Pakistan should end support of terror groups

The United States and the international community have accused Pakistan of sponsoring militant groups in Afghanistan and Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir for decades- a charge Pakistan vehemently denies. Pakistan does, in fact, support three prominent jihadi militant groups in Jammu and Kashmir: the Hizb ul Mujahedeen, Lashkare Taiba, and Jaish e Mohammad, even though these groups are officially banned by the Pakistani government.
The United States has also routinely criticized Pakistan for supporting the Taliban and Haqqani Network (a U.S.-designated terrorist group), both of which frequently attack U.S. troops and Afghan forces in Afghanistan.
Addressing reporters in Davos, Switzerland on Thursday, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said Pakistan continues to give sanctuary to the Haqqani Network that is involved in attacks on US and Afghan security forces.
The remarks from president Ghani, who was in Davos to attend the World Economic Forum, contradict Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s claim of eliminating all terrorist outfits.
“And you believe him. One can also say the earth does not revolve around the sun. This is a denial that is not helpful,” the president told reporters, adding there was a need for a constructive engagement where the special relation between the Taliban and Pakistan ends. “It is good for both countries and it is good for the region and the world.”
US President Donald Trump has rebuked Pakistan, inflaming an already tense relationship when he tweeted about decades of U.S. aid to Pakistan with “nothing but lies & deceit” in return. The Trump administration subsequently reduced security and military aid to Pakistan, campaigned to add Pakistan to an intergovernmental watch list for terrorism financing, and imposed sanctions on seven Pakistani firms involved in prohibited nuclear activities.
Unfortunately, these policies are unlikely to be effective in Chan behavior. Pakistan’s military establishment and intelligence agencies consider militant sponsorship an important mechanism for maintaining Pakistan’s sovereignty and national identity. Pakistan’s civilian institutions, too, have evolved to facilitate militant sponsorship by routinely legitimizing expansive executive powers, limiting judicial oversight, and violating civil liberties in the name of the national interest.
Although Afghanistan has made notable progress in every sector since 2001, the country remains the regional and global frontline in the fight against terrorism, narcotics, and criminality. Scores of Afghan combatant and non-combatants have been killed in war on terror in last two decades. This is a heart-wrenching price Afghans are daily paying because of a lack of regional consensus on the long-term stabilization and sustainable development of Afghanistan.
The country’s neighbors fail to act on the fact that a stable Afghanistan ensures and enables a stable region. Even though consensus on the need to stabilize Afghanistan often emerges in rhetoric, it hardly translates into tangible results for achieving durable peace, which the Afghan people desire, deserve, and demand the most.
Afghanistan rejects duplicity and selectivity in defining terrorism. This means that regional counterterrorism efforts must mirror those of national counterterrorism action plans adopted for implementation by Afghanistan’s neighbors, including Pakistan.
The Taliban must also realize that they cannot win militarily. The way forward shouldn’t be more of the same: violence and bloodshed. Instead, Afghans’ message to them is clear: That the Afghan government and people want peace; that they seek to achieve peace through direct talks with the authoritative leadership of the Taliban; and that the best venue for their face-to-face peace talks is in Afghanistan or at a location mutually acceptable to both sides.

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