If Pakistan is not reined in, peace will always elude Afghanistan
Suicide bombings, killings and bloody hostilities seem to have become the order of the day in Afghanistan even as the Taliban is on the verge of completing three months in power. Taliban keeps blaming the ISIS (K) or Al Qaeda for all the terror attacks rocking various parts of Afghanistan killing a large number of people. Even hospitals and mosques are not spared.
In the most recent incident, the biggest military hospital (Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan Hospital) in Kabul came under attack on November 2, killing at least 19 people and wounding nearly 50. This dastardly strike again exposes the grim reality that the perpetrators are so desperate and driven by religious extremism and radicalization that even hospitals are targeted.
It is imperative to mention two significant suicide bombings that occurred on October 8 and 15. Not only were scores killed but both the targets in Kunduz and Kandahar were Shia mosques. The mindless gore was perpetrated on Fridays. Such a pattern of killings of the minority Shia is condemnable but the murders passed off virtually unnoticed. This silence perhaps emboldened the fanatics to hit with more desperation, renewing their acts of terror with more impunity and ferocity.
Taliban and ISIS (K)
Both the blood-soaked happenings were claimed by the ISIS (K) while the Kabul hospital bombing has not been claimed by any group though the Taliban blamed it to the Khorasan outfit of ISIS. It is not clear why the Taliban government is failing to deal with the ISIS. Is it because of complicity or infiltration by the ISIS cadres into Taliban setups?
Importantly, Afghanistan's neighbour Pakistan has made no scathing criticism of the Taliban. After all, the Afghan cabinet was formed in conjunction with Pakistan and its intelligence agency ISI.
The Afghan Minister for Interior, Sirajuddin Haqqani, is a wanted terrorist and his connections with Pakistan’s 'deep state' is known. The world should expose the terror linkages of the vested quarters. That’s the least it can do to put pressure on Pakistan and others who do not seem keen to contribute towards attaining any tranquility in Afghanistan.
In a related development, Pakistan’s National Security Advisor, Moeen Yusuf, has ruled out Islamabad’s participation in an upcoming meet in Afghanistan on November 10 in New Delhi. India extended invitation to Pakistan, China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Iran and Tajikistan. Pakistan’s decision implies it doesn’t want a peaceful Afghanistan, or it wants its own writ to run in Kabul. What’s interesting is Yusuf’s tenor. They sound more like a Pakistani minister speaking for the sake of India bashing.
The NSA said: “I will not go, a spoiler cannot be a peacemaker.” It is a clear insinuation towards India. In the ultimate assessment, it is clearly evident that Pakistan is not inclined to a peaceful Afghanistan. Hence, it turns a blind eye towards the repeated terror killings.
Pakistan has called upon the global community not to disengage itself from Afghanistan. Objectively, if Pakistan is not reined in, peace in Afghanistan will look distant. Even on Fridays, bombings will continue and the world will watch as silent spectators.
(The writer is a security analyst. The views expressed are personal)