Kabul’s Disappointing Move

Oct 12, 2017
Despite some hopeful signs of reconciliation between Afghanistan and Pakistan, it seems that the never-ending blame game that both countries are embroiled in will never stop. A good trade agreement between both countries would benefit both- but it seems distrust supersedes economic and developmental gains.
Kabul has unilaterally put off a meeting of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Coordination Authority (APTTCA), a medium to help ease the implementation of a revised transit treaty. This backing off comes at a time when relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan seemed to be improving, with both parties willing to co-operate in Quadrilateral peace talks with the Taliban, China and the United States (U.S).
It is notable that APTTCA had not been going well over the last few years, with Afghanistan frequently creating delays and this ineffectiveness often badly affected trade between the two countries. Afghanistan’s hostile move now is likely to be further damaging to both nations if this impasse continues-on trade and on a political font as well. Pakistan’s exports to Afghanistan had reached an all-time high of $2. 4bn in 2010-11 but as relations have worsened and talks broken down, exports to Afghanistan dropped by a significant 27 percent. Deteriorating relations also hit Afghanistan badly, with Pakistan’s closing of the border causing the Afghan transit and Afghan traders to suffer heavy demurrage, detention and over stay charges.
Afghanistan has had its contentions with Pakistan, and some rightfully so. India has always been a looming figure souring Afghan-Pak relations, with the previous deadlock between Afghanistan and Pakistan was due to Kabul’s insistence that India should be included in bilateral and trilateral agreements. Afghanistan’s accusing Pakistan of implicitly supporting the Afghan Taliban is another constant point of conflict. However, it is disappointing on why Afghanistan would pull a hostile move now, after conciliatory gestures and talk of cooperation from the Afghanistan government.
Afghanistan needs to realize that scape-goating Pakistan for all the devastations it has suffered is not accurate and that in the past few years, Kabul is also actively acted against Pakistan despite peace talks, with arrest of Pakistani diplomatic staff and the leaking of the news that Mullah Umar is dead, a move that granted the Taliban an upper hand and majorly compromised peace in Central Asia. The visit of Ashraf Ghani to Pakistan could be a landmark visit and a new step in Pak-Afghan relations, thus, he needs to sort out the contradictions in his government’s policy before arriving.
Nation, October 12, 2017

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