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Pakistan, Afghan Taliban turning from friends to arch enemies: Report

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Islamabad | May 7, 2022 11:55:42 PM IST
Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban, who for long were the closest of allies, are now increasingly facing the prospect of getting involved in a war of attrition over their Islamist terrorism policies that have now come to haunt both of them, a report said.

Pakistan is now eager to wash its hands off the links with terror groups it supported and gave shelter to in the last few decades. In Pakistan, at the same time, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), sheltered in the inaccessible hilly terrains of Afghanistan, is planning attacks inside Pakistan, International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS) reported.

In recent months, the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISIS-K) is creating mayhem inside Afghanistan as it targets the Taliban, the report said.

Both countries and their governments are confronting each other over the resultant violence. They are blaming each other for encouraging the terrorist groups to attack the other side, the report said.

The terror groups that have close links with state agencies on both sides have now become Frankensteins neither Pakistan nor Afghanistan want to pamper any longer. But they find their hands ties for several reasons, the report further said.

This year's Ramzan period was particularly violent with suicide bombers targeting civilians and religious places in both countries, the report said, adding, the last such incident was a powerful explosion at the Khalifa Sahib Mosque in the west of Kabul that killed over 50 worshippers.

The ruling Taliban was quick to counter global criticism that it had failed to secure the country because it was still supporting terrorist groups in Afghanistan, the report said.

The Taliban backs the Pashtun demand for Pashtunistan, as claimed largely by "Pashtun Taliban". It encompasses a large area of Pakistani territory south of Kabul including Pakhtunkhwa (formerly the North West Frontier Province or NWFP) inhabited by their ethnic clansmen, thereby taking their long-standing homeland claims to the municipal limits of Islamabad, the report further said.

The confrontation between the two countries has increased after the fencing work was taken up. Afghanistan says the fence affects the daily lives of families living on both sides of the border.

The farmers whose lands straddle the border also face problems. Same is the case with traders who make a living by exporting food products and other items from Afghanistan to Pakistan and vice-versa.

There is tension at the border after Taliban soldiers last December disrupted the fence construction work by the Pakistan military. The situation was not allowed to escalate with both sides backing down subsequently, the report said.

However, this January, a Taliban commander, Mawillawi Sanaullah Sangin, issued a warning to Pakistan. He was quoted by Afghanistan's Tolo News as saying: "We (the Taliban) will not allow the fencing anytime, in any form. Whatever they did before, they did, but we will not allow it anymore."

With the strained relations over the border fencing, the Taliban openly backing the demand for Pashtunistan, and Pakistan and Afghanistan both experiencing terrorist attacks, the region is literally sitting on a powder keg, the report concluded. (ANI)

 
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