When countries face a common enemy, what they need badly is mutual confidence.
As Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US fight a highly resourceful and motivated enemy in the form of Al-Qaeda, Afghan Taliban and TTP, they entertain doubts and suspicions about one another. As a result all the three have suffered losses that could have been avoided through a better understanding.
The US and Afghanistan have over the years accused Islamabad of allowing safe havens to terrorists in North Waziristan. They are now particularly unhappy with the presence of the Haqqani network in the tribal agency. A number of audacious attacks in Kabul and areas adjoining Pakistan-Afghan border have been ascribed to the Haqqani network. Afghan and US officials have accused Pakistan’s prime intelligence agency of using Haqqani militants as proxies in Afghanistan to counter the influence of rival India.
Islamabad has contradicted the claim maintaining that Haqqanis are in fact based in Afghanistan and launch attacks from inside the country rather than from North Waziristan. This year the militants broke all previous records of attacks on foreign embassies and military personnel in Kabul. In one incident alone, a total of 51 people died, including 36 militants, and some 74 were wounded in Kabul and three neighbouring provinces. In September, the US put the Haqqani network on terror list.
Subsequently, the UN also imposed sanctions on the network. On Monday, Afghanistan made it known there was no way Kabul could negotiate for peace with a group which it held responsible for large scale killing of civilians and Afghan soldiers.Pakistan now complains that the TTP is using havens in Afghanistan to launch attacks inside Pakistan. In August, the militants made a surprise entry from across the border inside Bajaur and Lower Dir.
Another group under Mullah Fazlullah launched attacks inside Chitral and Upper Dir. Fazlullah has also claimed responsibility for attack on Malala Yousafzai. The Afghan government had denied that it was allowing the militants to operate from its territory. A report in Washington Post, however, quotes US officials who concede that the US army knows about the whereabouts of Fazlullah. But as the terrorist leader is neither associated with Al-Qaeda nor is attacking US or Afghan troops, no action has been taken against him.
Further that Afghan army is allowing the Pakistani Taliban to operate in retribution for Pakistan’s failure to stop armed infiltrators launching attacks from tribal areas. The tit for tat policy is harmful for both Afghanistan and Pakistan. It allows the militants to regroup and launch attacks using the soil of both the countries with impunity.