Comment By: Jalil Afridi
Who could have thought that some day Pakistani and Afghan soldiers would be shooting each other down? Not once but on only occasions I have personally asked the US State Department about Durand Line and the answer given by John Kirby, the spokesperson was always that Durand Line is an internationally recognized border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Then why is the Afghan government playing this game and on whose suggestion are they doing this.?
Since last couple of days both Pakistan and Afghanistan has lost the lives of its citizens and security forces due to skirmishes with each other. These incidents have brought tears in eyes of many living across both sides of Durand Line. Two Muslim neighbour countries sharing same culture and language killing each other.
These fights started when Afghan security forces started firing on Pakistani security officials who were conducting census on Pakistani side of the border. Afghan officials claimed that Pakistani officials were conducting census on their side of the border, a claim which does not make sense. Why could Pakistani officials try to hold census on Afghan side when Pakistan has been housing million of illegal Afghan refugess inside Pakistan for more than four decade.
This is all being done on a pretext and notion to get the two brotherly nations get involved in a war which could lead to pure destruction of the whole region.
At a flag staff meeting at Chaman, an Afghan representative wearing civilian clothes was talking in a very rude manner with Pakistani senior officials whereas an Afghan General was sitting right next to him. This was the first time for me seeing a civilian sitting amongst military officials and saying things which were completely out of intenational norms and decorums.
Former President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai is also to be blamed for this border issue between the two countries. He on many occasions had mentioned that he does not accept Durand Line as a permanent border between the two countries. On a personal note, I myself belonging to the tribal area, Khyber Agency which is next to Afghanistan never wish or could think about being part of Afghanistan and neither would anybody from the tribal areas of Pakistan could think or support the idea of being part of Afghanistan. Where has the Afghan government gotten this idea?
It is also very interesting to see the Afghan forces using the same weapons which are given to them by the international community to fight Taliban are being used against Pakistan. An Afghan tribal affairs minister said that Pakistan should not build a wall between the two countries and instead should focus on eliminating the terrorists network in Islamabad. The honorable minister needs to know that most of the terrorists in Pakistan belong to Afghanistan and hundreds of thousands Pakistani have died because of them and millions are still displaced. This is all done because Pakistan let the Afghans take refuge in Pakistan when they had no bread to eat, no house to shelter and no medicine to put on their wounds.
There is no country or citizens of any nation that cares about Afghans more than the Pakistani nation. If the Afghans believe that India would support them in their hard times, they are mistaken. India is only supporting Afghanistan because they have their own interest from Afghanistan and their biggest interest is to equal score with Pakistan and to use Afghanistan for its proxy war with Pakistan.
Pakistan on the other hand should learn a lesson from this experience and declare FATA as a separate province at the earliest otherwise incidents of Chaman like can happen in Landi Kotal, Waiziristan, Mohmand and Bajaur Agency as well. The tribal area of Pakistan can not be experimented with any longer.
Pakistan should also take up this border issue with the international community at the earliest as well. Forums such as the United Nations and embassies of Pakistan around the world should be activated to inform them about the rising tensions with Afghanistan. This matter should be taken very serious and very urgent. At the same time Pakistani security forces should keep vigilant in major cities of Pakistan and keep an eye on Afghans. Thousands of Afghans have acquired Pakistani national ID cards claiming to be Pakistani nationals from the tribal areas. These individuals should be rounded up and their ID cards should be cancelled at the earliest.
Writing these lines and suggestions these steps as a journalist and a Pakhtun deeply hurts me but present times demands these steps should be taken on urgent basis. It has been over three years that Pakistani newspapers are banned in Afghanistan and despite me personally raising this issue with Afghan ambassador to Washington DC and Afghan foreign minister they all told me a lie on my face infront of hundreds of people that Afghanistan has not done such a thing. If they can lie on such a minor thing in scope of so many big issues, how could they be trusted in days to come.
The days on resolving Durand Line issue by sittings between Pakistan and Afghanistan are over. This issue needs to be discussed on international forum now and immediately. American is building wall between them and Mexico. So why can’t Pakistan built a wall between them and Afghanistan. What if Mexico starts saying that Texas and California belongs to them? Will that make sense? No, it will not. Afghanistan should look after what they have and they have plenty if they manage it good. Instead of getting involved in non issues, Afghanistan should built itself and support those who have stood by them in their hard times instead of chopping those hands which hav been feeding them and protecting them.
By raising Duane Line issue the Afghan government will not achieve anything. They should close this chapter once and for all and stop misguiding their people. The US and European countries should get involved in this issue at the earliest to avoid further loss of life and destruction.
