Pak-Afghan relations


Need more work


As Taliban continue to launch deadly attacks in Afghanistan, mistrust continues to mark relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan. and Track II talks between the two neighbouring countries have proceeded at a snail’s pace. The Afghan attitude continues to be marked by doubts and suspicions. A minor change is however visible in the Afghan attitude. After President Ghani’s recent visit on the occasion of the Heart of Asia Conference, there is a tentative recognition in Kabul that Pakistan is willing to work for peace in Afghanistan. This is apparent from an interview Afghan Chief Executive and Security Advisor gave to a national daily of Pakistan. While both government leaders spoke diplomatically, the acting Afghan Defence Minister and Interior Minster minced no words blaming Pakistan for supporting the Taliban’s Helmand offensive. One of them even held Pakistan responsible for launching the Daesh.

Meanwhile, the Taliban continue to launch deadly attacks. Six NATO service members were killed on Monday in a motorcycle bomb attack in Bagram. The Taliban offensive continues in Helmand where they are reported to be in possession of a number of districts in the province. A Taliban operation to capture Sangin district bordering Pakistan is continuing for the past many days. Victory in the opium producing province would ensure that the Taliban are not short of funds. What is more, this could embolden the Taliban to either hold talks on their own terms or boycott them. Meanwhile, Afghan forces which were in needed of air support have reportedly been donated three MiG 25 aircrafts by India.

There is need to hasten the process of the Pak-Afghan dialogue. Pakistan wants Afghanistan to take action against Mullah Fazlullah and other terrorists from Pakistan who have set up sanctuaries on the other side of the Durand Line. Afghanistan needs Pakistan to pressurise Taliban to enter into talks with Kabul and to remove them from Pakistan’s soil. All eyes are set on the forthcoming visit of COAS Raheel Sharif to Kabul. Success of the visit will be determined by the enhancement of the level of understanding achieved during the talks.