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Editorial: Cross-Durand Line shelling

There seems no willingness and compromise shown by the warring sides to resolve the major stumbling block in the Afghan peace process, which is the issue of prisoner release. The Afghan government has reportedly freed over 4000 Taliban prisoners so far and the remaining 600 are said to be not released because they have committed serious offenses. Also, the violence perpetrated by the warring sides has increased as Taliban launched attacks and now the US has reportedly resumed drone strikes in response. Amid this, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has informed of twelve countries offering to host the anticipated intra-Afghan talks. On top of that, during these miseries and the fragile peace process, our neighboring countries don’t let us be focused on such key issues. Recently, Pakistani forces fired rockets into eastern Afghanistan that led to the killing of eight civilians and injuries to another 11. This isn’t the first time Pakistan carries out such territorial violations and indulges in an unannounced war with Afghanistan. Ironically, this happens when Pakistan constantly speaks of supporting stability and peace in Afghanistan and talks of improving bilateral ties. We have witnessed in the past that whenever something’s not done at Pakistan’s bidding, the country vents out by carrying out cross-Durand Line shelling. The country believes these actions would serve as a pressure tool and show the country’s upper hand. Moreover, this comes as the country recently started building military installations along the Durand Line. All these moves bring under question the country’s sincerity in peace talks and whether it truly wants to see a peaceful Afghanistan – in harmony within and without. These are the early signs that Pakistan would never remain true to its commitments and is only paying lip service to the peace process. It’s because this country is still pulling the strings of the Taliban leaders and if it wants peace in Afghanistan, there will be peace; otherwise, it will continue playing the hypocrite and secretly sabotage the peace talks. Therefore, the country is well-advised to shun its double-faced strategy if it really wants to have cordial ties with Afghanistan. Also, if there are any issues, officials from both countries could sit and sort them out through diplomatic channels. Firing rockets and violating territorial integrity isn’t the way to go about it as they are gradually going out of toleration and would result in something unwanted for both the countries.

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