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Editorial: Testing the Afghan nation’s patience

The Afghanistan-Pakistan ties are more often than not strained and less than cordial. The neighboring country tests the Afghan nation’s patience time and again through its aggression into Afghan territory. In a recent happening, a clash occurred between the Afghan security forces and Pakistani troops in the Torkham crossing point along the de facto Durand Line. The skirmish erupted after Pakistan militia tried to build illegal military installations and fence way into the Afghan territory, an incident that resulted into the killing of an Afghan policeman and injuries to eight others, including five civilians. This is not the first time that Pakistan violates the norms and principles of good neighborliness. Just a few months back, a tough confrontation occurred between the forces of the two countries, again leading to civilian casualties. On top of all that, the country lets off volleys of rockets and artillery shells every now and then into eastern Afghanistan as well. Amid all these, the Afghan security forces have always stood up to bravely frustrate such moves and protect the nation’s territorial integrity, even though they are stretched thin while fighting the Taliban and other terrorist groups at the same time. This patriotic spirit of theirs regarding defending their motherland with utmost efforts is laudable. However, the neighboring country is well-advised to avoid being a foe when it could be a friend to Afghanistan. Pakistan, on one hand, verbally lends weight to peace and stability in Afghanistan but, on the other, avails of the relatively fragile situation in the country – primarily when the peace talks are the top agenda and priority. The Pakistani forces turn the diverted attention of Afghanistan in its favor and believe such actions of theirs would go unnoticed in these hectic times. It’s apparently playing a dual role – both of a supposed facilitator and spoiler alike. Therefore, as every problem has a solution, the countries should seek out diplomatic channels to hash out issues in a rational manner. Anything happening on the Durand Line should be sanctioned by both sides, something that would save both countries a lot of lives and casualties. Meanwhile, the mechanisms already in place in terms of bilateral cooperation – e.g. Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity – should be used to the fullest to avoid such bloody scenarios and thus there shouldn’t be just symbolic conferences but practical improvements in this regard.

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