within Afghanistan. It did not agree to Russian offers of engaging the Taliban in fighting the ISIS, as both groups are battling each other. The Russians have also accused the US of supporting the ISIS in Afghanistan; Ex President Hamid Karzai echoed the same views last month. General Nicholson, while taking command of US troops last year made an interesting remark about the Haqqani Network. “They are not part of that designation right now…The Haqqanis are principally a focus of the Afghan security forces,” he said last year.

Read more: Kabul jolted yet again; US strategy is still-evolving

The contours of the new strategy are more or less clear: more troops with a changed role; no talks with the Taliban and a hardened stance toward Pakistan. The US, has according to many pundits elongated the fighting on the battlefields, for the Taliban will not be coerced into talking. Pakistan may not cooperate given the new approach toward it and the US courtship of New Delhi. As the strategy unfolds, one can expect more instability in Afghanistan; unhealthy ties between the two countries are least desirable but look increasingly likely on the horizon.

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