After a long time of silence Pakistan gives a befitting reply to the terror being supported by Afghanistan. This is no news now that Afghan soil is being used as a safe haven by IS/TTP and its subsidiaries such as Jamaat-ul-Ahrar for conducting terror activities in Pakistan including the recent bloodbath of these cowards during the last week. This is exactly what Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN has been echoing clearly all along in UN Security Council that in order to eliminate terrorism in Pakistan at its core it must be taken most seriously that “What Pakistan continues to face today are externally supported terrorists.”
In simpler terms Pakistan has straightforwardly tied the hands of US and the Kabul Regime forcing them to adopt silence due to the fear of their crimes surfacing and let Pakistan have its way with the terrorists that were being nurtured by the Indians right under the noses of coalition forces.
It is very clear that GHQ’s policy has dramatically shifted from restraint to direct response.
The response that one could expect from a sovereign state was never seen coming from Afghanistan, or rather more precisely the Kabul Regime. Though to some extent formal lip service condemning statements did emerge but no considerable action was seen. It is this cold silence that instigates one to peel deeper to uncover what lies under the layers. This is the silence of criminal confession.
To do justice to this analysis it is important to briefly look at the ongoing situation. It is the first time that ISPR’s statements of such seriousness about Afghanistan have been witnessed. ISPR commented after the Sehwan Shrine attack: “Recent terrorist acts are being executed on directions from hostile powers and from sanctuaries in Afghanistan. We shall defend and respond.” Whereas Chief of Army Staff declared “Your security forces shall not allow hostile powers to succeed. We stand for our nation. Each drop of the nation’s blood shall be revenged … immediately. No more restraint for anyone.” And in hours the Pakistan-Afghanistan Border at Torkham and then later at Chaman was closed barring any crossing into/from the country thus halting the trade flow to the landlocked country.
General John Nicholson was asked to “play his role in disconnecting this planning, direction, coordination and financial support” of the terrorists who enjoy their impunity. As these deadly attacks in Pakistan are being directed from Afghanistan and their leadership enjoys Afghanistan’s unwavering support.
On the diplomatic front Afghan diplomats in Islamabad were summoned to GHQ and were given a list of 76 terrorists who have been provided sanctuary and impunity by the Kabul Regime aka Afghanistan Intelligence agencies. On Saturday, Afghan National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar said after speaking to Prime Minister Nawaz’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Kabul and Islamabad have agreed to discuss ways to better respond to terror attacks on both sides. He moreover added that Afghanistan is ready to collaborate with Pakistan and other international partners to achieve the goal.
Notwithstanding the diplomatic buttering, Pakistan Army began its assault on the terror sanctuaries inside Afghanistan on 17th February, the day after the Sehwan Shrine bombing claimed by the Islamic State. The nature of artillery shelling was not confirmed but nevertheless Pakistan Army effectively targeted the terror camps and hideouts of IS, TTP and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar resulting in the decimation of nearly a dozen camps. According to the latest reports, Pakistan Army has prepared a major operation against the terrorists as the security has been beefed up and a large supply of arms and ammunition including heavy artillery had been shifted to the Pak-Afghan border areas on 20th February.
This is about right time for Pakistan to use the evidence it has and start working on declaration of Afghan and Indian intelligence agencies as sponsors of terrorism.
It is very clear that GHQ’s policy has dramatically shifted from restraint to direct response. Credible intelligence on terrorists safeguarded by Afghanistan has been provided to the Afghan Government which includes identities of facilitators, pictures, videos, communication linkages and recordings along with exact locations. This coupled with the assault on terror sanctuaries has brought the Kabul Regime in a very critical position. Neither can they deny and nor can they admit their crimes against Pakistan. This has compelled them to adopt silence as a policy and let Pakistan deal with the terrorists.
Moreover, the US Commander of the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson was called by COAS Qamar Bajwa and same demands were conveyed to him as were made to their clients in Kabul. The General was asked to “play his role in disconnecting this planning, direction, coordination and financial support” of the terrorists who enjoy their impunity. As these deadly attacks in Pakistan are being directed from Afghanistan and their leadership enjoys Afghanistan’s unwavering support. In simpler terms Pakistan has straightforwardly tied the hands of US and the Kabul Regime forcing them to adopt silence due to the fear of their crimes surfacing and let Pakistan have its way with the terrorists that were being nurtured by the Indians right under the noses of coalition forces. So much for the “so-called” war on terror.
This is how a prominent Afghan journalist put it:
#AFG The so called "BSA" is not D insurance of Afghan sovereignty that many Afghans thought it was. Our American "allies"nowhere 2 be seen.
— BILAL SARWARY (@bsarwary) February 19, 2017
The next stage of Kabul Regime’s current dilemma is denial. The day after Pakistan’s targeted shelling, the Afghan Government denied any terrorist deaths and called the artillery shelling “rocket fire” which resulted in two civilian deaths. This further clarifies the threat they feel from facts being uncovered.
India cannot go unchallenged and be allowed to use Afghan soil to disrupt Pakistan’s peace. This is about right time for Pakistan to use the evidence it has and start working on declaration of Afghan and Indian intelligence agencies as sponsors of terrorism.
Many Afghan sympathizers argued that much of the territory is not under the control of the Kabul Regime so they cannot be blamed for the activities of the terrorists. If this is the case then why the Afghan National Army and US Coalition Forces should be worried as the areas not under the control of Kabul are being targeted by Pakistan. Pakistan holds the right to target any safe havens that pose threat to its national security whether it be through the use of shelling or surgical strike capability.
India cannot go unchallenged and be allowed to use Afghan soil to disrupt Pakistan’s peace. This is about right time for Pakistan to use the evidence it has and start working on declaration of Afghan and Indian intelligence agencies as sponsors of terrorism. Moreover, Pakistan should declare RSS and other elements in India and Afghanistan who are proven to have been abetting terrorists and directing it towards Pakistan. UN Security council’s sanctions list must be used to restrain such elements otherwise, if within reach, be eliminated.
These are hard times indeed as tough decisions need to be taken by Pakistan. This is not the first time when Pakistan has to take a stand in pursuing its strategic interests. This nation has tolerated all kinds of pressures and sanctions. Its defenses, as history shows, are capable of fending off any aggression no matter what. Now it is up to us either we accept the US hegemony backed by India or we buckle up to face it all and emerge upright and victorious by obliterating US-Indian agenda in the region.