Spearhead Analysis – 05.05.2017

By Hira A. Shafi
Research Analyst, Spearhead Research

The Trump administration has recently announced an overview of its Afghan plan. The prospects of increased US and NATO troops have been unveiled. A 23billion USD/year aid package has also been declared in order to support the Afghan military, police system and launch anti-corruption programs. A commitment to reach an eventual peace deal with militants provided they agree on a workable solution has also been enunciated.

So far,not much has been definitively said about Pakistan ,  the relationship seems to shaping itself up. At this point the US seems to looking at ways to somehow ‘deal with all groups in one go’. But, keeping in view a statement once made by Hamid Karzai on how the manner of these operations, bombings and other pain inflicted on Afghan people has enhanced sympathy for terror groups. US should work closely with Pakistan and encourage Afghanistan for closer cooperation in order to effectively eliminate terrorism in order to prevent the socio-economic crisis from compounding.

Further, These burgeoning terror issues have heightened various regional tensions which in hindsight keeps Afghanistan unstable, uncoordinated actions, are could lead to an increase in anxieties of spillover effects.

Pakistan, nonetheless, remains committed to its fight against terror and is alongside taking great strides to enhance bilateral ties with its neighbours.

Despite, the information – revealed by the former JuA spokesperson- on NDS and RAW links with certain terror groups- operating in Afghan territories -. Pakistan’s response appears to be offering a visual display of president Ghani’s remarks once made while defending the Hekmatyar peace talks “ Peace means forgiving blood”. Three important Pakistani delegations continued with their visits to Kabul.

The first one was led by the CGS to hold talks on bilateral security matters. The ISI chief –during his recent visit to Kabul is said to have discussed the scope of closer intelligence cooperation with Kabul.

The third key visit was led by the National Assembly Speaker; some key  resolves of this meeting included : resuming peace dialogue between the two countries, prospects of Afghan leadership to visit Pakistan in the near future and holding a similar meeting encapsulating Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and China.

During the meeting, President Ghani called for towards improved state to state ties instead of focusing on peace with few groups, ensuring neither country’s soil is used against the other and agree upon a definition of terrorism.

These meetings evidently highlight Pakistan’s commitments to regional stability. Pakistan should continue its anti-terror efforts, further harden its border and continue working towards improving ties with Afghanistan and US.

However, for purposes of Afghan stability, US should also encourage defused tensions and closer cooperation between India  and Pakistan — some prominent suggestions from US suggest enhancing India’s role in Afghanistan. While , the expedited development of Afghanistan is a vision Pakistan supports, it needs to be ensured that no harm on Pakistan is inflicted.