Qammer Abbass Anka
Pakistan, situated in strategic location of South Asia has always been victim of some international conspiracies on one account or the other. The conspirators at one hand can not assimilate Pakistan’s achievements for fostering internal stability and on the other pollute the international perception against her by portraying her in bad light through baseless allegations and unfounded accusations. One such area of tarnishing Pakistan is Afghanistan. Afghanistan, a war ridden country has mostly been unstable due to internal rifts of war lords or external interventions. The long years of war and political instability have devoid Afghanistan of ability to discriminate between friends and foes. It all is not the fault of Afghanistan only, the conspirators and insinuators both from within as well as the outside are too strong to be countered by the political sanity prevailing in the country.
Pakistan is mindful of the fact that a stable Afghanistan means a stable Pakistan. Pakistan has and will continue making concerted efforts in abetting Afghanistan to restore an atmosphere of stability and peace while anchoring on the mooring of strong diplomacy and national growth. After a long time, a cosmos of wise and sincere national leadership has emerged in Afghanistan with Mr Ashraf Ghani coming to power. His pledge to restore stability in the country is commendable. Present Afghan Government has a strong resolve to ensure peace and harmony in the region.
The uphill task of restoring stability and peace in Afghanistan can not be entrusted to any single country, especially Pakistan which herself is the adverse victim of terrorism. A safe, peaceful and stable Afghanistan is rather the joint responsibility of international community, especially, the super powers and mostly Afghanistan itself. Despite all efforts, sincerity and resolve to help restore peace in Afghanistan, Afghan Government and US often ask Pakistan to do more. This is regrettable as well as ridiculous. If a long ISAF and NATO led operation in Afghanistan employing massive resources could not restore peace in Afghanistan, how a small country like Pakistan, thickly engrossed in eradicating menace of terrorism from its soil can be expected to safeguard streets of its neighbour. This blame game engineered by international spoilers to tarnish image of Pakistan is highly condemnable.
Pakistan is presently on the culmination phase of Operation Zarb-e-Azb. This indiscriminate operation is against all type of terrorists without any room for good or bad Taliban. The said operation has successfully achieved most of its objectives. Its achievements in eradicating terrorism are frequently applauded by international community including Afghanistan. The success of Operation Zarb-Azb is indebted to hundreds of life sacrifices by our valiant Armed Forces and the LEAs. The operation is in direct support to Afghan efforts in ensuring a peaceful and terror free Afghanistan. The operation was launched after taking Afghan Government into confidence. Pakistan also predicted fleeing of miscreants as a result of said operation in Afghanistan for which Afghan Government was asked to take requisite measures to seal off the border or at least make the influx difficult. Unfortunately, Afghan Government did not institute any effective measures and instead some factions of Afghanistan gave shelter to these migrants. This not only proved to be an impediment to Operation Zarb-e-Azb but also provided a safe haven to fleeing terrorists for supporting their activities in Pakistan. Tragic incidents of Army Public School, Charsada University and many more are result of the same. The success of operation Zarb-e-Azb does not suit to those who want Afghanistan and Pakistan to remain in shambles and unstable.
Afghanistan has been a land of war lords who never submitted to any rule and always preferred to remain involved in fighting. Their fighting passion ranged from mutual tribal skirmishes to massive rebel operations against Afghan Government and her allies including Pakistan. These terrorist groups organized themselves under Al-Qaeeda and TTA. Gradually, exploiting the fertile environment for fostering terrorist outfits, Daesh also started strengthening its roots in Afghanistan. Though this international maniac and deadly terrorist group could not blend herself with TTA due to multiple reasons, yet it managed to recruit those who splintered from TTA or Al-Qaeeda.
For a long time, Afghan Government had been denying presence of Daesh and is still not ready to fully accept this ground reality. Almost all International experts on terrorism have been warning Afghanistan about growing monster of Daesh and asking the country to take remedial steps. Reasons for failure to act seem plausible, it takes courage, resources and resolve in addition to face annoyance and displeasure of game spoilers sitting in Afghanistan to wage proxy wars. Since the beginning of last year, increasing reports about fighters operating inside Afghanistan under the black banner of Daesh started emerging. First, there were rumors alleging that foreign fighters, supposedly linked to Daesh, appeared in Afghanistan, specifically in the Western province of Farah, bordering Iran, and the Southern provinces of Helmand and Zabul, bordering Pakistan. Those rumors were followed by sightings of black-dressed warriors. Initially, Afghan officials were reluctant to state that those fighters were affiliated with Daesh and referred to them simply as terrorists. Later, they started stating that the black-clad fighters were mere splinter groups of Taliban who have just changed their names and do not pose danger of joining and strengthening Islamic State in Afghanistan.
Sooner, Afghan media started reports on expansion of Daesh in Afghanistan. It did not take long until the first pictures were published and broadcast alongside the scarce actual news. Arguably the most iconic was a short film of black-hooded men riding on horses through a forest under the fluttering black banner of the caliphate that was played repeatedly in the Afghan news. Later, Afghan officials also started publicly acknowledging presence of Daesh in the country.
It is interesting to note that Taliban and Daesh are two different entities and there is remote likely hood of Taliban fleeing from Operation Zarb-Azb joining Daesh in Afghanistan as is perceived or at least narrated by Afghan Officials. Similarly, switching allegiance from TTA/TTP to Daesh also seems less probable. Despite presence of strong fractures within TTA, their loyalty to the ideology of Mullah Omar, their original leader remains unquestioned. On the contrary, they regard the proclaimed Caliph of Daesh, with suspicion and do not submit to him.
Both Afghanistan as well as the international community instead of blaming and asking Pakistan to do more should identify and unearth the actual destabilizes of peace in Afghanistan. The grand design to derail peace process in Afghanistan must be thwarted by all stake holders jointly and indiscriminately. Blaming Pakistan or asking her to ‘Do more’ will be a sheer injustice to Pakistan whose sacrifices are countless. Afghanistan should also distinguish between her friends and the foes; else flames of terrorism will continue burning both Pakistan as well as Afghanistan. Afghan Government should not shy away from accepting their failures in combating Daesh and refrain from blaming Pakistan especially on the behest of great game spoilers.