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News Analysis: Pakistan's major anti-Taliban Waziristan offensive revives tension with Afghanistan

English.news.cn   2014-07-22 18:41:22

by Muhammad Tahir

ISLAMABAD, July 22(Xinhua) -- When Pakistan launched its long- awaited major military offensive against the local Taliban and other foreign jihadists in their main sanctuary in North Waziristan last month, the army formally requested the Afghan security forces to boost border security to stop fleeing militants from crossing the border.

Pakistan had a valid reason for its request to the neighboring country as the Waziristan military push had also been a long- standing demand by the United States and Afghanistan.

It is believed that the operation may not achieve its required goals if the Afghan and NATO troops in Afghanistan fail to stop the militants from entering Afghanistan.

Kabul and Washington insisted that the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network used the Waziristan region as their major base for making plans and to carry out cross-border attacks on Afghan and NATO forces.

However, latest statements from senior Afghan officials suggest that they are dissatisfied at the outcome of the offensive so far as they argued that the "Pakistani forces only targeted Pakistani Taliban."

"The current military offensive in North Waziristan is unacceptable to the Afghan government. The operation is only against the Pakistani Taliban. Pakistani forces have neither taken any action against the Haqqani Network nor has it been disarmed," the Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmad Shakib Mustaghni said in Kabul on Monday.

The Pakistani Foreign Ministry did not directly react to Mustaghni's remarks. However its spokesperson, Tasnim Aslam, said that Pakistan has clearly stated that the operation in North Waziristan is against all terrorists.

"Afghans should focus on taking measures on their side of the international border, ensure that terrorists do not get sanctuaries on Afghan soil," she said in a text message to a Xinhua query.

Kabul and Washington have both accused the Haqqani Network for most of the attacks, including last week's deadly car suicide bombing in eastern Paktika province that killed more than 80 people, almost all civilians. They claim that Haqqanis have made North Waziristan their sanctuary for years.

Mustaghni also pointed figures at Pakistani security agencies when a reporter asked him at his weekly briefing on Monday about the growing incidents of violence in the country and the deadly Paktika car suicide bomb attack.

"Our security agencies have evidence that Pakistani security agencies are involved in the recent wave of terrorism in the country," he said, adding that the Haqqani Network carried out the Paktika attack and "the group has the support of Pakistani intelligence agencies."

The presence of Pakistani Taliban fighters in some of Afghanistan's border regions has already emerged as a serious security challenge for the Pakistani forces as they routinely launch attacks from the other side of the border.

In a latest attack, militants from Afghanistan attacked a Pakistani border post in Bajaur tribal region this month and killed at least three soldiers.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are once involved in a blame game at a sensitive time when their cooperation is urgently needed for the success of Waziristan offensive and peace in Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, Taliban militants have increased attacks since they have launched their so-called annual "Spring Offensive" codenamed "Khaiber."

Both countries have suffered a lot of human and financial losses in their war against armed groups.

Afghanistan would completely take control of its security apparatus in few months as NATO is ending its combat mission and is devising a final exit strategy. The country is in the process of the first-ever transfer of power to an elected president at a time when it still faces serious security challenges.

The war-torn country will have to opt for tension-free relations instead leveling allegations against its neighbor, analysts say.

As instability in Afghanistan directly affects Pakistan, the latter will have to address to the security concerns of the Afghan authorities. Both countries have bilateral forums, and that would be the best venues to narrow down their differences, analysts say.


Editor: Fu Peng
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