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Editorial: Patching up

Afghanistan is heavily dependent on foreign assistance. Four decades ago, the country was abode of peace and stability. The heydays are long gone. Interference of neighboring countries and a few major countries have destabilized Afghanistan. The Cold War and Pakistan’s disastrous “strategic depth” policy marked the era of insecurity and instability in Afghanistan. Instead of helping Afghan people to rebuild the country after the Soviet Union was defeated, Islamabad had been supporting different factions to have a weak and puppet neighboring country. The plan failed because most of the groups realized that Pakistan was trying to make Afghanistan its fifth province. But, we had a few black sheep in our ranks that triggered civil war and paved ground for the extremists Taliban to take over. Pakistani girls and women enjoyed the life but at the same time, the Islamabad-backed Taliban lashed girls for going to school.

There was no Islam in the city of Islam—Islamabad—but the mercenaries tried to use their own version of Islam on behest of their masters in Afghanistan. After fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, the democratic Afghan government tried to open a new chapter by forgetting the continuing interference. However, the ventures went in vain because Afghan militant groups were seen as strategic assets by Pakistani military establishment. Islamabad preferred to stick with the assets rather than to engage in healthy and multi-dimensional relations with Kabul. Wars are too ugly. Who knows this better than Afghans? Afghans knew that the snakes nurtured by Pakistan in its backyard would soon demand blood of their masters. It happened when the Islamabad-created Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan massacred children in an army-run school in Peshawar.

Even after the killing of Al-Qaeda’s chief Osama Bin Laden, there was no shift in Pakistan’s policy on terrorism. Sadly, the massacre of little angels could not change mindset of the powerful military establishment as safe passage was proved to notorious Afghan and trans-regional terrorist groups. They were resettled in other parts of Pakistan.

But, Kabul realizes that there are no good terrorists. Terrorists are terrorists and should be dealt with iron hands. Therefore, Afghan military has launched another operation in Kunar to eliminate terrorists, including foreign if there are any. Islamabad repeatedly accused that Pakistani militants are in Kunar. They would see the results of the newly launched military operation. There would be no resettlement of militants because for Afghans the killers have no religion and identity. Terrorists must be eliminated. Hope that Pakistan would respond in a similar way by taking action against Afghan militants. Without reciprocation, Islamabad cannot patch up ties with Kabul.


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