NDS Chief’s Visit – What Lies Beneath

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It was the last day of the first month of 2018, when Afghanistan’s top delegation including Mr. Masoom Stanekzai, the head of the Afghan Spy Agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), and the Interior Minister Wais Barmak, made a surprise visit to Pakistan in order to discuss the mutual assistance required to combat these terror surges in their territories. This visit by the top officials of the Afghan Security Department has been highly appreciated and equally welcomed by the Pakistani Counterparts.

It seems like a very good gesture from our beloved neighbor but there is always another side of the coin. Before coming to Pakistan, they have hastily organized a press conference in their country to make tall and superficial claims about the links of Pakistan’s Premier Intelligence Agency ISI in supporting and planning recent terror acts in Afghan soil. This indeed spoils the overall confidence and cooperation between the two neighbors. This “blame-game” seems like a favorite game of our neighbor because they have been playing this same game every time they meet any disaster in Afghanistan.

In this burning situation, a question arises that why they have made a surprise and unscheduled visit to Pakistan when at the same time they are blaming Pakistan for recent attacks. This scenario can be better understood from the recent statements and press conferences of the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan when he was visiting Afghanistan a few weeks ago. In one of his core statement, Mr. John Sullivan asked the top Afghan leaders and personnel to get involved in bilateral dialogues with their Pakistani Counterparts. Similarly, during the press briefing at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan, reporters pointed out to Mr. Sullivan that the Pakistani Security Agency is retaliating with Afghanistan for the curtailment of the U.S. military aid to Islamabad. On this biased statement, Mr. Sullivan replied that the U.S.A. would continue her dialogue with Pakistan and the U.S.A also would like to encourage the Government of Afghanistan to continue her bilateral discussions with Pakistan and Pakistani must be part of the solution.

In reality, these past few weeks have seen some of the bloodiest and gloomiest attacks in the recent years of Afghanistan. There are numerous occasions on which the Afghan Security Forces have proved that they are not being able to control and provide substantial resistance to the Taliban and Islamic State groups. This point can be fairly understood from this fact that the last week’s Taliban’s attack on the capital city’s Intercontinental Hotel was not just a mere attack. The said area where this hotel is situated is actually in the heart of capital city Kabul. It is in the red zone of the city and the most heavily guarded area in the whole country. All the crucial foreigners related to Afghanistan’s Peace Keeping Mission and International Diplomats are residing in the same area. Therefore, this attack cements that how vigilant and professional are the Afghan Security Forces are in safeguarding their most guarded area in the country.

In order to further illustrate the performance of the Afghan Security forces, let’s analyze the recent survey report published by British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). According to this report, about seventy percent of the total territories of Afghanistan have been either controlled by Taliban or they have an active physical presence in these territories. Similarly, around 15 million Afghanistan’s population which is half of the total population are actually living in those areas which are either directly controlled by Taliban and or where the Taliban are freely present and attack these areas. This shows the grave situation of the country and its security forces.

On the contrary, Pakistan has always been a very vigilant and responsible member of the international community. It has been front-fighting against terrorism on all fronts both nationally and internationally. This can be proved from this fact that many responsible nations including China, Russia, France, UK, USA, and others have already acknowledged the efforts put forward by Pakistan. Recently in November 2017, Pakistan caught around 27 suspects associated with Haqqani Network and Afghan Taliban. These suspects were handed to Afghanistan’s Security Forces.

Similarly, Pakistan has been investing billions in building fences along the long border shared by both neighbors. This is an effort to control the illegal movements and curtail down the act of terrorism on both sides of the border. Furthermore, Pakistan has been hosting a large number of Afghan citizens in its territory for almost 17 years now and these citizens have been estimated in millions. Pakistan has been bearing the financial cost of this Afghan war imposed by the USA. This financial cost is conservatively calculated in billions and has already incurred damages of its main infrastructures in favor of this war.

It is the high time for our neighbor to keep its house in order. This weird “Carrot and Stick” policy and it is against Pakistan cannot bear any fruit. There are many loopholes in the current strategy of the Afghan Government. On the forefront, even the Afghan government is on weak foundations where there is always power struggle going between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah. Afghan Security Forces are not acting to their due responsibilities. Afghan’s own territory has been used against them and there are numerous military groups and proxies blossoming under the support of many influential people. Therefore, only the Synchronized Strategy, where every stakeholder involved with the high level of cooperation will produce the desired result and Pakistan must not be blamed for any failure of the USA and Afghanistan.

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