The elephant in the room . .

               Choosing to target two Pakistani military posts in Kalash, particularly on the historic occasion of Defense Day, heavily armed militants from Afghanistan attempted a sinister game, sowing doubt about the commitment of the armed forces to safeguard their homeland. The brave soldiers responded precisely as anticipated, courageously repelling the unprecedented assault. With 12 terrorists eliminated, approximately 40 injured, and an unmistakable message of national unity sent across the border, the security forces, once again, emphatically conveyed to their adversaries that they would spare no effort in their relentless struggle against anyone seeking to disrupt peace. The indelible sacrifice of those four men who stood in harm’s way for the sake of their compatriots must never be forgotten.

               Putting aside the well-deserved commendations, the events in the Chitral region underscore the limited value of Afghan assurances. Despite repeated pledges to the international community regarding monitoring Afghan soil for terrorist organizations, Pakistan has experienced resurgence in terror activities reminiscent of the situation in 2014. Regardless of the reservations voiced by both civilian and military leaders about the existence of “safe havens” and covert support to Pakistani Taliban, Kabul has chosen to pursue its own interests. They assert their commitment to us while, in the international media, spokespersons hint at a different agenda. This duplicitous behavior must come to an end. Pakistani men, women, and children do not want to become easy targets, with their lives and security sacrificed for power-driven agendas, simply because those responsible for their protection were distracted by other considerations.

               If effective coordination with Kabul could address the issue of militancy, as many as 389 lives could have been saved across the country this year alone. Vague warnings to refrain from launching attacks no longer suffice. Now, the responsibility falls squarely on Pakistan’s shoulders, and all eyes are fixed on Rawalpindi and Islamabad to see how they intend to address this critical situation. It is imperative that decisive action is taken to ensure the safety and security of Pakistani citizens and to hold Afghanistan accountable for its promises.

               In the wake of a recent attack by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on the Pakistani army in Chitral, the Taliban government of Afghanistan finds itself facing a significant credibility test on the international stage. The denial of Afghan territory being used in the attack, coupled with calls for neighboring countries to resolve their own issues, has left many questioning the sincerity of Afghanistan’s commitment to regional stability.

               Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid’s recent interview with a foreign news agency shed light on the Afghan government’s stance. Mujahid emphasized the need for neighboring countries to tackle their problems independently, without dragging Afghanistan into the fray. He underscored the importance of preserving Afghanistan’s stability, asserting that the country should not be used as a battleground for conflicts that do not directly concern it.

               However, the elephant in the room remains the alleged use of Afghan soil by the TTP to launch attacks on Pakistani territory. While Mujahid vehemently denied any intention to allow Afghanistan to be a launching pad for aggression against its neighbors, the situation on the ground paints a different picture. The attack in Chitral, which resulted in casualties and heightened tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan, raises critical questions about the effectiveness of the Taliban government’s control over its territory and the extent to which it can prevent cross-border militant activities.

               The international community, particularly Pakistan, has valid concerns about the potential spillover of instability from Afghanistan into neighboring regions. The historical connection between the Afghan Taliban and the TTP adds complexity to the issue. For Afghanistan’s new rulers, it is not only a matter of maintaining their own legitimacy but also of proving to the world that they can prevent their territory from being used as a breeding ground for terrorist groups with transnational agendas.

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