Afghan Journal

Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics

Pakistan and Afghanistan, spoiling for a full-blown fight ?

October 10, 2011

With a series of spectacular attacks over the past few months, first in the provinces and then in the Afghan capital Kabul, the Talban have captured attention and even prompted comparisons with the Viet Cong’s Tet offensive. But they are not the only ones attacking Afghanistan, according to The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). It lists a series of attacks from early this year to build the case that Pakistan has joined the Taliban in what it called a “military invasion of Afghanistan”, driving another nail in the faltering U.S. effort in the country.

Beginning from the February bombardment of Afghan  border police posts in Nangarhar and Khost provinces in eastern Afghanistan by Pakistani planes to the firing of hundreds of rockets last month in Kunar and Nuristan, Pakistani forces have stepped up cross border action, MEMRI  said in a report.  It quoted Afghan officials  as saying the artillery and missile strikes backed by air intrusions were an “act of intrusion.”

 By August there had been 50 incidents of border violation by Pakistani forces, Afghan border police commander Aminullah Amarkhel said. He also made the startling claim that  Pakistani forces had established 16 checkpoints inside the territory of Afghanistan in the east, taken control of some parts and even offered offered citizenship to the local tribes. He said there was proof that Pakistan provided Pakistani citizenship cards to Afghans in the eastern border towns, particularly in Kunar and Nuristan provinces.

It’s hard to tell what is going on in the remote and rugged area straddling the two countries. Pakistan says it has legitimate security concerns with many of the militant groups fighting the state operating from sanctuaries just over the border in Afghanistan.  With foreign forces stretched and focused largely on securing the Afghan south, the eastern region was left largely uncovered, allowing militant groups to reconstitute themselves.  Indeed there is growing concern that some militant groups may have shifted their base from Pakistan’s Waziristan strongholds to provinces such as Kunar.

Pakistan has in recent months faced down attacks from groups of up to 400 militants crossing the border from Afghanistan. On Sunday, Pakistani soldiers killed 30 Afghan militants who had crossed the border to attack the Pakistani army, it said. One Pakistani soldier was killed and four were wounded in the latest frontier incident, which lasted close to an hour when  some 200 militants launched the attack. The Pakistani army says that with the Afghans and the foreign forces unable to crack down  on militant nests in the east, it risks losing the hard-fought gains made against them in offensives over the past few years on its side of the border.

Whatever the claims and the counter-claims,  what is indisputable is that ties between the two countries are rapidly deteriorating.  Tension has been high since Afghan officials accused Pakistan’s main intelligence agency of masterminding the September 20 assassination of Kabul’s chief peace negotiator with the Taliban. Pakistan strongly denied the allegations.

A strategic partnership agreement between India and Afghanistan  during President Hamid Karzai’s trip to New Delhi last week will further rankle Pakistan which has doing everything it can to limit Indian involvement in what it sees as its immediate sphere of influence. The agreement lifts the relationship to another level just as Islamabad’s ties with Kabul  nosedive. No longer will Indian involvement be confined to offering aid and development; it will also get involved in the training of Afghan security forces as they prepare to take over responsibilities from Western fores by 2014.

India was a great friend, while Pakistan was a twin brother, Karzai said trying to sooth ruffled feathers in Islamabad. 

At the moment, though, the brothers are looking dangerously estranged.


Wow why is the Western press always reporting anti Pakistan stories, its always a pro Afghanistan slant, why is that I wonder, does no one ever talk to the Pakistanis?

First of all there have been millions of Afghan refugees in Pakistan, getting a Pakistani ID or a passport is as easy as getting a US ID made in San Francisco in the hispanic side of town when I was underage. Many Afghans straddle the border and have both a Afghan citizenship and a Pakistani as they could be of the same tribe straddling both sides, so this is again poor journalism.

Secondly read any Pakistani paper and you would find out, that it is Afghan militants who since the last 4 or 5 months have been raiding Pakistani border outposts, using 200 men at a time, they attempt to overrun these 5-10 man posts, Pakistan has lost a lot of men and if anything have been asking NATO and ISAF to do something about it, reading this one sided article it seems, the opposite is true, wow! thats why I keep thinking wow! Is this how the media get a nation blacksheeped and then prepared for attack, I mean this is exactly what the US media did in preparation for the Iraq war.

The only problem is, Pakistan is no Iraq and with a very robust response system, they could in the face of open hostilities, cause very serious damage to the nascent Afghan forces, and the only beneficiaries would be the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Posted by truthtorpedo | Report as abusive

It is the Afghans attacking Pakistan, why does your paper lie?

take a look from reuters: 0/us-pakistan-afghanistan-attack-idUSTRE 7991P720111010

Posted by truthtorpedo | Report as abusive

The person who has developed this report seems to have very narrow view of things happening in this region. Pakistan is the one who has to face great losses of lives and resources even though the war was not directly imposed on us bu U.S. If Afghan forces, NATO and ISAF are so in trouble with the is invasion and so called intrusion why don’t they fenced their borders despite many appeals made by Pak government. It simply looks ridiculous rather hilarious to say that Pak forces are intruding then my question what Afghan militants attacks should be called? A meager effort by U.S and Afghan forces to establish their hold on Afghanistan even after 10 years?

Posted by M.Arif | Report as abusive

What is happening in Afghanistan and on itsborder with Paistan is nothing dramatic but the routine clashes which over the years in peace time have occured. Sanjiv, there is no panick and no vietnam type attacks. The Pashtuns tribes as well as the Afghan Govt. one of the proper Pashtoons uder Karzai, are not going to buy the spin organised by the USA administration, stating 2014 date as the withdrawl day. The yans are not going any where, they are in Iraq and they are in several other countries as the guardians of those Govts.

