In Chaos Lies Opportunity

Pakistan needs to fathom as to why Afghanistan is unable to create troubles and blackmail the other border-sharing countries like Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China.

By Brigadier (R) Saleem Qamar Butt | January 2023


Afghan Taliban militants and villagers attend a gathering in Alingar District of Laghman Province.

The Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in August 2021, twenty years after their ouster by the U.S. troops. During their war against the US-led coalition forces, Pakistan remained under immense U.S. and international pressure for allegedly abetting the Afghan Taliban. Nonetheless, it was ultimately Pakistan that played the key role in bringing peace back to Afghanistan by facilitating all the stakeholders to sit on the dialogue table. Therefore, the Government and the people of Pakistan had attached high hopes that after the return of the Taliban to power instead of a proxy government, they would prevail upon the terrorist’s organisations operating against Pakistan from Afghanistan’s soil and help Pakistan to completely eliminate the scourge of terrorism.

However, to Islamabad’s dismay, not much has changed and at present Pakistan is experiencing a redux of terrorism despite a twenty-year long and successful war against terrorism. Needless to mention that it came at the cost of almost 80,000 human casualties, and economic losses of about $126.79 billion since 9/11 attacks, accepting and accommodating millions of Afghan refugees, besides, enduring immeasurable socio-psycho damages and miseries suffered by mass immigration from the war-torn region along Pakistan-Afghanistan international borders.

The first week of December 2022 saw a number of important happenings, i.e. when Pakistan Minister of State for Foreign Affairs visited Afghanistan, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement, “The United States is committed to using its full set of counterterrorism tools to counter the threat posed by terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan, including al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), as part of our relentless efforts to ensure that terrorists do not use Afghanistan as a platform for international terrorism.” And soon after that the Embassy of Pakistan in Kabul came under attack on Friday December 2, 2022, targeting Pakistan’s Head of Mission in Kabul. Subsequently, the Pakistan Foreign Office spokesper¬son said, “…TTP is a threat to Pakistan and there is no denying that fact… We have received assurances of sus¬tained counter-terrorism action against the TTP and other terrorist organizations and we hope that the promises that have been made will be respected.”

Since 2001, the Pakistan military has launched a series of military offensives against terrorist groups in the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The offensive brought peace in those areas and the rest of the country. Many terrorists belonging to various terrorist groups were killed. However, some militants managed to flee to Afghanistan. From Afghanistan, those militants continue to launch attacks on Pakistan military posts and even civilians located near the border in connivance with Indian spy agency RAW, Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) and Afghan troops. In 2019, the United States Department of Defense claimed that about 3,000 to 5,000 terrorists belonging to TTP are in Afghanistan. Pakistan officials repeatedly informed the world that India and Afghanistan were supporting terrorism in Pakistan; a fresh dossier shared with diplomats on December 14, 2022.

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