Pakistan said on Monday that Afghan and US-led forces had failed to hunt down a Taliban cleric responsible for a spate of cross-border raids despite repeated requests from Islamabad, a complaint likely to deepen tension between the neighbours.
.Once again hundreds of armed militants crossed over from Afghanistan into Pakistani soil and attacked Kakar check post in Barawal area of Upper Dir killing one Pakistani soldier and injuring two others while 30 of the insurgents were killed in the encounter. This is not for the first time that Afghanistan sponsored armed miscreants have attacked Pakistan posts. On August 27, this year, some 200 to 300 heavily-armed militants based in Afghanistan attacked seven paramilitary check posts in district of Chitral, killing more than 30 personnel of the security forces. In one of such major attacks, on June 1, more than 500 armed militants who entered Upper Dir area from Afghanistan killed more than 30 police and paramilitary soldiers. Police said that well-trained terrorists who targeted a chekpost, also destroyed two schools and several houses with rocket and gunfire attacks, while killing a number of innocent people. On June 3, hundreds of militants crossed over from Afghanistan and again besieged the Pakistani area. In the recent past, the former US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, while repeating the false allegations had indicated that Pakistan’s “failure to stop insurgents from Pakistani side of the border” has resulted into “40 per cent rise in the militant’s attacks in east Afghanistan…infiltration of insurgents in Afghanistan takes place from the safe-havens of FATA.” In this context, on April 20, 2011, US Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen has alleged that ISI has been supporting, funding and training fighters that are killing Americans and coalition partners in Afghanistan. Their media have also left no stone unturned for alleging Islamabad for cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan, also involving Pak Army and its intelligence agency, ISI. However, American baseless blame game against Islamabad in connection with cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan continues. In this regard, we need to prove, whether Pakistan is responsible for cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan or the latter in Pakistan.Significantly, the Afghan Taliban have categorically denied their involvement in such attacks. A Taliban spokesman has told the Afghan Islamic Press that in such attacks, no Afghan Talib took part; especially the deadly attacks launched in Dir and Chitral areas of Pakistan. He said that they were facing a big enemy in Afghanistan and were not carrying out operations anywhere in the world, including Pakistan. Not surprisingly, dozens of such incidents have increased tension between the two neighbouring countries, with Pakistan raising the issue with Kabul and NATO in bilateral meetings. Pakistan’s Foreign Office has already stated that Pakistan has been forced to retaliate against such cross-border attacks. Despite additional security measures undertaken by Pakistan to protect its citizens from attacks from other side of the Durand Line, the way the Afghan militants are challenging a regular and highly professional Pakistani force, crossing border and not only killing innocent villagers but also attacking security posts is enough to prove at whose behest these attacks are taking place. Otherwise too, it is next to impossible that aggression against Pakistan was possible without knowledge and active connivance of the occupation forces because they claim to have modern surveillance system to monitor movement on every inch of the soil in their areas of interest. The attackers sometimes number more than three to four hundred and it is unimaginable that such a significant movement remains undetected by the United States and NATO forces. But there are reasons to believe these attacks are fully backed by occupation forces with a view to increasing pressure on Pakistan. In fact, militants are funded, trained, armed and pushed into Pakistan for do and die mission. In this backdrop, the assertion by US special envoy Marc Grossman that his country would keep on asking Pakistan to crackdown on so-called safe havens is highly provocative. This shows that for the United States, lives of its soldiers are more important than those of Pakistani citizens who are being killed in cross-border attacks by Afghan militants. Pakistani security officials have recommended to the Afghan government and the NATO authorities to set up more posts at the border to stop such attacks. The ISPR chief, Maj Gen Athar Abbas, recently told the media that the issue was discussed at a joint US-Pakistan-Afghanistan military commission meeting in Peshawar. Against 900 border posts set up by Pakistan on the Pak-Afghan border, Afghanistan while ISAF have only 100 such posts, allowing the terrorists to cross the border with relative ease. Pakistan has already boosted the security at the Afghan border. The Karzai government in Kabul should be informed that such attacks do not sever the maintenance of the brotherly ties between the two countries.
By Afia Ambreen (Frontier Post)