The image in the mind of an ordinary American or European is that Afghanistan and Pakistan are longstanding friends and allies. Yet the truth is very different. It is true that friendship and brotherhood prevails between the people of the two countries. At the state level, however, relations are very far from those between allies. This astonishing state of affairs sometimes appears in the media in connection with various reports.
In June, Taliban militants attacked the Afghan parliament building. Immediately in the wake of that incident, the Afghanistan National Directorate of Security (NDS) announced that the attack had been perpetrated with the help of Pakistani Intelligence (ISI). In September, terrorists attacked Camp Badaber in Pakistan. Pakistani officials stated that this was carried out by radicals coming from Afghan territory. The Taliban seized control of the city of Kunduz in a sudden attack in the last days of September. The Afghan government again accused Pakistan of supporting the Taliban.
Mutual recriminations are by no means limited to these instances. The two neighbours frequently accuse one another of supporting terrorists. Afghan officials accuse the Pakistani army and intelligence agency, and Pakistani officials accuse the Afghan state.
In fact, relations between these two Muslim states developed along very positive lines after Ashraf Ghani became head of the Afghani state. In the first months of 2015, the policies of insecurity and disagreement began being replaced by collaboration and solidarity against terrorism. Relations have improved to the extent that, as the Pakistani Interior Minister put it, ‘Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have never been better.’ In recent months, however, relations have again returned to their traditional state of insecurity and scepticism in the wake of bloody terrorist outrages in both countries.
The problems between Afghanistan and Pakistan to a large degree stem not from those states themselves, but from secret state apparatuses. What Pakistan’s secret state apparatus fears is an Afghanistan purged of terror working together with India and Pakistan thus being surrounded by enemies. Due to that paranoia, the Pakistani secret state apparatus wants to see a weak and unstable Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the concern of the Afghanistan secret state apparatus is that Pakistan is using a policy of divide and rule and using it to subvert the nation. One sensitive issue between the two countries is the Durand Line that constitutes the border between them.
Both states are in fact pulling the rug out from beneath their own feet through their own fears and delusions. If there is no peace in Afghanistan, there can certainly be none in the region nor can there be security in South Asia if there is no security in Pakistan. The peoples of both nations are therefore suffering greatly. They are having to live without the tranquillity, stability, peace and prosperity for which they long. Both Afghans and Pakistanis believe in the same God, the same religion and the same prophets and share a common history, culture, customs and values. There is therefore far more that unites them than divides them.
Another issue that troubles Pakistan is India. To put it another way, what Pakistan finds troubling is the good trade and political relations that Afghanistan has managed to develop with India, Pakistan’s long-time rival. The fact is that what South Asia needs as a matter of urgency is for these three neighbouring countries to put an end to their policies of intractability and to adopt a common policy based on mutual love and understanding instead. It must not be forgotten that love, affection and compassion lie at the very heart of religions.
There is no doubt that Afghanistan and Pakistan must do as required by Islam, reason and good conscience and act as one against terror and what they need to do in the fight against terror is to educate those terrorists, rather than killing them in their own territories. The radical militants spilling blood in both countries have one thing in common; an ideology propounded in the name of Islam and based largely on fabricated pronouncements and other nonsense. Such an ideology is diametrically opposed to the Quran and has no place in Islam. The only way of stemming the flood of terror in both countries is therefore education based on the true Islam, on the Quran.
Afghanistan is currently riddled with uncertainties. It is under growing threat from the Taliban, despite 14 years of military operations. It is facing the threat of a new civil war. It needs the unconditional support of Pakistan, its neighbour. To be more blunt, both countries now need one another more than ever before. The futures of Afghanistan and Pakistan are bound up with one another. Either both countries do what brotherhood requires and build an enlightened, tranquil, happy and prosperous future, or else they will share a future dominated by darkness, difficulties, suffering, poverty and terror.
It is utterly irrational for Afghanistan and Pakistan to act against one another. The correct thing for them to do is to act in the spirit of brotherhood required by the moral values of the Quran. Only then can they live in tranquillity, trust, peace, wealth and happiness.
Sep 28, 2016 0
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