Is Afghanistan Part of Problem Encouraging Terrorist Groups to Destabilize Region?

Thu May 16 2024
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Haq Nawaz Khan

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Afghanistan under the incumbent interim regime of Taliban is once again turning into an epic of terrorism that is posing a threat to regional as well as international peace and security. The global jehadist organizations with regional terrorist outfits are allegedly regrouping and reorganizing in the war-ravaged Afghanistan.
The UN and other watchdog agencies have been issued warning of the possible nexus among the militant groups with the alleged support from the Afghan Taliban. A recent report issued by the UN Security Council revealed that there is a link between the Pakistani Taliban or banned TTP, al – Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban. The revelation is not new as all these groups had jointly fought against the US-led Nato troops in Afghanistan for over two decades.
However, the Afghan Taliban or what it calls itself the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has been repeatedly denying the reports that the Afghan soil is being used against any foreign country. However, the ground realities reflect the picture totally opposite to the Afghan’s denial. The question is there, which needs to be answered with substantial evidence, to prove the world as untrue. No one is buying the arguments by issuing mere statements of denial.
Pakistan has been asking the Afghan Taliban to take action against Pakistani militant organizations like the Tehrik-e- Taliban Pakistan and some other groups, who have been carrying out attacks inside Pakistan. Pakistan is calling upon the international community to press Kabul to stop cross-border militant attacks in Pakistan.
The continuous attacks from across the border have resulted in soaring bilateral relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan. There is let up in the incidents of terrorism, rather there is a rise in the attacks.
The interim Afghan government of the Taliban has been fighting the DAESH Khorasan or IS-KP as it has been seen as a serious threat to the Taliban’s influence. IS-KP is also being involved in terrorist attacks in Pakistan. Despite addressing Pakistan and the world’s concerns, the Kabul administration is turning a deaf ear to these reports. This approach is serving none, but could destabilize the whole region and Afghanistan could not be safe from these flames.
In a recent presser, the Pakistan army’s public relations wing -ISPR Director General Ahmad Sharif Chaudhary reminded that Pakistan has provided undeniable evidence to the Taliban that their land is being used against Pakistan. However, no action has been taken yet. Whenever the Taliban officials talk about the Pakistani militants, they describe them as ‘Pakistani refugees’ fled to Afghanistan in 2014 or before when Pakistan had launched a military operation in the North Waziristan district close to the Afghan border.
Instead of realizing the sensitivity of the situation, the Afghan Taliban launched counter-propaganda as the Daesh Khorasan members were being sent from Pakistan. The allegations were denied with an argument that Pakistan is also facing the threat from Daesh or IS-KP.
Pakistan has also found modern weapons, leftover by the Nato troops in Afghanistan, which were used in high-profile terrorist attacks in Pakistan. The weapons like thermal, laser guns, A4, M4, short guns and night goggles were reportedly recovered from the terrorists killed in the attacks.
Pakistani intelligence and security agencies have also claimed the involvement of Afghan nationals in several high-profile attacks on the Pakistani security forces in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. The Pakistani Taliban or TTP leadership has issued a letter to its regional commanders in the southern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to avoid keeping Afghan militants in its ranks. If the Afghan Taliban takes any action against such groups, we will not intervene. The letter, verified by the TTP sources, confirms the presence of Pakistani Taliban in Afghanistan.
Baloch banned terrorist outfits like Baloch Liberation Army or BLA, Baloch Liberation Front or BLF, Baloch Student Organization or BSO, and the suicide group Majeed Brigade have also been seen as getting support from across the border. These groups are reportedly in a loose alliance with the Pakistani Taliban based in Afghanistan. In some of the attacks, they have jointly taken part in Balochistan.
Reports say the Baloch militants have also been using Afghan soil and are taking refuge in southern Afghanistan’s Kandahar, which is the political headquarters of the Afghan Taliban. The presence of Pakistani militants and global terrorist outfits from the south to the north along the Pak-Afghan border is a threat to the security of Pakistan in particular but the region in general.
Pakistan did provide negotiations with the Pakistani Taliban to have lasting peace. The Afghan Taliban hosted the talks but the conditions put forward by TTP were far from reality. In a recent attempt, efforts were made to restart peace talks, but Pakistani authorities made it clear that they either surrender to the state or ready for action.
If the Afghan Taliban could not stop Pakistani militants from cross-border attacks, then Pakistan could hit their hideouts inside Afghanistan. Though this is the last option and not a positive approach, but Pakistani government is of the view to protect its borders. For the country’s security, any step could be taken.

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No country in the world has so far recognised the interim government of the Afghan Taliban as it has not kept its promises while signing the Doha peace accord. One of the promises, the Taliban leadership pledged in the 2020 peace deal, was not to allow any group to use the Afghan land against the USA, its allies or other countries. However, the Taliban government did not convince the international community besides other issues.
The Afghan Taliban should keep the pledges, it made and cooperate with the world to move ahead. Any misadventure could plunge Afghanistan as well into a security crisis. Afghans are the first victims as they suffered from the wars and conflicts. Many have either left the country or are living in extremely poor conditions.
The international community should use its influence and engage the Kabul government to have better peace in the region. Dialogue should be initiated before Afghanistan becomes a threat.

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