26 May 2019


The Afghan Stalemate


Pakistan Afghan dialogue “Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity” (APAPPS) have reportedly hit a deadlock – Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai led their respective sides at the APAPPS talk which ended without producing even a joint statement which is customary after such meetings.

The second round of Pakistan-Afghanistan dialogue was supposed to produce a joint strategy for ending the accusation each party was hurling on the other and produce a concrete plan for the return of refugees and peace in the region. Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) just like its previous talk has ended in fruitlessly due the illogical demands of the Afghan government which wants Pakistan to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table and catch them while they reside on Afghan territory under the very nose of the American and Afghan military.

The atmosphere before the talks was vitiated by the Afghan president who indirectly blamed Pakistan for the ambulance bomb in which 100 were killed and the attack on the hotel in Kabul in which 20 including four Americans died. The Afghan government has repeatedly blamed Pakistan for the attacks accusing it of harboring the Taliban.

Pakistan has refuted these wild allegations and has asked Kabul and Washington to help build a border fence to contain the cross-border movement of Taliban fighters. Pakistan despite resource constraints has erected a 160 kilometers wire fence along the Pak Afghan border. The Americans, Indians, and Afghans have been harboring and sponsoring gangs of Pakistani Taliban who have absconded due to the aggressive military action in Pakistan. These terrorists are able to run around the Pak Afghan border with impunity without any check due to the huge porous border. American and Afghan governments have repeatedly opposed the Pakistani proposal to mine the border to check the Taliban movement.

The diplomatic environment and timing for such serious talks were definitely very inappropriate. The entire Afghan government was busy tweeting anti- Pakistan statements and demanding us to catch the culprits after the Kabul ambulance bombing. Kabul needs to use a bit of common sense and search for the culprits in Afghanistan. Kabul needs to wake up its American trained army to hunt terrorists staring it directly in every province of Afghanistan.  According to a BBC report, the Taliban are active in 70 percent of Afghanistan despite US presence in the region for more than a decade.

The Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Dr. Muhammad Faisal’s issued a mild tweet “Pak-Afghanistan talks. Two days of good discussions. Some agreements. Further work required,” while the Afghan side was more blunt stating “No progress was ach­iev­ed on specific, result-oriented, time-bound measures in the APAPPS, particularly in the areas of counterterrorism, reduction of violence, peace, and reconciliation to meet the priorities of Afghanistan.” The two negotiators did not even agree to give a date for their next meeting.


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