Will Hikmatyar bring Pakistan-Afghanistan closer?
Comment By: Jalil Afridi
Hizbe Islami Chief, Gulbadin Hikmatyar since his arrival in Afghanistan has brought a political stir in the country. Of course just like any other reknowned political figure, Hikmatyar also has those who welcomed him and those who are not happy with his arrival in the political area of Afghanistan. But one thing is for sure that Hikmatyar arrival in Afghanistan has been made possible after the approval by the US government, who still has thousand of troops placed in Afghanistan and is planning to increase it more in days to come.
It is not clear how and where Hikmatyar entered Afghanistan but his entry into Kabul and his picture taking guard of honor walk along with Afghanistan President, Ashraf Ghani smiling together made it on the pages of many international media around the world. Hikmatyar is no ordinary man to international media. He was the front runner against the soviet invasion of Afghanistan, former Prime Minister of Afghanistan and leader of one of the largest political party who was actively involved in the civil war in Afghanistan in the mid 90’s.
Gulbadin Hikmatyar along with Afghan President while addressing a gathering in Kabul yesterday said that Taliban are his brothers and that he is ready to play role of a mediator to bring them to peace. He urged the Taliban to lay arms and bring peace to the country which has been suffering for almost four decades.
President Ghani also urged the Taliban to come to the negotiation table and solve all pending issues through dialogue. Chief Executive, Abdullah Abdullah in his adress called the Taliban “brothers of Hikmatyar” which certainly showed that he is not too upbeat about the dialogue process with Taliban.
Pakhtun population of Afghanistan is certainly very happy with the arrival of Hikmatyar and they have a reason to be happy as well. Since last sixteen years Pakhtuns have been ignored in the decisions making of Afghanistan, although they are more than sixty percent of the population of the country.
Hikmatyar since his arrival has criticized some media outlets of Afghanistan and that has gotten eye brows raised both in Afghanistan andin the western world. Media outlets in Afghanistan are mostly funded by the US government through its different projects and they certainly have been biased on many issues. Media in Afghanistan has a very important role to play in the current political scenario of the country. In his recent interview to Ashna Tv of Voice of America, the Afghan Ambassador to the United States said that there is no existence of Daish or ISIS in Afghanistan, whereas the US recently dropped the biggest bomb on the hideouts tunnels of ISIS in Afghanistan. Hikmatyar on the other hand has also mentioned the existence of Daish in Afghanistan. In such scenarios the local media of Afghanistan needs to inform the public and the international community about the real and true facts on the ground in Afghanistan.
Taliban on othe other hand have not made any comments with regard to Hikmatyar. It is also not clear how much influence Hikmatyar has over the Taliban and especially with regard to their demand that they want foreign forces to end the occupation of their country.
Hikmatyar has now reached the decisive moment of his political career. His relations with regard to America, Pakistan and Iran are yet to be seen. He has not made any important comments in this regard yet. Though Hikmatyar is still being accused of allying with Pakistan but those aware of Afghanistan history know that during his last days in Afghanistan, he did not have cordial relations with Pakistan and therefore he had decided to take refuge in Iran instead of Pakistan while he was being hunted.
There is no other option for both Pakistan and Afghanistan but to have cordial relations with each other. Pakistan is pinning its hopes that Hikmatyar will be able to remove the distrust between the two countries and will work toward avoiding incidents of the kind which took place yesterday where cross firing from Afghanistan side killed seven innocent civilians of Pakistan. Afghanistan has all the right to have relations with India but these relations should not be built at cost of waging war with Pakistan. There is no doubt that India is using Afghan soil to carry out terorists activities in Pakistan and one recent proof of such kind was that last month when the US dropped the biggest bomb in Afghanistan targeting ISIS hideouts, there were seven Indians who were also killed. What were those Indians doing with ISIS fighters is not hard difficult to figure out.
Beside Gulbadin Hikmatyar the new US administration under Donald Trump also has a difficult task ahead in Afghanistan because beside Pakistan, Iran and India new powers such has China and Russia have also entered the political arena of Afghanistan. Let us pray and hope that both Pakistan and Afghanistan are not collided with each other. This is will not only bring destruction in both the countries but the entire region. Gulbadin Hikmatyar political vision and influence can certainly play a pivotal role in this scenario. True Afghan leadership has been ignored in Afghanistan political process since last sixteen years and foreign brands such as Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani have been leading the country. Let us hope that the political stir brought by Hikmatyar yields better results for Afghanistan and bring it closer to Pakistan.
Jalil Afridi Managing Editor/Director The Frontier Post COO Jm Advertising Services