Peace in Afghanistan is crucial for peace and stability in Pakistan. Attempts to make the region terror free gathered pace during the last three months. The Heart of Asia Conference held in December played an important role in removing tensions between the two countries. A significant development was the US and China joining hands with Kabul and Islamabad to form a Quadrilateral Coordination Committee. The Committee has already held three meetings in two months. In the last meeting it succeeded in adopting a road map for direct Afghan government-Taliban talks stipulating the stages and steps in the process. The committee expected the talks to take place by the end of this month.
An issue that continues to give birth to doubts and suspicions between Afghanistan and Pakistan is the sad state of border management between the two countries. The approximately 2,200 kilometers long and vaguely defined border divides tribes living astride the Durand Line. What is more the border is porous and difficult to monitor for it meanders through a mountainous terrain with numerous passes. This helps terrorist networks to launch attacks on both sides. Terrorists who were uprooted as a result of military operation in Pakistan’s tribal areas crossed over to the Afghan territory from where they have continued to launch attacks in Pakistan. Some of those who targeted the APS and then the Bacha Khan University had come from the safe havens in Afghanistan. Similarly Afghan Taliban make use of the shelters on this side of the Durand Line to launch similar attacks in Afghanistan.
Several meetings between the military and intelligence leaders from both sides have been held during the last three months. The two DGMOs have met as have the Corps Commanders from the adjoining areas. There is however still no respite to such attacks. On Thursday nine Khasadars were killed in Mohmand Agency by terrorists who had crossed over from the other side of the border. Much more needs to be done to manage the border before Afghanistan and Pakistan can be secure from terrorist attacks.