Great game in the re­gion

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIAL & COMMENTS - Sul­tan M Hali

and re­solve of en­tire na­tion as well as through the un­prece­dented ac­com­plish­ments of In­tel­li­gence agen­cies of Pak­istan. Nowhere else in the world, have such prom­i­nent achieve­ments been scored in root­ing out ter­ror­ism.

The QCG process, based on the dom­i­nant sup­port role of Pak­istan, was formed to pur­sue peace in Afghanistan through di­a­logue. Pak­istan suc­cess­fully hosted the first round of the process in Mur­ree. How­ever, the de­trac­tors of Pak­istan could not di­gest the cen­tral role of Pak­istan and moved ex­pe­di­tiously to dam­age the future prospects through the an­nounce­ment of death of Mul­lah Omar in July 2015. This not only put an im­ped­i­ment in the path to ne­go­ti­a­tions for peace but pitched the Tal­iban in a power strug­gle. Through Pak­istan’s con­certed ef­forts, the Tal­iban de­cided to rally around Mul­lah Akhtar Mansur. Just when the Tal­iban were poised to en­ter into ne­go­ti­a­tions, Mul­lah Akhtar Mansur was elim­i­nated through a drone strike on May 22, 2016. His killing has fur­ther dam­aged the prospects of peace. A suc­ces­sor to Mul­lah Akhtar Mansur has been named, but he is a com­pro­mise can­di­date lacks the ca­pac­ity to herd the Tal­iban chief­tains to the ne­go­ti­a­tions ta­ble in the near future.

Pro­tag­o­nists with vested in­ter­ests have of­ten tried to cre­ate a per­cep­tion that Pak­istan ac­tu­ally con­trols the Tal­iban. As if they are pup­pets on a string, which Pak­istan moves? Such an im­pres­sion breeds un­re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tions from Pak­istan. All con­cerned par­ties need to un­der­stand the ground re­al­i­ties and pur­sue only the agreed upon peaceful op­tions lead­ing to so­lu­tion of the prob­lem rather than find­ing new av­enues.

Afghan se­cu­rity ap­pa­ra­tus is in­fested with wide­spread cor­rup­tion, Email: sm_hali@ya­hoo.com lack of co­or­di­na­tion, ethnic frag­men­ta­tion, ghost em­ploy­ees and in­creas­ing de­ser­tion. Most im­por­tantly, the Afghan Na­tional Se­cu­rity Forces (ANSF) seems to lack the key el­e­ments of will and re­solve to match the Tal­iban. Suc­cesses of Tal­iban in Faryab, Kun­duz and Hel­mand prov­inces and mount­ing causal­i­ties of ANSF in­di­cate the level of re­sis­tance of­fered and the state of their morale. The sit­u­a­tion has led to mass de­ser­tions to join the Tal­iban along with their Gov­ern­ment Is­sue weapons and some­times killing their own broth­ers in the ANSF.

All over the world, the in­tel­li­gence agen­cies work for mak­ing their coun­try se­cure, how­ever, the case of the Afghan In­tel­li­gence Agency, the Afghan Na­tional Di­rec­torate of Se­cu­rity (NDS) is bizarre. This for­eign funded, In­dian Re­search and Anal­y­sis Wing (R&AW) backed and dom­i­nated agency is fo­cused on in­flict­ing harm to Pak­istan in­stead of se­cur­ing their own coun­try. In­di­ans have en­hanced their in­flu­ence on the Afghan gov­ern­ment and turned them against Pak­istan through neg­a­tive pro­pa­ganda.

With the re­cent cap­ture of six NDS sup­ported ter­ror­ists in Balochis­tan, the num­ber of NDS sup­ported ter­ror­ists ar­rested and killed by Pak­istani In­tel­li­gence agen­cies has crossed over 126. The agents were ar­rested from Pe­shawar, Swat, Gil­git Baltistan, South Waziris­tan, At­tock, Turnol, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Chaman, Quetta and other bor­der­ing ar­eas of the Du­rand Line.

NDS is also sup­port­ing the Tehreek-e-Tal­iban Pak­istan (TTP) lead­er­ship, hid­ing in Nuris­tan and Ku­nar prov­inces of Afghanistan. Re­port­edly Mul­lah Fa­zlul­lah led TTP is be­ing pre­pared to carry out a fresh wave of terror ac­tiv­i­ties in­side Pak­istan. The Oc­ci­dent blames Pak­istan for har­bour­ing the Haqqani Group, while re­main­ing obliv­i­ous of the TTP lead­ers, who have found a safe haven in Afghanistan and strike tar­gets of op­por­tu­nity in­side Pak­istan with im­punity.

Pak­istan’s de­fend­ers are ex­tremely alert to foil any at­tempt to desta­bi­lize Pak­istan; how­ever Pak­istan faces the prob­lem of the pres­ence of over three mil­lion Afghan refugees in Pak­istan, mostly il­le­gal. It has been re­ported by the law en­forc­ing agen­cies that be­sides be­ing en­gaged in ac­tiv­i­ties of moral turpi­tude and drug ped­dling, the Afghan refugees have been found to be abetting and har­bour­ing ter­ror­ist acts in Pak­istan. Such acts make them un­de­sir­able and de­spite warn­ings, they con­tinue to pro­vide safe haven to the mis­cre­ants. It is high time they went back home de­spite the re­as­sur­ances of the lo­qua­cious Afghan Am­bas­sador to Islamabad.

The long and por­ous bor­der be­tween Pak­istan and Afghanistan is fre­quently used by hu­man and drug traf­fick­ers, crim­i­nals and mis­cre­ants or ter­ror­ists. The easy ac­cess through un­guarded por­ous bor­der pro­vides op­por­tu­nity to mis­cre­ants to wreak havoc in­side Pak­istan and pos­si­bly in Afghanistan as well. The pleas by Pak­istan to seal the bor­ders have fallen on deaf Afghan ears. For ef­fec­tive counter ter­ror­ism mea­sures strong bor­der con­trol man­age­ment is vi­tal at Pak-Afghan bor­der. Pak­istan’s de­sire to fence the bor­der is re­flec­tive of Pak­istan’s will­ing­ness to stand by the com­mit­ment for peace and not to al­low its ter­ri­tory to be used for ter­ror­ism in Afghanistan. Yet it is Pak­istan, which is be­ing bad mouthed and con­tin­ues to suf­fer while its Afghan de­trac­tors join the crescendo in crit­i­ciz­ing Pak­istan. —The writer is re­tired PAF Group Cap­tain and a TV talk show host.

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