The first step in resolving the insurgency in Afghanistan is not negotiation with the Taliban but addressing the cross-border issues with Pakistan, said the International Crisis Group (ICG) in an interview with TOLOnews this week.
ICG senior analyst in Afghanistan Candace Rondeaux said there would be no insurgency if there was no conflict between the two neighbours.
“The first agenda of any negotiation process is not the Taliban, but the relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan. That is number one,” Rondeaux said.
“If you cannot resolve the issues of the Durand Line, if you cannot resolve the issue of cross-border trade, then there is no end to this war. There would be no insurgency if you did not have the problems that you do at the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.”
“Clearly there’s an issue, a problem with the Pakistan government, with the military, that needs to be resolved. One of the things that people need to understand looking at the conflict in this region is that this war is as much as civil war internally inside Afghanistan as it is a regional war between states, and particularly between Pakistan and Afghanistan. And it has been for a very long time,” she told TOLOnews on Monday.
The analyst said the past inaction of the Afghan government on the matter of the cross-border shelling was a shame given that it has been happening for some time.
“The reality is cross-border operations have been going on between the two countries now for a couple of years and I think that the people in Kunar and Nuristan are very aware of this. They have been suffering quietly until very recently many lives have been lost in these places, in these two provinces in particular.”
“It is only just now when the Pakistanis are becoming more aggressive that the Afghan government has decided to respond. I think that’s a shame, I think that’s a real big shame for the Karzai regime that it’s taken this long for them to recognise the threat in these areas,” the analyst said.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai said in an official address last week that the Afghan government will never carry out military attacks on regions beyond the border into Pakistan.
“We will never ever attack from this side of Durand Line the villages and houses of the people beyond it. We consider those houses and the villages as our tribe, our people,” he said October 4.
Pakistan is accused of permitting almost two years of artillery and rocket attacks into eastern parts of Afghanistan with Afghan provincial governments estimating as many as 5,000 rockets have been fired into Afghanistan.