Militants in Afghanistan

It is a clear fact that militant attacks from Afghanistan into Pakistan have not been stopped. And border control along the Durand line is a difficult feat. The reality has been acknowledged by National Security Adviser (NSA) Moeed Yusuf, who has claimed that Afghan soil is still being used against Pakistan, adding that organised terrorist networks were operating in the neighbouring country. The historically fluid state of affairs along Pakistan’s western borders naturally resist any attempts to formalise border crossings. Of course, the main reason behind this is common ethnolinguistic populations on both sides of the border. Tribal bonds that cut across borders are not at all easy to circumscribe within geographical bounds of the nation state. Moreover, the transnational economy – rarely formal – that had entrenched itself because of fluid borders even further militates against a smooth transition to closed borders. Militants use this situation for their benefit and continue their activities to threaten peace in Pakistan.

Despite assurance by the Afghan Taliban, these militants are posing a threat to peaceful relations between Islamabad and Kabul. Military officials have repeatedly pointed to the transnational character of militancy in Pakistan in which several militant organisations operating in Pakistan use Afghan soil as their base of operations.

Moreover, the concern had increased manifold given the success of the military operation in tribal areas. After the tribal areas have been cleared, particularly North Waziristan, there is always the risk that remaining militants would reorganise themselves in Afghanistan. Of course, a physical presence of Pakistani troops in Afghanistan is not an option, and hence it has become necessary to monitor and control any movement of people to and from Afghanistan.

It was for this reason that the border fencing project was undertaken amid heightened tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan and even clashes of security forces.

However, all of these measures also need to be complemented with astute diplomacy at the top. After all, a friendly Kabul is the only key to a lasting and sustainable solution to the scrounge of transnational terrorism. Intelligence sharing and cooperation between the security forces of the two states would greatly make border control and surveillance easy, and perhaps this should be the next step that the government should look towards.


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