Friday, March 03, 2017

Opinion: Pakistan's Duplicity And Broken Promises On Afghanistan - Forbes

This week, Afghanistan lodged repeated official complaints against Pakistan’s violations of international agreements, including Pakistan’s Afghan border closings and forced repatriation of Afghan refugees. The border closings are contrary to World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, and Pakistan’s forced repatriation of refugees breaks its agreements with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Pakistan is a member of the WTO and U.N., so these actions are the latest in a series of broken promises on the issue of Afghanistan. These are confirmation that Pakistan can no longer be trusted as a negotiating partner on Afghan-related issues.

About two weeks ago, Pakistan used the excuse of its own domestic terrorism, including terrorists who caused 125 deaths, to scapegoat Afghanistan, and launch artillery strikes on alleged Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP, or Pakistani Taliban) and Jamaat ul-Ahrar (aka Jamaatul Ahrar, JuA) terrorist camps in Afghanistan. 

This blunt strategy of cross-border artillery strikes disillusions Afghanistan for at least four reasons. First, Pakistan did not ask permission, which they should have according to the laws of war.

Second, in 2016 Pakistan broke a border agreement and closed its border, precipitating armed clashes, a death, and dozens of wounded. In 2011 Pakistan initiated 470 rocket attacks on Afghanistan. These artillery strikes caused great fear at the time, and the current artillery strikes must be seen in that context.

Third, Pakistan’s attack was astonishingly hypocritical given that some terrorist camps in Afghanistan were the result of militants getting tipped off about anti-insurgent operations in Pakistan. There are a much greater number of cross-border and Pakistan-oriented terrorist camps and leaders within Pakistan’s own borders, than in Afghanistan. Jamaat ul-Ahrar terrorists, for example, claimed responsibility for two recent attacks in Pakistan. Pakistan claims that the terrorists infiltrated from Afghanistan to launch the attacks, but offered no evidence. The terrorist group has gone rogue from its roots in the Pakistani Taliban. While Afghanistan should take immediate action against this group, and any other terrorists who might be training or launching cross-border strikes into Pakistan, the far larger problem lies with Pakistani support for terrorists who launch strikes from Pakistan.

Fourth, there are plenty of terrorist centers of gravity in Pakistan that could be targeted by Pakistan. Afghanistan released a list of 32 Pakistani terrorist training centers and 85 Pakistan-based terrorist leaders on February 19. By attacking Afghanistan with the crude weapon of artillery when the terrorist centers of gravity on its own soil requires little more than arrests, Pakistan proves its antipathy against the elected Afghan government, not terrorism. The Pakistani artillery strikes were meant to mislead the public, rather than address the root causes of South and Central Asian terrorism. Had Pakistan really meant to eradicate terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, it would have gotten more traction through direct cooperation with Afghanistan. - Read More,  Anders Corr 

Pakistan's Duplicity And Broken Promises On Afghanistan - Forbes


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