Pak-Afghan Friction


Reports of a Pakistani military raid into the Afghan border province of Khost, which allegedly cost 30 civilian lives, “including women and children” on the other side, are cause for very serious concern. Sections of the international media have quoted Afghan officials issuing a very serious warning to Pakistan and implying that the Pakistani ambassador in Kabul was also summoned by the Afghan foreign ministry. These are unconfirmed reports so far but the going theory, at least outside Pakistan, is that the recent surge in TTP attacks might have prompted the military to sort the militants out in their sanctuaries.
Things will become clear when Islamabad issues a statement. But these reports once again raise the question of what the Taliban have done so far to contain TTP elements on the Afghan side. After all, they promised to take care of them once and for all when Pakistan facilitated the end of their country’s occupation. But that turned out to be just one more promise that the Taliban leadership did not keep. It also went back on its word about showing greater respect for human rights, especially minority and women’s rights, than their previous time in power. Yet in the near three quarters that they have been in power, they have shown no urgency to put their muscle where their mouth is, so to speak, even at the risk of keeping aid money indefinitely suspended.
There’s no denying that TTP attacks have risen lately. There is also evidence that TTP might have formed alliances with some separatist outfits in Balochistan. And there’s no doubt that the state needs to crush this uprising with full force. That poses a problem since the TTP is holed out in Afghanistan and the Taliban leadership is not going after them. What options is Pakistan then left with? Ultimately, this issue will come down to the Taliban cooperating with Islamabad. The sooner they come round to this realisation, the better it will be for the diplomatic and security atmosphere around the Durand Line.