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Afghan-Pak ties: Govt urged to proceed with extreme caution

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AT-KABUL: Afghan analysts urged the National Unity Government (NUG) to remain careful and cautious when dealing with Pakistani authorities because Islamabad openly supports the Afghan peace process but behind the scene facilitates the insurgent groups as part of the new strategic game, devised by the powerful Pakistani military establishment.

In a foreign policy debate organized by Rana Think Tank, the analysts said the incumbent government should review its policy towards Pakistan.

Though, Abdul Shukur Salangi, an analyst, termed recent trips of Pakistani officials to Kabul very important and beneficial for Afghans, but most of his peers were of different opinion.

Salangi said Kabul should resolve its problems with Islamabad and should consider the latter as a power in the region. “More than 1.5 million Afghan refugees are living in Pakistan and yet we continue to spew extreme hatred and venom towards the country,” Salangi added.

He said that Pakistan’s civilian government and military establishment viewed Afghanistan differently in the past. “Pakistani military was fueling wars in Afghanistan while the civilian government favored friendly and cordial ties,” Salangi went on as saying.

He said that Afghanistan should consider Pakistan as an elder brother and seek its cooperation in bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, other analysts opposed the incumbent government for having soft corner towards Pakistan. They said the Durand Line and friendly ties with India are not the only issues that prompt Pakistan’s hostility towards Afghanistan. “Pakistan wants to annex Afghanistan and make its fifth province or at least its colony,” said Qais Daudzai, a budding analyst.

He said the Durand Line was never meant to be an international boundary. “In the treaty signed with the then King of Afghanistan Abdul Rahman Khan it is clearly mentioned that the Durand Line is an administrative line,” he added.

The analysts said that Pakistan would not allow Afghanistan to be a sovereign country. Thus, Pakistan indirectly invaded Afghanistan and carried out genocide of Afghans through the Taliban.

According to the analysts Pakistan is in the quest to access Amu River. They said the governments don’t have the mandate to decide fate of the Durand Line, as it is right of Afghans living on both sides of the line.

Muhammad Qasim Jamdar, another analyst, hailed ex-President Hamid Karzai’s policies and said that Karzai’s prediction proved right that the United States and Islamabad hold the key to peace in Afghanistan. “President Ghani is pursuing the foreign policy of the previous government, but his style of governance is different. The president should review his style of governance and policies toward Pakistan,” he added.

After shedding light on the strained Afghan-Pak ties, the former chancellor of the Nangarhar University, Amanullah Hamidzai, said the NUG should practice more caution in devising foreign policy. “Accepting the Durand Line as international frontier is not even negotiable. No one can give our lands to others.”

Hamidullah Hamidzai, a professor at the Burhanuddin Rabbani Education University, said that Pakistan by nurturing militancy wants to pressurize Kabul to recognize the Durand Line as international border, however Afghans would never bow down to Islamabad. “Pakistan is in the quest to establish checkpoints on this side of the Durand Line. It launched rocket attacks in eastern provinces to clear the areas from people and extend their checkpoints to deploy its forces in the current-day Afghanistan,” he added.

Muhammad Rafi Banayee, a lecturer of the Psychology Faculty of Kabul University, said Pakistan’s support for political opposition of Afghanistan dates back to the former President Muhammad Daud Khan’s era.

Banayee also believe that recognizing the Durand Line as border would not prevent Islamabad from supporting Afghan insurgents as Pakistan wants access to the energy-rich Central Asia region.