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Editorial: Unrestricted cross-line shelling

It seems there is no end to Pakistan’s brazen and unprovoked cross-line attacks into Afghanistan, as Pakistani gunship choppers keep violating Afghanistan’s sovereignty and target civilian homes in eastern Afghanistan. Pakistani paramilitary forces have been firing thousands of missiles into eastern provinces over the past years, claiming lives of tens of civilians. The cross-line incursions also inflicted heavy financial loses.

Relations between Kabul and Islamabad remained tense since fall of the de-facto Taliban region. Pakistani authorities have been blaming Afghans for militancy though it is explicit that various jihadi organizations have been trained and feted by them and their Inter-Service Intelligence is protecting the Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders in order to pursue their strategic depth policy.

The Afghan government has to answer the cross-line missile attacks in proper ways or the leaders will soon get into hot water as public rage against Pakistan and Afghan leaders, sitting in power corridors, is on rise. The government would find itself in bind if people take matters into their own hands – an option which would be seen as viable by the residents.

To resolve the issue through diplomatic channels would be a wild goose chase as the Pakistani government could not resist the powerful military dogma which is in the quest to deteriorate Afghan-Pak relationships, aimed at avoiding slash in defense budget and its unchecked authority. Hence, the Afghan authorities should prepare comprehensive security plans to prevent Pakistan from violating sovereignty of Afghanistan.

As initiation, more troops should be deployed along the Durand Line, especially in Kunar, Nangarhar, and Kandahar provinces. The troops should be equipped with long-range heavy weaponry, including anti-aircraft guns and missiles. If Afghan authorities say that tit-for-tat response from Afghan security forces would kill civilians on the other side of the Durand Line, then they are wrong because civilians on the other side of the line are living far behind military posts.

In Islamabad’s controlled tribal belt, anti-Pakistan sentiments are all time high. The Afghan government should cash this opportunity as it is the right time to end Pakistan’s interference into the country once and for all. To assure the safety of tribesmen, the Afghan government may initiate a mutual understanding with tribesmen across the line and garner their support for the Afghan forces – as people there are increasingly fed up with atrocities of Pakistani troops and are looking for resuscitation. Afghan security brass should come to terms with the fact that the later they act the sooner civilians fatalities rise and the bolder the Pakistani will get.

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