The Afghan-Pakistan conflict has a long history. It goes back in history dating several decades. There have been multiple factors that have driven this conflict which include complex political, ethnic, and cultural differences – and on top of that, we have geo-political differences. In this article, we will explore the various conflicts between the two nations in detail and reasons behind them.
The history of Conflict
The first significant conflict between Pakistan and Afghanistan occurred in the1976. It was when the communist leaning government in Afghanistan. It was aided and funded by the Soviet Union. This challenged Pakistan’s territorial claims along their shared border. This claim had a lot to do with the cultural history that Afghanistan and Pakistan shared. Afghanistan, a primarily Pashtun land. While Pakistan has more number of Pashtuns in KPK area. The claim by communist Afghan government led to a series of clashes between the two countries. Hence Pakistan ultimately supported the Afghan Mujahideen in their fight against the Soviet-backed government.
Impact of cold war and taliban
The relations and conflict only got worse in late 1980s. It was when US started providing support to the Afghan Mujahideen. It was its strategy to counter the Soviet influence. US sent an increased number of weapons and money to the pashtun fighters. These were not only ideologically but also ethnically tribal. And with this, the conflict only got worse.
During the 1990s, after the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan, the country fell into a state of civil war. Pakistan, along with several other countries, supported the Taliban in their efforts to gain control of the country, while Afghanistan’s Northern Alliance, which was supported by Iran, India, and Russia, opposed the Taliban.
Pakistan’s self interests
Pakistan’s support for the Taliban was largely driven by its own strategic interests. The country saw the Taliban as a means of countering the influence of India. And as a way of ensuring that Afghanistan remained a friendly neighbour. However, this support also contributed to the rise of extremist groups within Pakistan itself.
The september 11
The conflict in Afghanistan escalated further following the September 11th attacks. The United States launched a military campaign against the Taliban. It also included other militant groups operating in Afghanistan. With this Pakistan became a key ally of the United States in its fight against Al Qaeda.
However, tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan continued to simmer. This happened with each accusing the other of supporting militant groups and seeking to destabilise the region. The border between the two countries remained porous, and militants were able to move freely across the border, launching attacks on both sides.
efforts for peace
There have also been efforts to promote peace between the two countries. In 2010, Pakistan and Afghanistan signed the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement. It aimed to improve trade relations. The following year, the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG). It is comprising Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, and the United States. It was established to help facilitate peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government.
The taliban offensive
However, these efforts have largely been unsuccessful. And the conflict in Afghanistan has continued to escalate. The Taliban has regrouped and launched a renewed offensive. It has taken control of all portions of the country following the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces in 2021.
Deeply concerning state of Afghanistan
The situation in Afghanistan is deeply concerning. It’s not just for the Afghan but for the entire region. The country remains a haven for extremists. Including Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. Who are able to operate with impunity due to the lack of effective governance and security. The continued conflict also poses a threat to regional stability. With neighbouring countries such as Pakistan and Iran at risk of being drawn into the conflict.
It is essential that there is greater cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Both countries must work together. It will help to address the underlying issues driving the conflict. This including poverty. Corruption,. And political instability. They must also work together to promote economic development. Most importantly improve infrastructure. It can help to create jobs and improve living standards for the people of the region.