The convergence of interest

Regional countries and major powers have to collaborate to defeat terrorists


The regional countries that border Afghanistan as well as the major powers need to collaborate to bring peace and restore stability in Afghanistan. Several groups of Islamic terrorists uprooted from FATA as a result of Operation Zarb-e-Azb have taken shelter inside Afghanistan. Having been badly mauled during the Operation, TTP, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, ISIS, al-Qaeda and several others have formed an alliance of convenience to continue the attacks. There are strong apprehensions regarding the ISIS in Iraq and Syria transferring the bulk its remaining fighters and resources to Afghanistan. The Afghan security forces – lacking an effective air force and already under pressure from battle hardened Afghan Taliban – would find it hard to stop the onslaught on their own.


The threat has both regional and international dimensions. The terrorists will try to infiltrate Pakistan. Indian media has reported the presence of Indian volunteers in ISIS camps inside Afghanistan while ISIS activists recruiting volunteers in India have also been apprehended. There is thus a need for regional understanding which will be possible only through initiation of dialogue between the countries to resolve the issues that divide them. High level functionaries from Pakistan and Afghanistan have already met in London. The next round of talks needs to take place soon. Increasing tensions between India and Pakistan leading to military confrontation suit the militants. Now that the Indian election process is almost over the two countries need to resume talks to resolve crucial differences as suggested by Pakistan’s ambassador in India.


As groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda have a global reach, they constitute a global threat requiring an understanding between the US, Russia and China. Pakistan, being the neighbour of Afghanistan, can play a crucial role in dealing a death blow to the emerging terrorist alliance provided the three countries agree to collaborate. The statement by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping holds out a promise. Hopefully when the two Presidents meet in Florida early next month, they would reach an agreement among other things on jointly combating the terrorist threat in Afghanistan.


The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected]