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Editorial: Friend or foe?

Flying in the face of all international laws, the Pakistani military has yet again brazenly violated Afghanistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by trying to establish military posts inside the Afghan territory of Nari district in eastern Kunar province. After Afghan forces stopped them from doing so along the de-facto Durand Line, the Pakistani forces started rocket shelling. In the trade of fire from both sides, seven people including three women were killed and four others including women and children were injured. The skirmish also wounded some civilians on the other side of the zero-line in the Chitral area. It’s for years now that the Pakistani forces fire missiles into Kunar and other eastern provinces while killing innocent people, inflicting financial losses on them and rendering them homeless as they are forced to flee their areas. However, this time they not only fired rockets but planned to enter Afghanistan territory through such incursions. Fortunately, the attempt was bravely frustrated by the Afghan forces, who in turn dealt substantial damage to their posts. The exchange of fire finally came to an end after two days through negotiations.

The neighboring country justifies such incursions by saying that they are part of its fencing of the Durand Line – something that is also illegal and unacceptable to the Afghans – in order to supposedly prevent terrorists to freely walk across the porous region into the country. This is while, ironically, the country itself is the hotbed of terrorists. In addition, the country has reportedly fenced an over 900-kilometer-long portion of the total 2,500km-long unrecognized line of demarcation. Knowing that Afghanistan is already preoccupied with its internal concerns of dealing with the matters of peace, insurgency and now the election controversy, Pakistan finds it to be the opportune moment to commit such illegal acts. Islamabad believes such moves would go unnoticed at these times of hardship; however, lest they forget, the motherland is dear to Afghans and they don’t compromise in this regard. Pakistan should tread carefully because the country’s current doings are in a manner a ‘declaration of war in disguise’.

The irony of it is that the country then speaks of good neighborliness and puts on an act of supposedly helping Afghans achieve peace and stability. They should ponder their deeds in order to avoid crossing the threshold of tolerance and thus shun the provocation of Afghans. It isn’t in their interest and in fact, they can’t afford to have an enemy on its west – with already being an archival of India on its east. The country should cease and desist, otherwise they would be responded in a befitting way by facing an equivalent retaliation. Unfortunately, the Afghan government’s constant complaints lodged at the UN against the Pakistani aggressions have also not yielded positive results so far. These acts of aggression and violation of Afghanistan’s territorial integrity coupled with the country’s claims of supporting Afghans in peace signify the country’s dual-faced behavior and hypocrisy games, making it difficult to determine whether it’s a friend or foe. It’s advisable for the country to adopt a peaceful and civilized approach towards Kabul if it wants to have good neighborly relations, something that would help both the countries.

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