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War on terror: Surge in Taliban’s attacks stir suspicion over Pakistan’s role

“Pakistan did whatever Kabul wanted, but the result depends on measures taken by the powerful countries such as the United States”

Abdul Zuhoor Qayomi

KABUL: Since formation of the National Unity Government in Afghanistan, ties between Islamabad and Kabul have gone through a level of overhaul but Afghans are not satisfied with performance of Pakistan on the ongoing war against terrorism. High-ranking officials of the two countries met several times to reduce the trust deficit. Pakistani military establishment pledged to target all terror networks including “good Taliban”. However, what Afghans want—action against Haqqani Network and other Afghan militant groups—is not in sight, as a result string suspicion over Pakistan’s role.

After the Pakistani militants targeted an army-run school in Peshawar in December, top brasses of the Pak army sought Kabul’s support and vowed to eliminate all those elements that are carrying out attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But, for some Afghan lawmakers the promise is far from accomplishment.

Pakistan which is counted as a major nest and supporter of the Taliban, according to the international community and Afghans, has denied supporting the Taliban and other terror groups including the Haqqani Network.

Leaders of the Haqqani Network are wanted in most of the dreadful terror attacks that killed and injured thousands of Afghans and scores of foreign troops in the country.

Commenting on the Pak army officials’ statements regarding elimination of terrorist and extremist groups, Khalil Ahmad Shahedzada, an MP from Herat, said that the recent expression of Islamabad is a ray of hope, but time will prove if Pakistan really wants to defeat the terrorism or prefer to continue using violence as tool to achieve its strategic goals.

“Although, influential countries such as China told Pakistan to bring changes in its policy regarding terrorism, but the time that has to come will tell whether Islamabad is sincere or not,” he said.

It is while John Kerry in a meeting with military officials of Pakistan pushed them to stop supporting insurgency on both sides of the Durand Line. However, Afghans are of the view that Pakistan is still trying its best to use terrorists as an instrument to pressurize and upset Kabul and international community.

The Afghan legislator said that the insurgent groups are in total control of Pakistan, and the international actors know that such games and dual policy could prove catastrophic for the region.

“We think that Islamabad wants to end insurgency as it is also one of the victims of insurgency. Pakistanis and their political leaders are not interested in looking at dead bodies of their countrymen,” added Shahedzada.

He went on saying that defeating insurgency is also in the interest of Islamabad because Pakistani citizens and politicians are fed up of violence.

When asked about Kabul’s plans if Islamabad dispel all insurgents and push them toward Afghanistan, he replied that Afghan authorities should be enough smart to quell terror and prevent the country from becoming safe haven for militants again.

Shirwal Wardak, another member of the Wolesi Jirga (WJ), said that Pakistan has never been sincere and true to its words, but Islamabad knows it well that the fire it set must put out because the international community could not be made fool for long time.

“Pressure is mounting on Islamabad because powerful regional countries have asked Pakistan to stop supporting militant groups that were trained to destroy them. These groups are not only posing great security threat to China and Central Asian Republics but also to Pakistan,” he opined.

Abdul Raheem Ayubi, a member of the Internal Security Committee (ISC) of the WJ, said that Pakistan did whatever Kabul wanted, but the result depends on measures taken by the powerful countries such as the United States.

When asked whether Pakistan would stop supporting insurgency in Afghanistan if Kabul recognized the controversial Durand Line as internationally recognized border, he said that fate of the Durand Line could only be decided by people living on both sides of the line because the governments do not have such mandate.

Another member of the ISC, Iqbal Safi, said that recent statements of Pak army officials would not change anything because the insurgents are still thriving and getting support from the other side of the Durand Line.

“These are the symbolic gestures. Afghans will never trust Pakistan. Islamabad wants to cheat the Americans and Kabul. It is an open secret that ISI [spy agency] will never abandon the Taliban after investing on them so heavily,” he said.

Jawed Kohestani, a military and security affairs analyst, said that Islamabad has stopped supporting the Haqqani Network as the result of a secret deal between the United States, Afghanistan and Pakistan after hand over of the senior Pakistani militant leader Latifullah Mehsood.

“Members of the Haqqani Network are scattered and moved toward Afghanistan. They live on both sides of the border. Islamabad has banned activities of the network in Pakistan,” he opined.

He said that scores of Haqqanis returned to Afghanistan and are going to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). He said that it is duty of the Afghan security forces to defeat them inside Afghanistan and defend the national integrity.

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