Issue of Pak-Afghan Border Incursions
Recently tension arose between Pakistan and Afghanistan when a spokesman of Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs blamed Islamabad for continuation of mortar attacks and construction of security wall inside Afghanistan including deployment of Pakistani soldiers across the Pak-Afghan border.
While, hundreds of Afghan university students in Jalalabad took to the streets on April 15, this year and protested incursions from Pakistani side, as demonstration was sparked by a statement of Afghan President Hamid Karzai who ordered his top officials on April 14 to take immediate action to remove the gate and other “Pakistani military installations near the Durand Line.”
On the other side, Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Office strongly rejected Afghan allegations regarding any intrusion near the Pak-Afghan border. Pak army spokesman also refuted these false accusations.
Karzai’s allegations are not new ones because he has always followed the US blame game against Pakistan. While ignoring the responsibilities of the US-led NATO countries, in the past few years, especially US civil and military high officials have repeatedly been emphasising Pakistan to ‘do more’ against the militancy in the tribal regions in order to stop cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan.
In this regard, the then US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta allegedly said on June 7, last year that the US was reaching the limits of its patience with Pakistan due to safe havens, “the country offered to insurgents in neighbouring Afghanistan.”
In fact, having failed in coping with the Afghan Taliban and to pacify their public, particularly, US has shifted the blame game towards Pakistan for infiltration of militants in Afghanistan. So, we need to prove, whether Pakistan is responsible for cross-border incursions in Afghanistan or the latter in Pakistan.
In this respect, around 400 heavily-armed Taliban who entered from Afghanistan side attacked two security posts outside Peshawar on December 27, 2012. They killed 2 soldiers and kidnapped 22 Levies personnel whose dumped bodies were found. On June 24, more than hundred militants, entered Pakistan’s region of Dir, and attacked two check posts of the security forces, while bloody clashes between the intruders and Pak Army continued for two days, which resulted in martyrdom of 12 Pakistani troops, beheaded by the Afghan miscreants.
However, Pakistan’s civil and military leadership lodged a strong protest on June 25 with their counterparts in Afghanistan and NATO, also informing the UN Security Council, saying that the Afghan and NATO forces were doing nothing to check the activities of the Afghan militants nor were acting against the safe havens of the terrorists inside Afghanistan.
During his meeting with the then US commander General John Allen on June 27, 2012 Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani asked him to stop cross-border incursions from the neighbouring country.
It is notable that since April, 2011, some 200 to 300 heavily-armed insurgents from Afghanistan’s side entered Pakistan’s region intermittently, targeting the security check posts and other infrastructure. On October 9, hundreds of insurgents attacked the Kakar check post in Upper Dir. During the assault, around 15 insurgents were killed and a soldier also lost his life. On August 27, some 300 militants attacked seven paramilitary check posts in Pakistan’s district of Chitral, killing more than 30 personnel of the security forces. In one of such major attacks, on June 1, more than 500 armed militants who came into Dir area killed more than 30 police and paramilitary soldiers. Police said that well-trained terrorists who targetted a check post, also destroyed two schools and several houses with rocket and gunfire attacks, while killing a number of innocent people. On June 3, 400 militants besieged the Pakistani area. Sources suggested that after a three-day gun battle, Pakistani security forces killed 71 Afghan Taliban.
Notably, on October 17, 2011, the former army spokesman, Major-General Athar Abbas disclosed, “The attacks in which terrorists loyal to Maulvi Fazlullah, leader of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) who fled to Afghanistan during Swat military operation, killed more than 100 personnel of Pakistan’s security forces.” He explained, “Pakistani Taliban insurgency is based in Kunar and Nuristan provinces in Afghanistan…we have given locations and information about these groups to the US-led forces” which had failed to hunt down a spate of cross-border raids.
This cross-border penetration which started in April, 2011 so far killed several troops and civilians in Pakistan. From time to time, ground shelling inside Pakistan and violation of its border by US helicopters and drone attacks have also kept on going. In this context, the Salala incident which killed 24 soldiers by the US deliberate air strikes on Pakistan’s army outpost in 2011 might be cited as the worse example.
Nevertheless, these are organised military type operations which one cannot imagine by a stray group of militants and it is also totally unacceptable that they have the capability to fight for long hours or capture Pakistani posts by challenging the capacity of Pak Army.
The way the Afghan militants are challenging a highly professional Pak Army by cross- border attacks is enough to prove that US with the assistance of secret agencies such as American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad which have well-established their collective network in Afghanistan is fully backing these incursions with a view to destabilising Pakistan which is the only nuclear country in the Islamic World.
There is also another kind of incursion from Afghanistan. In this connection, in a religious Madrassa of Wakhan, located in Afghanistan, is functioning under the patronage of Indian officials—with the consent of CIA. It is being used for brainwashing of very young boys who are Indian Muslims, Afghans, Uzbeks, Tajiks and Caucasians. They have also been made to learn Pashto and traditions of Pathans. Posing as volunteers, they have joined the ranks and files of the TTP, Lashkar-e-Janghvi and other militant outfits. In the recent years, especially TTP’s insurgents and its affiliated banned groups conducted many terror-activities like suicide attacks, ruthless beheadings of tribesmen, assaults on security personnel and prominent figures including Shias, Ahmadis, Sufis, Christians and Sikhs. TTP has accelerated subversive activities so as to sabotage the forthcoming elections in Pakistan, as recent terror-attacks in Karachi and especially Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are part of the scheme. During election campaign, Awami National Party which decided to cope with the TTP’s undemocratic practices has become special target of its militants.
In fact, Afghanistan has become a hub of anti-Pakistan activities from where foreign secret agencies are also sending logistic support to Baloch separatists like Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), Jundollah (God’s soldiers) and other similar outfits to dismember Pakistan in order to obtain the secret strategic designs of the US, India and Israel against China and Iran. Besides martyring several personnel of security agencies in Balochistan, these foreign-backed elements kidnapped and massacred many innocent people who include teachers, professors, lawyers, Shias etc. On a number of occasions, these insurgent groups claimed responsibility for their heinous acts.
Pakistan’s civil and military leadership has repeatedly revealed that militants along with huge cache of arms are being sent to various areas of Pakistan from Afghanistan. In the recent past, Rehman Malik pointed out that during his trip to Afghanistan, he emphasised upon President Karzai to close training camps of the insurgents.
Here question arises as to why US-led NATO forces which are equipped with modern surveillance system do not stop the Taliban insurgents when they go into Pakistani territory? Second question is as to why these foreign forces based in Afghanistan did not attack the Al Qaeda or Afghan Taliban, while in some cases, fighting with Pak security forces have continued for two or three days?
Notably, Afghanistan shares a common border with the CentralAsianRepublics. And all the foreign insurgents enter Pakistan through Afghanistan which has become a gateway. So, as to why US and NATO forces do not capture these foreign terrorists when they enter Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, on April 1, this year, in his meeting with the new NATO/ISAF commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Joseph F Dunford at Rawalpindi, while discussing military-to- military cooperation, Gen. Kayani particularly asked him to check cross border incursions in Pakistan launched from Afghanistan.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Affairs