ISSN 2330-717X

Peaceful Afghanistan In Interest Of Pakistan And Region – OpEd

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The latest analysis conducted by Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) warned that high acute food security persists across Afghanistan as a combination of collapsing economy and draught is depriving nearly 20 million Afghans from food. The analysis was conducted in February by IPC partners which includes the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, World Food Programme and UN backed NGO’s highlighting gravity of situation. The report places about 6.6 million out of a population of 40 million in its emergency IPC 4.

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 Afghanistan has been suffering from draught in recent years made worse by climate change with low crop yield raising fears of serious food shortages. Making matters worse, heavy rains flooding’s and storms in twelve provinces rendered 22 people dead with destroying hundreds of homes and crops. Expressing solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, Pakistan has been constantly delivering consignment of relief goods to the people of Afghanistan. Despite generous pledges made by various entities, World’s attention from Afghanistan is shifting, thereby leaving Afghans to bear the brunt of economic meltdown. 

It is not in the interest of West or Pakistan that either any kind of instability prevails in Afghanistan. If people of Afghanistan continue to suffer, then there are going to be drastic circumstances in the future. Pakistan and the US jointly should continue bridges between Afghanistan and West eventually for the return of the money which belongs for Afghanistan as the prevailing issues are targeting more the people of Afghanistan than the regime. There seems deficit of trust between current Afghan government and the West that is one of the reason major countries are not releasing the aid for Afghanistan.

Pakistan has been helping Afghanistan despite of its limitations, Pakistan played its role effectively in diplomatically highlighting the Afghan issue. Being a neighbouring country, Pakistan is well aware of the fact that a peaceful Afghanistan will automatically bring equally positive implications on Pakistan and on the region ultimately. There is a limit what Pakistan can do to mitigate this crisis as Pakistan is already hosting 2.5 million Afghan refugees from decades. 

Afghanistan remained a co challenge for international powers and regional stakeholders since the US withdrawal leaving the war-torn state at the mercy of Taliban rule and a dire humanitarian crisis. Despite efforts from the regional stakes holders including Pakistan to create a humanitarian cushion for Afghanistan, the crisis is still looming in the country. One of the most important factors due to which Afghan people are suffering on almost all the traditional and non-traditional domains is the infamous decisions taken by Taliban regime in terms of human rights as well as their failure in tacking the terrorist entities havening in the country. Unfortunately Pakistan which always remained on forefront in facilitating Afghanistan is becoming a prominent target of terrorist attacks originating from Afghanistan’s soil. 

 Taliban regime must tackle such terrorist activities and acknowledge that relations with Pakistan which is an immediate concern neighbour must not be wasted because US recently declared Pakistan as an important stake holder with whom US will engage to make Afghanistan stable, secure and prosperous in future.  Pakistan has also demanded the Taliban take strict actions against anti-Pakistan elements in Afghanistan.

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Change of regime in Pakistan does not mean there’s going to be an element of discontinuity in Pakistan approach towards Afghanistan. Issue of cross border terrorism in vital for Pakistan not only because of domestic consequence but because of the fact that there is a long history of the TTP entities which are very active in bordering areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan. 

Indian factor cannot be ignored due to which anti Pakistan propaganda in prevailing in Afghanistan, Pakistan also needs to look into the third factor which is India while engaging with Taliban.  Indian would also like to take advantage of the so called tensions between Taliban regime and Islamabad on account of these cross border terrorism, it would be in their strategic interest to fan these tensions so that they can gain some foot hold inside Afghanistan. 

There is a need of continuous efforts to engage Taliban in mitigating the prevailing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan as peace in Afghanistan could bring opportunities of growth and development to the entire region. At the same time, Taliban should reconsider their approach about human rights, girl’s rights to get meaningful engagement with the West as engagement is going to be in their favour at the end. 

*Jawad Ahmed is an Islamabad based researcher with having interest in Politics, Bilateralism and Strategic Studies. 

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