More dia­logue and ac­tion

Enterprise - - Letters -

There are ob­vi­ous signs of im­prove­ment in Pak­istan- Afghanistan re­la­tions as well as re­la­tions be­tween the US and th­ese two coun­tries. Among the fac­tors re­spon­si­ble for the pos­i­tive devel­op­ment is the re­cently elected lead­er­ship in Kabul and the army lead­er­ship in Pak­istan. Ex­ter­nal fac­tors that have con­trib­uted to the change in­clude bru­tal at­tacks by the ter­ror­ists in Afghanistan and Pak­istan, and the re­al­i­sa­tion of the grav­ity of the threat posed by the ISIS not only by Islamabad and Kabul but also by China and some of the Gulf coun­tries which had been fi­nanc­ing the ex­trem­ist or­gan­i­sa­tions. It is un­der­stood by Islamabad and Kabul that nei­ther of them would be safe un­less they join hands to erad­i­cate ter­ror­ist net­works op­er­at­ing from both sides of their bor­der. Pak­istan is also help­ing Kabul to hold dia­logue with the Afghan Tal­iban. The ef­forts by the two sides would how­ever be judged from the re­sults they pro­duce.

Crit­i­cism from the Repub­li­cans that Obama is beat­ing a hasty and risky retreat has led Wash­ing­ton to re­view its cur­rent plan to halve the 10,000 Amer­i­can sol­diers by De­cem­ber 2015 and cut that num­ber to near zero by De­cem­ber 2016. Pres­i­dent Ashraf Ghani has also sug­gested changes in the timeline for the draw­down. China has shown readi­ness to sup­port Kabul-Tal­iban rec­on­cil­i­a­tion while rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Afghan Tal­iban have vis­ited Bei­jing. The lead­er­ship of the net­work is how­ever keep­ing its cards close to its chest. Mean­while, it con­tin­ues to re­it­er­ate the max­i­mal­ist po­si­tion of no par­leys till the for­eign troops leave the coun­try. Pak­istan needs to con­cen­trate on ter­ror­ists on its own ter­ri­tory while im­prov­ing re­la­tions with Kabul. Sid­diq Ahmed Larkana

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