Border tensions a major challenge to Pakistani-Afghan ties

By Syed Ali Hassan
Iran Daily’s correspondent in Pakistan

The Pakistani Taliban launched a coordinated attack on a non-Muslim populated area in northern Pakistan’s Chilās, resulting in casualties on both sides. Security agencies in Pakistan have since gained control of the area, forcing the Pakistani Taliban to retreat toward the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
Following a military operation against the Taliban in the mountainous Kailash region along the border, officials claim that the situation is now under control and no longer poses a threat.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani described the terrorist attacks in the Chitral district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as an isolated event, stating that they do not believe the Afghan government approved of it.
However, in the aftermath of the Chitral incident, an exchange of fire between border forces of Pakistan and Afghanistan at Torkham in the Khyber district resulted in injuries and the closure of the busiest trade route between the two countries. Pakistani authorities assert that Afghanistan initiated the firing.
The Torkham border, a vital passage for Afghan trade, has remained closed for the past three days as officials from both nations engage in negotiations to ease border tensions.
This is not the first time that the Pakistani Taliban have targeted the non-Muslim Kalashis population, as a similar attack occurred in 2018, raising concerns for the Muslim Ismaili sect within Chitral.
Deputy Commissioner for Lower Chitral, Muhammad Ali, has deployed additional personnel in the area to ensure the security of the people and the protection of tourists.
The presence of the Pakistani Taliban along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border is seen as a security threat to Pakistan, with allegations that they receive support from the Afghan Taliban, who currently control Kabul. It is claimed that the Afghan Taliban are supplying weapons left behind by the US in Afghanistan to the Pakistani Taliban.
In light of strained relations between the two countries, Pakistani Foreign Minister Jilani’s statement that the Afghan Taliban were not involved in planning the attack on Chitral indicates that Pakistan continues its diplomatic efforts to curb Afghan Taliban support for the Pakistani Taliban. This comes despite Pakistan’s previous accusations of the Kabul government supporting the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.

Date archive