Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

Regional and International Cooperation Needed to Defeat Terrorism

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Regional and International Cooperation Needed to Defeat Terrorism

Terror and instability have impeded development and rehabilitation in Afghanistan. Within the past years, international aid was poured into Afghanistan with the aim of curbing instability. If this aid was spent for the economic and infrastructural development, the standard of life would promote remarkably.
Apart from domestic issues, the support to terrorist groups by mysterious hand was one of the issues which engaged the country for year.
Pakistan was expected to set up a policy of good neighborly relations with the National Unity Government (NUG) but this did not happen. With the establishment of NUG, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani offered to have a good neighborly relations with Pakistan, but Pakistan did not welcome this opportunity; subsequently, a sense of mistrust surfaced. Following the declaration of US policy regarding Afghanistan and South Asia, Pakistan came under great pressure.
Pakistan is likely to take step in building trust between Kabul and Islamabad. This is a highly positive step and reducing tension between the two states will be the best possible option. But the fact is that trust is not an issue that will emerge whenever one wants. Trust will be earned in the process of time and what is gained in short time will be a tactic. Trusting tactic will not be a strategic task.
With such political tactics, Islamabad missed many opportunities. Kabul administration should be aware of the regional policies by now and use its experiences in foreign policy. It should be able to prognosticate policies. The past shows that Pakistan did not work with bona fide intention. It is believed that it is hard for Pakistan to bring a fundamental changes in its policy for being under the influence of intelligence structure. The policy of intelligence is to figure out weak points and combat against them, whereas the foreign policy of other countries are based on strong and common points and they seek to set up their relations on the basis of common interests.
The tension between Kabul and Islamabad hit rock bottom within the past years and Afghan-Pak officials exchanged harsh words with each other over the issue of terrorism. This dismantled the peace process and regional instability.
Recently, the US also asked Pakistan to do more in fight against terrorism. Although the US President Donald Trump believed, during Obama’s administration, that the presence of US troops in Afghanistan was the waste of financial resources and asked for withdrawal of American troops. Ultimately, he was convinced to take strict measure against terrorists.
The attitude of US towards Pakistan was unexpected by Islamabad. The US new strategy was announced from a base near Arlington military cemetery where 2400 American soldiers were buried. The soldiers were killed in war on terror in Afghanistan. This location for sending message was particularly meaningful for Kabul and Islamabad. Trump said laconically that America could no more remain silent about the terrorists’ safe haven in Pakistan.
He said, “Pakistan has also sheltered the same organizations that try every single day to kill our people.  We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting.  But that will have to change, and that will change immediately.  No partnership can survive a country’s harboring of militants and terrorists who target U.S. service members and officials.  It is time for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to civilization, order, and to peace.”
With the current situation, Trump seems to be determined in implementing his strategy in the country. The increasing of military forces, reinforcing Afghan air forces, and increasing air strikes by NATO and US troops in Afghanistan indicate America’s firm decision.
However, such strikes are not a new issue. This is the continuation of the past strategy which was reduced during Hamid Karzai’s and Obama’s administrations.
The US has resumed its strategy which will provide an appropriate opportunity for Afghan forces. If this issue continues with the same force, Ashraf Ghani’s words will be right as he said with strong morale while receiving helicopters in Kandahar, that “the Taliban have no other option but to accept peace.”

Anyhow, the reason behind this mistrust will be the unfulfilled promise made by Pakistan towards peace process. Hence, there is not much sense of hope with meetings being held about the issue of peace. Islamabad will have to take honest steps against terrorist networks on its soil. The recent terrorist attacks in Kabul, Ghazni, Paktika, and Ghor, which left hundreds dead and wounded behind, bespeak of the Taliban’s lukewarm response to peace talks. Therefore, Afghanistan must not fall for the false promises of the Taliban and those who support them. Kabul, along with its international allies, will have to combat terrorism with iron fist so as to protect the rights of Afghan people. It is clear that the Taliban will not come to negotiating table, unless they sustain heavy casualties in battlefields.

Syed Asif Husseini is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at the outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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