- But it mustn’t be labour of love
Pakistan has bent over backward to help the USA, the Afghan government and the Afghan Taliban to resolve differences, end the civil war and bring peace to its war-ravaged neighbor. For this COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and PM Imran Khan separately visited Kabul last year while Pakistani officials held talks in Islamabad for three days with Afghan peace official Abdullah Abdullah. Pakistan helped restart the stalled dialogue in Doha three months after this was terminated unilaterally by US President Donald Trump in September 2019. In February last year Pakistan again facilitated the signing of the US-Taliban agreement, got the warring sides to observe a ceasefire on Eid, and helped break the stalemate over the prisoners’ release that was delaying the start of the intra-Afghan dialogue. In December when apprehensions were expressed that the Afghan Taliban might not return to dialogue three weeks after a mutually agreed break, Pakistan invited their delegation to ensure that that talks started as scheduled.
Pakistan has invested a lot of time and energy in bringing peace to Afghanistan. Many in Pakistan would however judge the outcome of the efforts from what Pakistan has received in return. To reiterate that the security of Pakistan lies in the security of Afghanistan will satisfy few when there is no end to terrorist attacks from sanctuaries in Afghanistan, the horrendous killing of 11 innocent Hazara mine workers being the latest gory incident.
We are told by the government that that terrorist networks like the Daesh, which carried out the attack on the Hazaras, the TTP, the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and the umbrella organisation Baloch Raji Aajoi Sangar (BRAS) have set up their camps in Afghanistan from where they launch attacks inside Pakistan. The beleaguered Afghan government might be lacking the ability to take on these networks, as we are told. But how come the US forces in Afghanistan possessing precision weapons look the other way as these groups target Pakistan? And why do the Afghan Taliban who challenge the US might, continue to ignore their presence in the areas under their control or influence? There is no doubt a need to continue to work for peace in Afghanistan but what has the PTI government done to ensure that the USA, the Taliban and the Afghan government deny Pakistan’s enemies the use of Afghan territory as a launching pad against Pakistani civilians and security personnel?