‘Do More’ Is No Longer Pakistan’s Sole Responsibility: Afghanistan Must Play Its Role – OpEd


There has been a gradual rise in isolated militant activity in Pakistan since the Afghan Taliban took control of Kabul in 2021. The number of terrorist attacks increased by 27% in 2022 compared to 2021, and have been observed to be deadly in impact on few occasions, as seen during the Peshawar suicide bombing at the Police Lines mosque.

The Pakistan army had swept the county clean of militancy through fighting a long sub-conventional ‘War on Terror’, however recently, Pakistan experienced one of its bloodiest months in January 2023, with at least 44 terrorist incidents around the country resulting in 134 fatalities and 254 injuries. Attacks on Pakistan’s interests have occurred not only inside Pakistan but across the borders also, notably one in December 2022 that targeted Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul.

Terrorist acts are carried out to achieve revenge, gain scrutiny, or draw attention to the grievances, ideologies, or demands of a terrorist group. During such contentions, whether they were between the political elite or terrorist entities, the Pakistan-Afghanistan border remained the primary area at risk. Frequent terrorist assaults over the past two years, particularly in the regions of Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), show that the upsurge of terrorism in Pakistan is a direct outcome of vulnerabilities along its western border due to a lack of command and control mechanisms in Afghanistan. On the other hand, farther from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, in Punjab and Sindh, there was a drop in violent occurrences. 

Despite the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan’s claims that no militant outfit will be permitted to utilize Afghan land against a neighboring state, TTP has managed to find a vacuum in Afghanistan’s unstable state fabric. Along with the TTP, Baloch separatists and certain Daesh members have been allegedly exploiting Afghan territory for insurgency inside Pakistan.

In response to the recent spike in terrorist assaults in Pakistan, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari of Pakistan said, “We would act under international law to defend ourselves. When we are continuously targeted in this manner and there is no acceptable response, we will be obliged to take this step if the Afghan authorities do not intervene. However, this should not be our first option.”

According to Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir, “Terrorism has no place in Pakistan and the involvement of Afghan nationals in terrorist incidents in Pakistan is detrimental to regional peace, stability and deviation from the Doha peace agreement by the interim Afghan government,” he reiterated. He warned that such crimes were horrible and would result in a strong response from Pakistan’s security forces. He added that operations against terrorists would go on as usual and that the armed forces would not stop until the menace of terrorism was completely eradicated from the entire country.

Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported that the US left behind weaponry and equipment, notably firearms, communications equipment, and even armored vehicles, which gave the insurgents a “vast war chest”. The RFE/RL report denied Kabul’s claims that the TTP was not using Afghan soil against Pakistan, as the continued existence of the TTP, Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K), and other terrorist organizations in Afghanistan was an unquestionable fact. According to the report, the TTP and Baloch separatist groups were launching violent activities against the Pakistani government, utilizing US arms and equipment. According to experts, militant groups have acquired lethal US military hardware like M16 machine guns, M4 assault rifles, night-vision goggles, and military communication tools.

While Pakistan’s security forces continue to fight terrorism in all its manifestations, it has been reported that on a number of occasions, India remained involved in sponsoring militancy in Pakistan and the Indian government has admitted this multiple times. On one occasion, while addressing a university student, Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval said that India is using the Taliban to conduct attacks on Pakistan. He further said that the Taliban are a misguided entity and they simply work to get paid, India is using them to attack Pakistan by giving money. Other than this, India is also reportedly sponsoring militant organizations in Balochistan to create instability in Pakistan.

Instead of acknowledging weaknesses in Afghanistan’s ability to tackle the issue, the Interim Afghanistan Government’s spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, responded to the report by saying that Pakistan, not Afghanistan, is responsible for the TTP’s concerns and we won’t permit them (the TTP) to use Afghan soil.

Afghanistan should be reminded that Pakistan took it upon itself to bring peace and stability in its brotherly country and mediated the talks between the Taliban and the United States. Furthermore, Pakistan has stood by Afghanistan through all kinds of hardships the country has faced including provision of rescue and relief during natural calamities. Since 2021, takeover of the Afghan Taliban in Kabul, Pakistan has appealed to the international community to give the new government a fair chance at proving its competence on numerous international forums. In Pakistan, Afghanistan has a valuable ally if it decides to make sincere efforts to uphold its promises to the country as well as the international community.

Yousma Gul

Yousma Gul is a lecturer at International Islamic University, Islamabad

One thought on “‘Do More’ Is No Longer Pakistan’s Sole Responsibility: Afghanistan Must Play Its Role – OpEd

  • August 10, 2023 at 1:34 am

    No matter how you twist the facts, the whole world knows how Pakistan military work with good and bad terrorists, squeezing the masters for US$, orchestrating false flag ops on your own poor citizens. Looks like good and bad terrorists are fed up with you using them as strategic depth against your master’s, neighbors and poor Pakistanis


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