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New peace approach but how?

Since September 2014, the month when Afghanistan got a new government, five months have elapsed, but no major breakthrough has been visible on the ground particularly on security front. The new government’s attempt to do something totally new on foreign policy front has also drawn flakes. Though this troubled nation has already learnt how to adjust unpalatable realities but it doesn’t mean they don’t want change, stability and peace. Their silence is not their weakness, fault or a manifestation of lack of interest in political affairs of the country, but yes they remain silent for many reasons. Grinding poverty, no access to public representatives, and growing insecurity are some of the factors that have kept the general public in silence. When they got the opportunity to vent their expression, they overwhelmingly preferred democracy over the use of force and they exercised their right to vote. They dared the militant threat to cast their votes. And now when it comes to key decision making pertaining to national issues and interests they are being kept out of the center of schemes. This approach is a farce. The problem is not coming at security problems from a different angle but the mood of the government should be democratic with no smell of dictatorship particularly when it comes to policies with neighboring states. Manning up is not dictatorship, it’s what top leadership should be equipped with, but at least general public should be kept informed about key government decisions. Agreements struck behind the closed doors, if give good results is called brinksmanship, however the day they start faltering and backfires, those who had struck it are called quislings.

Moreover, the current government in Afghanistan should make it clear on the nation what is its standpoint on Pakistan’s covert support to Haqqani Network, Quetta Shura because whenever there is any terror incident on the soil of Pakistan, their military general and DG ISI rush to Kabul. Afghanistan has handed over five terror suspects believed to be behind the deadliest attack on a school in Peshawar on 16 December 2014. When major terror bid hit Peshawar, Pakistan’s army chief and DG ISI rushed to Kabul and now that Lahore— the capital city of Punjab—a province believed to be accommodating and rearing a huge number of good Taliban (those believed to be friendly by Pakistan’s security establishment and don’t create troubles for Pakistan), has come under attack, the two (Pakistan’s army chief and DG ISI) are once again in Kabul. The target of the attack was a police station whereas responsibility of the attack is claimed by Jamat-ul-Ahrar, a splintered group of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

The same day a squad of suicide bombers stormed a police headquarter in Logar killing 24 policemen and injuring eight others. Their visits shouldn’t become a trend as neither Islamabad is a boss nor Kabul is an errand boy. When Pakistan’s leadership is vociferous on terror attacks and pointing fingers at Kabul, the Afghan government has been mysteriously silent on attacks that raise many eyebrows. It should break its silence. The will for peace should be from the two sides where the two—Afghanistan and Pakistan, abide by international norms respecting each other’s sovereignty or else will there ever be a day when Afghan military officials keep rushing to Islamabad after every major terror attack either to seek explanations or to lodge complaints with it against what’s happening on Afghan soil? Moreover, increased relations (political, business, and military) with Pakistan is need of the hour but it shouldn’t be at the cost of Kabul’s friendship with New Delhi.

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