Resurging Terrorism In South Asia – OpEd
Post 9/11 era brought dramatic shifts in policy making of the sates not just at the local level, but the event is being accused of changing the whole course of international politics. State security in traditional terms and countering terrorism that had been neglected before, was securitized again. In all these securitizations and awareness campaigns, the US played a significant role along with Pakistan due to latter’s strategic position at the helm of terrorist outfits operating from Afghanistan.
Since then, Pakistan is mired in countering terrorism in not just its frontier region but has been arduously struggling to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan also. Observers had anticipated that the withdrawal of US would push Afghanistan in a long-awaited civil war and Taliban could come to power. Pakistan, recognizing the threat tried hard to somehow mitigate the impacts. It immediately organized the OIC sessions and international conferences to call the world community to not leave Afghanistan into despair.
In the Doha Peace Deal, it was agreed that Afghan soil would not be allowed to be used by terrorist outfits against any other country. But the recent situation in Afghanistan brings a lot of security challenges for not just Pakistan but for all especially the regional countries who have high stakes in economic development. Pakistan along with the US had struggled very hard in culminating the frequency of terrorist attacks by initiating counter-terrorism operations. But in the post-US withdrawal, when the country itself is mired in dire economic troubles, it is a shared responsibility of all the stakeholders to fight terrorism emanating from Afghanistan.
No country was hoping that the Taliban would allow the emergence of terrorist outfits again as the group wants international recognition. But a recent US report warned that terrorist groups were once again regrouping along Pakistan-Afghanistan region. Attacks on security forces in Pakistan has proved that Tehreek Taliban Pakistan is working with impunity under the aegis of Afghan Taliban. But whether it is only Pakistan who had to take all the initiatives all the time? Many states have remained the centre of terrorism and extremism emerging from Afghanistan.
China has its deep economic interests as the BRI passes through the South Asian and Central Asian region. China also believes that ETIM extremist seek support from Afghanistan. India has its huge investment in Afghanistan that halted as the Taliban came into power. Iran still counters hostile groups on its border with Afghanistan. Russia has variously accused Afghan Taliban training Chechnyan rebels. Than why it always Pakistan to take the initiative. Without the shadow of any doubt, the very first country to listen the beats of drums is Pakistan. But as the Iron Law of Necessity says that state define what is important for all and they accomplish it by all means. Terrorism is a common threat for regional peace and hence a shared responsibility of all regional countries.
Presence of terrorist groups in Afghanistan is a reality; if IAG will not act against terrorists, Afghanistan will become a festering hub for terrorism. After Afghanistan, Pakistan has faced the major brunt of 20-year war in Afghanistan in terms of lives, property and economy. Pakistan has not only been voicing the issue of terrorists’ resurgence in Afghanistan with IAG but also making diplomatic efforts, including high-level delegations to Kabul and a number of consultative meetings with other countries, to tackle the threat.
IAG must collaborate with Pakistan and other bordering states to form a joint counter strategy to weaken TTP and ISKP-like groups’ presence in the region. TTP, an ideological offshoot and close ally of the Afghan Taliban, is plotting terrorism from sanctuaries in Afghanistan. Although the Taliban deny their relations with TTP but reports and videos on social media have shown their safe heavens in Afghanistan as the group’s shares ideological affiliations with each other. Being at helm of administrative affairs, it is IAG’s responsibility to fulfill its promise of not allowing anyone to use Afghan soil against any other state.
Besides the regional stakeholders, major powers like China, Russia and most importantly the US should also come forward to join hands with each other as terrorism is a common challenge that needs coalesced attention. If these countries would not take a joint action against these terrorist outfits, no wonder, the world would again see itself indulged in terrorist attacks. Before, it is being too late, the evil’s head must be chopped off.