1. The political situation in the region in the region has become highly volatile after the US policy statements about Pakistan and induction of more forces in Afghanistan. Pakistan military leadership has strongly contested the US views and criticism of supporting the terror groups.
- Top military brass of Pakistan has categorically asked for collective efforts towards peace rather blaming Pakistan for the world and US follies. This is obviously the correct approach, as sixteen years of war has not yielded peace in the region and further induction of troops will not contribute positively.
- President Ghani statement for talks with Pakistan is a positive omen and if pursued in letter and spirit will contribute positively. Both countries have to resolve the matters keeping own interests in mind. Any foreign imposed solution will not work for long.
- Referring to Sayyaf that sidelining the Mujahideen is not a correct approach while discussing the peace efforts, must be taken in positive perspective. Erstwhile leaders and the warlords do carry weight in today’s Afghan politics. Solutions without taking them on board are not possible.
- The anti-Taliban group has to keep in view that total defeat of Taliban through fighting in near future is not evident nor has the fighting resulted in peace. Therefore, a negotiated settlement is the answer to the conflict. Calling Taliban a terrorist, as stated by Abdullah, is not leading to resolve, neither is blaming Pakistan.
- Water treaties between the neighboring states are a need in today’s scenario, as the global environment is leading towards scarcity of resources, especially consumables. Pakistan must play smart and learn from the previous mistakes of Pak-India water disputes.
2. The security situation in Afghanistan is not encouraging, the intensity of Taliban attacks and security operations/ bombing by the government/ US indicates the gravity of lawlessness. In specific terms.
- The anti-government armed militants are actively operating in its various districts and often carry out insurgency activities, mainly in the districts lying along the highway connecting Kabul with the southeastern and southern provinces. Kabul- Kandahar- Herat crescent highway is the main trade/ passenger route and is not safe for travel due to Taliban influence in astride the route.
- Nangarhar is among the relatively calm provinces in eastern Afghanistan but the anti-government armed militant groups have recently increased their insurgency activities in some parts of the province during the recent years. Presence of militancy in adjoining Northern provinces of Kunar and Nooristan has resulted in spillover effects. In the meantime, operations led by the Afghan forces in coordination with the US forces based in Afghanistan are underway against the ISIS loyalists in this province.
- ISIS (K) militant activities are on the rise and are a serious threat. This is not the first time the loyalists of the ISIS terrorist group have captured and executed people in the areas under their control. During such incidents, ordinary people have been captured and executed on suspicion of working or spying for the government.
- The suicide attempt on the life of Qazi Amin Waqad, a senior member of Hezb-e-Islami party led by Gulbadin Hekmatyar, comes as the party has recently adopted a very strict stance against the militant groups in the country, specifically the Taliban insurgents. More attempts may take place in times to come as Taliban have gained strength over the years.
3. The insecurity has raised stakes for the internal and external players. The fresh US plans for induction of troops and intended additional powers of engagement to lower commanders may contribute towards excesses. Afghanistan is not moving towards immediate peace rather another long war is in the offing.
4. On the political front, the leadership needs to play wisely in order to quash the internal differences rather than supporting the conspiracies and airing the differences. Leaders at the helm of affairs must also look towards a political resolution and settlements within and outside the country.