The problems between the government of Pakistan and Afghanistan are escalating. At the same time, Pakistan is involved in political and economic turmoil, as well as the inflation of corruption and unbridled domestic violence. The escalation of tensions and conflicts between Kabul and Islamabad makes it more difficult for Shahbaz Sharif’s government and Islamabad.
But on the other hand, the Afghan Pashtun Taliban’s confrontation with the construction of fences on the borders of Afghanistan, which is the controversial Durand borderline, and the failure of this group to confront the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, makes the position of the Pakistan government problematic. This is one of the series of problems that have escalated between two neighbors these days, neighbors who sometimes talk about friendship and sometimes about mutual enmity!
The gateway of amity or animosity?
Recently, several rockets were fired from Afghanistan’s soil into Pakistan’s territory along the common border in the Chaman district. This region has always been known as the “Gateway of Friendship” between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Chaman border region of Balochistan province connects Pakistan to Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan. At least 6 Pakistanis lost their lives, and 20 others were injured in these attacks.
This incident occurred while the officials of the Afghan-Pashtun Taliban group and Islamabad held meetings to resolve border tensions and terrorist attacks on the borders of Afghanistan and Pakistan during the past weeks. The surprising question is whether this is really the gateway of friendship or enmity! The gateway in the name of friendship between two neighbors has been the source of unfortunate and violent events between the two nations of Afghanistan and Pakistan every day and every year.
At the same time, with such tensions, not only the governments are affected, but also the common people of Afghanistan and Pakistan are facing many problems.
The border tensions called Durand Line
After the victory of the Taliban group fighters in Afghanistan, the two issues of fighting terrorism and also the tensions between Durand border lines have strained the relations between these two neighbors. Thus, Pakistan has about 2,600 kilometers of land border with Afghanistan, most of which are located in the mountainous areas along the border lines called Durand. The great tension is called the “Durand line” between two friendly and hostile neighbors.
The Durand border lines are the borders between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The name of this border is taken from the name of one of the civil representatives of the British Indian government named “Henry Mortimer Durand.” So, On November 12, 1893, according to an agreement between the government of British India and Amir Abdul Rahman, the then despotic ruler of Afghanistan, this border was drawn between British India and Afghanistan.
The legitimacy of the Durand Line Agreement
While Successive Afghan governments; after creating a territory called Pakistan in 1947, have argued that the legitimacy of the Durand Line expired in 1993 between the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan, as the validity of this agreement was for 100 years. For this reason, Pakistan’s efforts to establish fences and border security posts along the disputed border between Islamabad and Kabul, known as Durand, have been met with strong resistance from Afghanistan in recent years.
Also, in the years of the republic, reports, and videos were published showing that Afghan National Army forces were uprooting barbed wire installed by Pakistani security forces in Nangarhar Province in eastern Afghanistan along the Durand Line.
Shahbaz Sharif’s concerns in the UN Assembly
In addition to the issue of border fencing by Pakistan, there are other differences between Pakistan and Afghanistan. In fact, Pakistan has been the main foreign supporter of the Afghan-Pashtun Taliban group in Afghanistan for decades. But since the Taliban fighters took power in Afghanistan in August 2021, the relations between Islamabad and Kabul have deteriorated because Islamabad believes that the Afghan Taliban no longer has enough will to prevent terrorist activities on the borders of the two countries.
This is precisely why Mr. Shahbaz Sharif, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, spoke about Islamabad’s concerns about terrorist groups inside Afghanistan in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly. He mentioned the Islamic State of Khorasan (ISIS), Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Al-Qaeda, Islamic Movement of East Turkestan, and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan as terrorist groups based in Afghanistan. Shahbaz Sharif added that these groups should be confronted comprehensively, with the support and cooperation of the Afghan Taliban.
Afghanistan under the yoke of Pakistan’s exploitative relations
Pakistan has particular sensitivities about the activities of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, but the Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan is entirely indifferent to this terrorist group. Because Pakistan Tehreek-e-Taliban is the closest group to the Pashtun Taliban group due to the common ethnicity and kinship among the Pashtuns, and for this reason, the Afghan-Pashtun Taliban is not very interested in dealing with this group seriously.
In 2021, 294 terrorist attacks by this group took place in Pakistan, which has increased by 56% compared to 2020. However, it remains to be seen whether this will be a sustainable strategy or not, as Afghanistan geopolitically needs Pakistan’s military and humanitarian support, and Afghanistan has always been under the yoke of Islamabad’s exploitative trade relations. Nevertheless, to gain political and international legitimacy, Islamabad can be a good supporter of the Afghan-Pashtun Taliban and a good destructive enemy for the interests of the Afghanistan nations.
Will Islamabad attack Afghanistan?
Since the killing of al-Qaeda network leader al-Zawahiri in Kabul, there have been reports that the Taliban has violated the “Doha Agreements.” In response, the officials of the Taliban group continuously deny it. Recently, this issue getting hotter and hotter, and now there is talk about the possibility of a similar attack by the US from Pakistan to territories of Afghanistan.
As the United States of America attacked Afghanistan in 2001 under the pretext of the existence of Al-Qaeda terrorists. Today, Pakistan has threatened to launch military operations in Afghanistan under the pretext that Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan is using Afghanistan’s territory against Pakistan’s government.
The economic crisis, poverty, and corruption are rampant in Pakistan
From the evidence and analysis, Pakistan is not alone in these threats, and its two main allies (America and Britain) will also be the main designers of these possible attacks because Pakistan is not in a position in terms of economy and internal corruption to be able to manage and finance such a war whose dimensions will be much broader and more dangerous than Islamabad imagines. Pakistan can’t even pay the interest on its loans, and its indebtedness is increasing yearly; poverty, corruption, and economic crisis are rampant in Pakistan. With this situation, Pakistan will never be able to carry out military operations for a week in Afghanistan.
Neither the Taliban nor Islamabad
If it happens, the attack will be a repetition of 2001 attacks by the US and this time from the territory of Pakistan, with the potential help and support of the United States and England. The fictitious story of the assassination of al-Zawahiri in Kabul city, which is the only excuse for America, is still the aura of ambiguity, and both sides have not provided documents that can prove the reality of such an operation, whether al-Zawahiri was killed or not.
Neither the US released a film nor the Afghan-Pashtun Taliban confirmed the existence of al-Zawahiri in the city of Kabul. The whole news, in case, was at a level of “speculation,” and no one knows the truth of the matter until now. Eventually, neither Islamabad nor Afghan Taliban are in a position to create an excuse for more pressure inside and outside. Particularly, Afghan-Pashtun Taliban have learned their lessons from the past, and the al-Qaeda group also exists only in name and almost dissolved in practice.