Dangerous arena.

THE withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan had been widely anticipated, with hopes of improved security and peace to follow. Such hopes were quickly dashed. Instead, we saw the US exit immediately followed by jailbreaks that released hardened militants back in the public. A subsequent surge in terrorism incidents, uprooting of border fences, firing on Pakistani border security forces and an attack on the Pakistani diplomatic mission in Kabul have negatively impacted expectations for peace.

Sharing of information related to terrorism, border security, and Pakistani prisoners in Afghan jails were some of the things Pakistan had high hopes for, yet no substantial improvement has been observed. Globally, border security is a bilateral affair, but in the Pakistan-Afghanistan context, it remains a unilateral pursuit, hence increasing security challenges for Pakistan. Another expectation was that the new Afghan administration would use its influence to persuade militant groups to stop their activities, but this has not yet been achieved. Instead, there has been a surge in terrorism incidents with a changed modus operandi and against new targets ever since the withdrawal of US troops and the failure of subsequent peace talks. The militants seem to have bought plenty of time, if not space, thanks to the peace talks in question.

The prime function of any state is not only to maintain peace within its territorial limits but also to respect the sovereignty of its neighbours. The question is, in the absence of foreign militaries, how will militant groups justify their existence, and how will the presence of militant groups on Afghan soil be justified by the Kabul administration?

The Afghan theatre today has some conflicting dynamics. The ISK-P aspires for a 'khilafat', the Taliban seek an 'emirate', while modern states are expected to function on democratic principles and the concept of shared sovereignty. Increased conflict between the ISK-P and the Taliban can spill over and have negative implications for Kabul's neighbours. Militants switching from other groups to the ISK-P will further complicate the security mosaic and also strengthen the sectarian fault lines in the neighbourhood.

How will militant groups justify their existence?

After the withdrawal of foreign forces, the Afghan army and police, trained by the US and allied forces, had instantly disintegrated. For those with limited options to earn a living, carrying a gun can become an easy...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT