Gen Raheel’s sincerity to solving Afghan imbroglio

(Eschmall Sardar, Peshawar)

President Ashraf Ghani took over with a renewed spirit and a vow to take a course of reconciliation with Pakistan, unlike his predecessor Hamid Karzai. Officials in Islamabad and diplomats in the enclave were happily surprised to receive goodwill gestures but soon this impression turned into a disappointment. His government became a victim of politico-administrative paralysis. Lack of cohesiveness amongst the government functionaries and political setup is visible.

Two powerful suicide bomb attacks on the Hazaras protest rally, which killed over 80 and injured more than 150 Shi’ites hailing from Northern Afghanistan, are indicative of the rising influence of the ISIS in the country. The ISIS claimed the responsibility while the Taliban denied their involvement, which shows that the elements of Islamic State (IS) have already succeeded in making inroads in Afghanistan.

The Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah-led leadership generally resorts to unsubstantiated blame game against Pakistan. Afghanistan’s Ambassador in Islamabad has in his press talks repeated the blames. In his Jirga with Saleem Safi of Geo TV, President Ashraf Ghani repeated the same charges, saying Afghanistan has acted against the terrorists but Pakistan has not targeted the Afghan Taliban who are enjoying sanctuaries inside Pakistan. India-influenced lobby has always rubbed the salt by fomenting propaganda against Pakistan and by using the Afghan soil for augmenting its nefarious agenda against Pakistan and China through NDS-RAW nexus.

On the other hand, Pakistan continues facilitating the Afghan peace process under the Quadrilateral Coordination Group meetings. Pakistan has made genuine efforts to promote peace talks at official and internationally recognized levels. The Afghan Army has not fully gained the capability to act as a cohesive combat force capable of holding the territory without the aerial and intelligence support. The attack on peaceful protesters in Kabul — who were mostly from the Hazara ethnic minority — stirred an international outcry, in part because it was the first time that the Islamic State’s leadership in Syria had claimed responsibility for such a deadly strike.

According to reliable sources in Kabul, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif phoned President Ashraf Ghani and while condemning the attacks condemning the heinous act in categorical terms. The General reportedly offered all kind of help to fight the new wave of terrorism reportedly sponsored by ISIS. The Afghan President thanked the Army Chief for his telephone call and condolences. According to analysts Pakistan is playing its due role towards bringing peace in the region. Pakistan has taken all possible measures to flush out extremist groups. But the fact remains that the terrorist incidents in Afghanistan have increased manifold with simultaneous increase in the malicious blame game. Quiet stance of Pakistan on Afghan fault lines and negativities should be considered a sober silence and not a weakness. The Afghan authorities must positively respond to Pakistan’s initiatives and Gen Raheel Sharif’s sincerity towards resolving the Afghan imbroglio.

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