Experts call for revisiting Afghan policy

Published December 6, 2022
Academics, retired military officials, former diplomats, journalists and other experts on security, and Pak-Afghan affairs participated at a consultation on “Afghan peace and reconciliation; Pakistan’s interests and policy options” on Monday. — Photo courtesy: PIPS Twitter
Academics, retired military officials, former diplomats, journalists and other experts on security, and Pak-Afghan affairs participated at a consultation on “Afghan peace and reconciliation; Pakistan’s interests and policy options” on Monday. — Photo courtesy: PIPS Twitter

ISLAMABAD: Experts on Monday called for a review of Afghan policy in view of the latest developments in the neighbouring war torn country and the security challenges it poses to the neighbourhood.

These views were expressed by experts at a consultation on “Afghan peace and reconciliation; Pakistan’s interests and policy options” organised by Islamabad-based Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS).

Academics, retired military officials, former diplomats, journalists and other experts on security, and Pak-Afghan affairs participated in the discussion. The main themes of the consultation, which is 6th one in a series of discussions organised by PIPS on the Afghan peace process, include “Emerging Afghan situation and its interface with the countries near and beyond” and “a review of emerging Pak-Afghan relations.”

The specialists warned of a likely new wave of terrorism in the country especially after outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan formally ended its ceasefire and announced resumption of violent activities.

Say current developments in neighbouring war-torn country pose threat to Pakistan

They said it was all the more important now that the various segments of the society should present a united front on the renewed threat of terrorism.

Former National Security Adviser retired Lt-Gen Nasser Khan Janjua taking part in the discussion said that TTP had become a spoiler in Pak-Afghan relations. He added that Pakistan required reorientation of its policy towards the Taliban regime in Kabul.

“Pakistan’s relations with Kabul are likely to come under stress and we have to manage it.”

Mirwais Yasini, former first deputy speaker of the Lower House of the Afghan Parliament, contended that corruption in Afghanistan had relatively decreased, and law and order situation had improved under the Taliban rule but the system was not properly working, which has become a major challenge.

He further said that Pakistan’s military establishment, politicians, bureaucracy and ulema should be on the same page to tackle the crisis emerging out of Afghanistan.

Former Defence Secretary retired Lt-Gen Naeem Khalid Lodhi called for fixing the problems in Pakistan’s decision-making system. “The problem of Afghanistan has political, social, economic, and military dimensions,” he said, adding that military establishment couldn’t handle it alone.

Defence analyst retired Major General Inamul Haque said that Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan had been continuously affecting due to the presence of TTP on the latter’s soil.

He said Pakistan should talk with the ideologue group present in the ranks of Taliban to force the militant group to lay down its arms.

Former Senator Afrasiab Khattak concluded the discussion by saying that Pakistan should make a critical review of its 40-year-old Afghan policy. “The issue of terrorism also needed to be reviewed to face the emerging challenges in this connection.” He also suggested that Pakistan should formulate a new Afghan policy that should focus on making good relations with the Afghan state, and its people.

Earlier, Director PIPS Mohammad Amir Rana in his welcome note said that the purpose of the consultation was to take a review of the Pak-Afghan relations in the face of increasing terrorist activities of TTP in Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2022

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