Following the unprovoked indiscriminate shooting and shelling by Afghan border forces at Chaman in Balochistan on December 11, which killed six people and injured 17, Pakistan showed patience and committed to resolving the matter through mutual diplomacy. The army refrained from striking civilians in reaction, but only five days later, on Thursday, Kabul repeated the same action, and Chaman was bombarded with ammunition and shooting. The incident left one civilian killed and 20 injured. The district government declared a state of emergency in the city and ordered residents to remain at home, while an emergency was declared at hospitals in Quetta and Chaman. Pakistan was forced to retaliate when the Afghan army was shelled; in doing so, it destroyed six stations, the military headquarters, and a significant amount of Afghan forces’ lives and property. Concerns about the security of Pakistan’s diplomatic personnel exist. Clashes between Pakistani and Afghan forces are not uncommon. They occurred, for example, throughout both the Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani administrations, both of which were hostile to Pakistan. When the Afghan Taliban took control of Kabul last year, it was assumed that a more ‘pliant’ regime next door would bring some peace to our western frontier.
At the meeting, Farooq H. Naik, the head of the Senate’s Standing Committee on Foreign Relations, expressed severe worries regarding the homicidal assault on Pakistani diplomats in Kabul and the shooting by Afghan Border Forces in Chaman. Unfortunately, Pakistan has been assuming the voice of Afghanistan, but Kabul is not scared to raise its weapon and fire at Pakistan. In fact, Pakistan’s initiatives helped prepare the ground for peace negotiations between the Taliban organisations and the US, which were united against the US-NATO forces. After the withdrawal of the coalition forces from Afghanistan even ahead of schedule, the Taliban were left with an open field and were able to easily retake Kabul. Pakistan must rethink its strategy toward Afghanistan in light of the actions taken by the Afghan government. The fact that the residents of Pakistan and Afghanistan share religious, cultural, and civilizational values and have supported one another through joy and suffering goes back many generations. Due to the $1 trillion in economic damages and 80,000 Pakistani lives lost in the war on terror that was waged on Afghan soil, Pakistan started fencing the border regions of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. This was done in order to prevent terrorists from entering Pakistan from Afghanistan. Along the 1,200 km long border, where the movement was primarily by foot or by car, 235 locations were closed off or had security checks set up. Given the long-standing religious, family, and cultural links between Afghanistan and Pakistan, these instances of unjustified shelling and firing by Afghan forces are deeply upsetting. In the case of the Chaman shooting, the Afghan army killed the villagers rather than reaching a peaceful resolution. Because the people of both countries need to live in peace and harmony in the future, the Taliban administration should recognize the issue and deal with those guilty of these acts in such a way that they do not happen again.
As a result of many attacks on Pakistanis and the Pakistani embassy in Afghanistan, Kabul is encouraging unrest and instability in Pakistan. This is undoubtedly a major dilemma for Islamabad. Terrorists from Afghanistan and Afghan border troops are defying Pakistan’s state authority with successive attacks on its territory, thus, they have gone beyond mere formal protest to the Kabul administration and essentially shut down Afghanistan. Although maintaining regional stability and peace is important, the security and existence of the country also cannot be compromised.