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Pak-Afghan peace and prosperity – Pakistan Today

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Two horrible attacks on May 12, the one inside the maternity ward of a Kabul hospital and the other a suicide bombing on a funeral gathering in Nangarhar province dealt US President Donald Trump’s push for Afghan peace a fresh blow. The attacks however galvanised Afghan politicians who forced President Ghani and former Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah to reach a power-sharing deal, something that the USA had tried for months but failed to achieve. The understanding has dispelled the fears of yet another conflict in Afghanistan.

With the Trump Administration soon to get bogged down in the presidential campaign the quartet comprising China, Russia, Pakistan and Iran  has entered the stage to help broker peace in war-torn Afghanistan. Three of the countries share borders with Afghanistan while Russia has a centuries-old history of interaction with Kabul. All the four countries have suffered from terrorism to various degrees and are determined to root it out. The Afghan imbroglio will however test their combined diplomatic skills to the maximum. The biggest problem would be to take a highly divided Afghan administration along. While a power sharing deal is already in place in Kabul, there is no guarantee of the entrenched policy disagreements and mutual mistrust not bursting out with force. Helping to settle differences between the Afghan administration and Taliban will pose another crucial challenge.

The lawlessness in Afghanistan has helped a number of terrorist groups set up safe havens in the country and use its soil as a spring board to launch attacks inside neighbouring countries. The persisting differences between Pakistan and Afghanistan facilitate the movement of groups like the IS, the TTP, the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and the banned Baloch outfits from one side of the Durand Line to another. KP’s police chief told media the other day that militants trained in Afghanistan are reorganising in Swat. Pakistan will remain insecure in the absence of an understanding with Afghanistan that leads to joint operations against all terrorist groups.

Pakistan has done well to waive restrictions on Afghan exports. Enhanced trade between the two countries is the need of the time, all the more so during the coronavirus crisis. What is more, it is a way to create mutual dependencies that would encourage the joint struggle against terrorism.

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