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Combating Terrorism: A Shared Responsibility

by Mansoor Khan
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Terrorism has brought immense challenges to our region. Let’s look back: In 1979, Russia occupied Afghanistan, sparking a decade-long struggle. Then, in 2001, the US and its allies intervened. Both times, Pakistan chose to support Afghanistan, bearing heavy losses. We aided Afghan fighters and hosted refugees, even as financial losses exceeded $100 billion and we mourned 80,000 martyrs. The Afghan refugee count has swelled since 1979.

Pakistan extended a helping hand by hosting Afghan refugees, providing livelihoods, and sending wheat unofficially. Despite this, terrorism grew in 2007, primarily in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, later spreading to other areas. Terrorists found refuge in Afghanistan, after escaping tribal regions. While the Afghan Taliban’s spokesperson denied supporting terrorism, facts differ. After the US exit, the Taliban claimed valuable weaponry left behind, creating concerns.

Terrorism targeted Balochistan, with the CPEC as a prime focus. Removing foreign forces from Afghanistan aligns with Pakistan’s interests, aiming for regional stability and shared economic growth. The Afghan Taliban’s rise hindered such hopes. General Asim Munir stressed eradicating terrorism.

As the Taliban seized Kabul in 2021, Pakistani leaders welcomed a stable neighbor. The nation vowed not to let its soil aid terrorism. Afghan-linked terrorists targeted Bajaur. UN reports reveal 20 such groups in Afghanistan, with the TTP closely linked to the Taliban.

Afghanistan relies on Pakistan, China, and Iran for its connections. These nations should pressure Afghanistan to halt terrorist and adhere to the Doha Agreement before further agreements are reached. The TTP’s reach isn’t limited to Pakistan; neighboring countries might suffer too. The vast, porous border region requires Pakistan and Iran to collaborate on securing this area against terrorism.

In the pursuit of peace and prosperity, combating terrorism is a shared duty. The nations of our region must unite to ensure that terrorists find no sanctuary on our soil, fostering security, development, and harmony for all.

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