Peace Disruptors in Afghanistan
By Sajjad Shaukat
On January 13, this year, at least seven personal of the Afghan security forces died during the suicide attack which targeted the Pakistani consulate in Jalalabad. Islamic State group (ISIS or Daesh) claimed responsibility for the terror-attack.
The attack, which coincided with efforts to restart the stalled peace process with Taliban insurgents and ease diplomatic tensions between India and Pakistan, added a dangerous new element to Afghanistan’s volatile security mix. In this regard, delegates from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States had met this to try to resurrect efforts to end nearly 15 years of bloodshed in Afghanistan. However, we need to know the real peace disruptors in Afghanistan.
It is notable that on December 9, 2015, the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process Conference was held in Islamabad in which high-level representatives of supporting regional and international organizations from over 30 countries including especially the US, China and Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj participated.
The participants realized the importance of the conference as an important regional platform aimed at a stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan which was not only in its own interest, but also vital to peace, stability and prosperity of the ‘Heart of Asia’ region as a whole—it was collective responsibility to help Afghanistan in combating the challenges it faced.
In the joint declaration, the participants reaffirmed the respect for each other’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and reiterated their commitment to refrain from the threat or use of force against each other and reaffirmed the objectives, aimed at promoting regional peace and prosperity and enhanced cooperation for countering security threats collectively.
And a series of meetings were held in Islamabad between Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and the US to develop an understanding of the earliest possible resumption of stalled talks between the Afghan government and Taliban. A trilateral meeting was also held among Pakistan, Afghanistan and the America. Besides, President Ashraf Ghani, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj also met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Sushma said that India and Pakistan have decided to restart composite dialogue to address all issues including Kashmir.
President Ghani vowed to work together to eliminate the common threat of terrorism, which Pakistan and Afghanistan are facing, and emphasized on the need to enhance bilateral relations between the two countries.
In this respect, in the recent past, cordial relations were established between Pakistan and Afghanistan when Afghan President Ghani had realized that Afghanistan and Pakistan were facing similar challenges of terrorism and would combat this threat collectively.
While, it is misfortune that on direction of New Delhi and like the former regime of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s present rulers have also started accusing Pakistan of cross-border terrorism. In this context, after hours of the Taliban captured Kunduz city, on September 28, 2015, during his address to the UNO General Assembly, Afghanistan’s chief executive Abdullah Abdullah blamed Islamabad for carrying out cross-border attacks and destabilizing Afghanistan.
Differences exist between chief executive Abdullah Abdullah and President Ashraf Ghani, as the former wants cordial relations with New Delhi at the cost of Afghanistan and the latter prefers Islamabad, because Pak-Afghan stability is interrelated.
It is mentionable that on December 10, President Ghani accepted the resignation of Rahmatullah Nabil as director of the Afghan intelligence agency, National Directorate of Security (NDS), after developing differences of the spymaster with him over Ghani’s move to attend the regional conference in Islamabad. In his statement, Nabil said President Ghani had asked him to relinquish charge of the NDS.
Besides, Prime Minister Sharif and President Ghani also showed their determination that their countries would cooperate in fighting the threat of ISIS.
As the US is playing double game with Pakistan, because it is the only nuclear country in the Islamic World, which irritates America and Israel. Hence, secret agents of American CIA, Israeli Mossad and Indian RAW which are well-penetrated in ISIS and are making efforts to weaken Tibetan regions of China, Iran and Pakistan, especially Pakistan’s province of Balochistan by arranging the subversive activities, promoting acrimonious sense of dissent, political volatility, sectarian violence and arousing sentiments of separatism.
In fact, in collusion with Afghanistan’s spy agency NDS, particularly, RAW has well-established its network in Afghanistan, and is fully assisting cross-border incursions and terror-activities in various regions of Pakistan through Baloch separatist elements and anti-Pakistan groups like Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA), Jundullah (God’s soldiers) and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
Nevertheless, Indian desperation in Afghanistan is increasing in the backdrop of growing engagements of Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and US. Therefore, by arranging terror-assaults in Pakistan and Afghanistan, India is also thwarting the peace process between the Afghan officials and representatives of Tehreek-e-Taliban Afghanistan, which started in Murree, Pakistan, on July 8, 2015 through a meeting, hosted by Islamabad, and in it, Chinese and American representatives, also participated. While, the US, China and Pakistan are jointly working to facilitate the process so as to bring peace both in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the whole region.
New Delhi is also trying to sabotage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and is targeting growing Pak-China-Afghanistan relations.
It is of particular attention that waging a prolonged war in Afghanistan, the US and other NATO countries have realized that after the withdrawal of foreign troops, Afghanistan would be thrown in an era of uncertainly and civil war. They realize the fact that there is a co-relationship of terrorism or stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Therefore, US-led developed nations which also spent billions of dollars for the development of Afghanistan have repeatedly agreed that without Islamabad’s help, stability cannot be achieved there. Unfortunately, India does not intend to see peace in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Hence, India is undermining Pak-Afghan stability by creating unrest, and by sabotaging their cordial relations.
As regards the protracted conflict in Afghanistan, the problem cannot be solved through war and weaponry. Initiation of peace dialogue and positive engagements among the contestant groups can be the other practicable option.
Pakistan is desirous of peaceful Afghanistan and sincerely committed to play a positive role in facilitating atmosphere for the dialogue-parties.
Islamabad has categorically denounced any proximity with Taliban as propagated by Indian and western segments. The impression of proximity has been exploited to fan mistrust between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Pakistan has expressed its firm resolve to eradicate extremism and terrorism and military operation Zarb-e-Azb and National Action Plan is clear manifestation of the same.
The entities which are playing double game are opposed to a peaceful Afghanistan. Therefore, they have always attempted to hinder or disrupt any positive outcome of Pak-Afghan engagement by exploiting holed up proxies to carryout terrorism either on Afghan soil or in Pakistan.
Due to Pakistan’s incontestable role in Afghan imbroglio, the country remains a prime target of vested countries and extra regional powers and have been witnessing terrorism thourgh the ISIS which these hostile have themselves created to obtain the secret designs of America, India, Israel and some western countries.
Optimistically speaking, while appreciating increasing engagements at military level of both Pakistan and Afghanistan, media may urge political leadership to expend the contacts and engagements, so that the bilateral relations foster at all levels.
For the purpose, the US-led developed countries must also realize that unlike India, Pakistan shares common geographical, historical, religious and cultural bonds with Afghanistan, while Pak-Afghan stability has a co-relationship, which is essential for their global and regional interests. Especially, America must abandon its double standard, and must check Indian hidden strategy against Pakistan, Afghanistan and other regional countries. Nonetheless, dual policy of the peace disruptors in Afghanistan must be stopped by the respective governments of these countries.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations