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The botched diplomacy

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Afghan officials have failed times and again to employee diplomacy properly and secure the national interests. Sometimes they ignore the protocols and most of the times they overlook importance of diplomacy in the international politics to present aspirations of Afghans.

Recently, the PTI-led government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) denied giving official protocol to Afghan ministers and lawmakers. However, it was the Awami National Party which criticized the provincial government of KP while the Afghanistan’s Embassy in Islamabad kept silent on the issue.

Moreover, the interference of the neighboring country has increased but our foreign ministry is reluctant to garner support at international level and pressurize Pakistan to stop supporting the Afghan Taliban. Here again, the Pashtun nationalist parties in KP are doing the job  of Afghan diplomats who urged the military and civilian establishments of Pakistan to normalize ties with Afghanistan and support the Afghan government in the war against terrorism. On Monday, the senior minister of KP, Sikandar Sherpao, and on Sunday the Awami National Party leader Asfandyar Wali Khan urged Islamabad to cement relations with Afghanistan and restore durable peace in the region. Asfandyar said that Pakistan would also suffer if someone tried to destabilize the neighboring country.

At a time when the nationalists are annoyed by Pakistan’s policy on Afghanistan, our government is focused on the coming Heart of Asia Conference which would take place in Islamabad on December 7. It is very unfortunate that when the government is talking about a regional alliance against terrorism, excluding Pakistan, our foreign ministry has not changed the venue of the summit.

Afghanistan should change the venue because Islamabad is not cooperating with Kabul on the war against terrorism. The boycott would give weight to the stance of Kabul that it would not mend ties with Islamabad unless the latter stopped supporting insurgency in Afghanistan.

Though, the diplomats find abundance of time to keep abreast of all that is happening in the region, but unfortunately they have failed to give output while taking decisive action. Seemingly, many of the officials in the foreign ministry have nodding acquaintance with the foreign policy tools and tracts despite the fact that Pakistan is adamant to follow the policy of strategic depth. This response of the Afghan officials adds fuel to the fire.

Afghan government should change the venue for the conference rather than entertaining Pakistan. If the venue has not changed it would cost, because Islamabad will get positive response from the international community and cover its policy of interference with this conference.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are at sixes and sevens, including on the issue of terrorism because the former is not ready to expel the Afghan Taliban, yet Kabul is ready to give Islamabad the opportunity to garner international support on its policy of balance of power.

Failure of the diplomats to realize this important point is begging the question that whether the government wants to support Pakistan’s approach on the balance of power or come up with a new approach of its own.

The government should be the master of the situation. At a time when Afghans are caught between insecurity and foreign aggression, Afghan diplomats shall cash all opportunities to secure the national interests.