Pakistan- Friend not Foe to Afghanistan -by- Ayesha Khan

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Afghanistan has been a hotbed of  turmoil and instability since the soviet invasion in 1979 and it never gained it’s foot hold strong nor been able to stabilize itself ever since. Russian pull out was followed by a bitter civil war between various fractions of Afghanistan including the Taliban and Northern alliance being main rivals helped by multitude of warlords.

After 9/11 Bush’s war on terror in 2011, Afghanistan sunk more deeply in poverty and chaos. Now two decades later in 2021, having placed a weak and impotent Afghan government and no significant nor any outstanding achievement in the war-torn country,USA and its Allies NATO have bid farewell to Afghanistan without a clear and robust road map devoid of a future strategy to raise Afghanistan economically as well as diplomatically in the volatile region of south Asia.

Pakistan’s been a vital ally in war on terror as well as had major stakes in afghan peace process, It is due to Pakistan’s efforts as a mediator, Taliban came to table to sign Peace agreement with USA in Doha 2020. Thestrategy that Pakistan follows now is that of Peace and stability in Afghanistan since any anarchy in the neighboring country will have dire repercussions in Pakistan and having fought and defeated offshoot of Taliban, Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) for 20 years, and having lost 72,000 innocent civilian lives to terror attacks within the country,Pakistancannot afford more uncertainty at the western border. A peaceful Afghanistan will mean a Peaceful Pakistan. This is something Afghan administration and people must acknowledge. Pakistan is a friend not a foe.

Pakistan main predicament is likely to be a possibility of an influx of refugees towards our Northern border in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, incase Afghanistan falls back in a civil war. Reminiscence of 1980s when Pakistan openedits border embracing more than 3 million afghan Refugees and many of whom born and raised in Pakistan, among those refugees emerged well know Mujahideen with the help of Americans who fought Russians and drove them out. Pakistan also cannot antagonize the Taliban who are becoming a powerful force and Pakistan’s insistence at supporting and working with whoever comes to power with people’s vote is evidenceof the impartial policy Pakistan is pursuing presently.Stakes are different, This is not 1990sand Pakistan is treading vigilantly watching the developing situation in Afghanistan.

Little changed in past 5 decades, to help Afghanistan become an emerging nation nor have afghans been able to settle their fragile internal divide and disputes within various ethnicities and sectarian minorities. It is in interest of Afghanistan as well as Pakistan to build trust and cordial communication between us to see a peaceful future. The ball is in your court Afghanistan,Suspicions and animosity must be erased to achieve that.

Ayesha Khan

@88ashy_k

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