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Tit-for-tat response to Pakistan raids urged

Tit-for-tat response to Pakistan raids urged

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On
Oct 07, 2012 - 18:08

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): Some political analysts say now is the time for the Karzai government to come up with a tit-for-tat response to cross-border incursions into eastern Afghanistaninfo-icon from Pakistani soil.

Last week, senior defence officials warned if the shelling issue was not resolved through bilateral negotiations, Afghan forces would target the areas from where the attacks originated.

The warning came during a visit to the Goshta border district of Nangarhar province by ministers of defence and interior and the deputy chief of the National Directorate of Security.

Dr. Naqibullah Faiq, a member of the lower house of parliament, civil societyinfo-icon activist and lecturer Latif Nazari and Ismatullah Qani, a journalist and political analyst, thoroughly discussed the border tiff at a roundtable conference.

The suggestion was floated at the weekly radio/TV programme Your Voice, a joint initiative of the Killid media group and its partners -- Pajhwok Afghan News and Saba Media Organistaion -- within the newly-created Afghanistan Independent Media Consortium.

The consortium was launched last March to offer a platform for media outlets and civil society groups to express their views on the major issues facing the country.

Faiq said the Afghan government had met legal formalities by making diplomatic efforts and taking the dispute to the UN Security Council. Now is the time for the third step, a counterattack on Pakistaninfo-icon, to protect the citizens and the country’s integrity.

He characterised the row as long-running, with the neighbours involved in propaganda against each other, verbal clashes and recriminations. “There is also talk of a strategic pact with Pakistan. Afghan officials should be very cautious about such a deal.”

Faiq described the warning from the defence and interior ministers as the right move, which was in line with people’s expectations.

But Nazari suggested a stepped-up diplomatic campaign, including efforts to convince international representatives in the country of Pakistan’s aggression. The Karzai administration, currently in the thick of the war on terror, had to contend with other challenges as well, he remarked.

He urged the government to make good neighbourliness a central part of its foreign policy to prevent interference from Pakistan. He faulted official claims that diplomacy had failed to address the problem and said an amicable resolution needed more efforts.

For his part, Qani called artillery shelling by the Pakistan army a game that hurt the interests of both nations and benefitted international powers.

He also proposed a diplomatic drive to resolve the dispute. However, he blamed the government for failing to frame an effective foreign policy for talking out differences with neighbours.

“There Afghan government, which is an amalgam of agents of regional spy networks, cannot pursue the right kind of diplomacy with them,” Qani continued.

Over the last six months, Pakistan has been shelling border areas in Kunar province, killing 50 people, destroying hundreds of civilian houses and displacing a large number of families.

mnm/mud

 

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