All the Pashtuns commanders who are seen on the cable networks were claiming that they are no longer receiving cash from the Americans and have no choice to join the resistance group, namely TALIBAN. Once again the Spectre of TALIBAN as a resistance not as a finqal Govt. is emerging. Mr arzai does not know the address of the TALIBAN and the foreigners are once again involved with indigenous groups who are no longer going to allow them to mve about on the roads without payment of road tax. So simple is the situation in Afghanistan. The groups are likely to group together eventual in their demands for cash. It is worth noting the followings in Hamid arzai statements to BBC reporter, who neither speaks Pashto language nor understand Pashtoon culture;

. Afghan investigators have established that corruption is instigated by foreign forces and not by Afghan officials. All contrctors and contracts are under the control of the foreigners.

. Afghan drug trade is controlled by the foreigners.

. Afghan force as well those of foreigners have failed to provide security for the Afghan civilians.

. Despite his personal repeated requess the training program for Afghn police and military started very late.

Mr Karzai also declared that he is not going to seek additional term in office and has been encouraging potentialy suitable candidates for the office.
My guess is that in case his next door brohers as he calls them, India will definitely grant him asylum. Not to forget that Hamid Karzai comes from a very prominent Pashtun tribe and is very respected and accepted as a leader by the non Pashtun powerful groups.

Pakistan military is a foreign force and has its own problems for their links to the USA admin. and CIA for playing a treachrous and then a disloyal one( says Adm Mullen. This sounds like Pakistan ISI has many Pashtuns among them.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

There are no militants on either side of the borde! Pashtun live on both sides of the border and the durand line drawn by the Brits is irrelevant and rightly not recognised by any Afghan Govt. Reconciliation is the call of our times and this can only occur when foreigners leave Afghanistan. The problem is that there are no more employment opportunities for the vetrans back home, Mr Obama is pleading but the congress is not yet playing the ball.

Rex Minor
Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

Well after all these years, now i can say that 9/11 and rest everything was a plot to isolate Pakistan, first by engaging Pakistan and forcing it to go on a war against the US created talibans, then they created an anti-Pakistan govt there forming its alliance with the anti-Pakistan country India and made Pakistan a Sandwich, now the western borders of Pakistan are not safe. US then shifted sides and I think US will now ask both the countries to wage a war against Pakistan. If this is not a planning to destroy Pakistans nuclear assets then what is it. In the ending phase of this war against terrorism US backed off and started posing as if its going in ressession and stopped all the war aid to economically destabilize Pakistan. Its again a US dual policy, when Pakistan did so much for those afghans then why in the end the afghans are turning against Pakistan. They should not forget that if they got freedom its because of Pakistan. US has a strong history to show back to their allies.

Posted by Abdul_Basit | Report as abusive

Though I do respect the intelligent opinions of the others who have posted, I do not think that violence without dialogue is the answer. Pakistan and Afghanistan have much more in common than differences except in the extremism that exists in both countries. If extremism rules, then intelligence does not and dialogue is only in the form of bombs, suicides, death, and it is always the innocents who pay the price. Dialogue is silenced when others are coerced to keep silent and “obey” someone else’s belief’s whether it is from “god” they believe in or their personal or tribe’s agenda which is usually money or honor. Agenda’s other than peace are for the benefit of the few and not for life and freedom from oppression to all the people.

Both sides have their faults that can easily be pointed out in truth. But it is not the differences but the commonality that must first be approached and then reconciliation can begin. Guns and bombs first is not how to make “friends” or “brothers” but is the way to bury the innocent and the “brainwashed” while sowing the seeds of mutual destruction.

A life in fear is a life in “hell”. Yet, that is what the road that is currently traveled is heading – straight to that which none wish.

I do not advocate surrender of one to another in the form of forced slavery in fear. Do not fear but be wise and truthful while cautious in dealing with an adversary so that you may win them in reconciliation to be your partner and not your enemy.

Posted by NeverSurrender | Report as abusive

The USA has lost the moral compass, there are no more leaders or potential leaders around who have a vision for the young Nation which became a super power.

It is sad but the course it is now embarked does not reflect the dream of Dr king or Bobby kennedy. It is going back to mafiosi style using tortures, extra judicial assasinations and the use of drones on civilians in foreign countries.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

US was a great country, it was the country that has helped others when they are in trouble, by paying money and resources. But since the govt got the trust of their people and since the american people stopped questioning them. The govt and those running it became the only beneficiaries of the reaping, that are earned by the people after years of effort. What they only need right now is limiting their imports, this will initially cause the prices to peak but it will eventually keep people from buying them, and then only the people will realize that there are thing that are not necessity and they can live without them, thats the only thing that can help US from draining its money to international markets. I have been shouting on the blogs and websites for years that americans should save their money. they should learn to save. Their govt has started so many wars at different fronts that the govt is loosing all its money in the battlefield, atleast the americans should have theirs, instead of depositing them in the overseas accounts of apple, microsoft and other big corps.

concerns for US

Dr. Abdul Basit

Posted by Abdul_Basit | Report as abusive

As far as Af-Pak relations are concerned, its not a big deal for US to make it better, why they are making these two countries hostile. I think just a one week session of discussion could lead to some place good. Why do all the countries have to fight each other to find a solution. I am amazed that Indian and Pakistani army are on top 4th and 5th place in the top ten biggest armies. Now i can see afghanistan competing these two. When there are weapons there definitely is a war. Somebody (some country) please stop them from developing weapons and show them the bright side.

Posted by Abdul_Basit | Report as abusive

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