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Cooperation With Pakistan is the Key for Afghanistan

After the US President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan by 9/11, the impact on regional security and the role of key players in the region, including Pakistan, cannot go unnoticed.
Pakistan supported the Afghan jihad as a frontline and closest ally of the United States after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. This was a time when millions of Afghans fleeing war and destruction in the country took refuge in Pakistan, which still shelters some three million Afghan refugees despite Pakistan’s own economic woes.
Although Afghanistan and Pakistan have much in common, such as a long border, a common religion, language and culture on both sides of the border and reliance on each other in key economic and security matters; but relations between the two neighbors have never been as favorable. Regarding these inconsistencies and disorders in the mutual relations between the two neighboring countries, there are different angles and views that it is impossible to address and summarize in one article; but it remains an undeniable fact that both countries will always remain neighbors.
Although the governments of both countries have failed to establish acceptable bilateral relations, millions of Afghan refugees still formally or illegally prefer Pakistan as their second home. Tens of thousands of Afghan children and youth are educated in Pakistani schools, universities and religious schools, and thousands of citizens are involved in legal or illegal businesses in that country.
In any case, it is not appropriate for the two countries, given their special geopolitical and geo-economic importance, to ignore each other’s importance. Pakistan is the junction of South Asia, West Asia and Central Asia and borders the Arabian Sea – the Indian Ocean – and is of particular importance as an important hub for the transit trade of Afghanistan, China and Central Asia. Although Afghanistan is a landlocked country, it has long been considered the gateway to the great civilizations of India, China and Persia. For Pakistan, Afghanistan is also an important neighbor with whom it has strong historical ties and common destiny.
No other country contributes more than Pakistan to peace and stability in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s historic role in the success of the inter-Afghan talks in Doha has been recognized by the international community. Pakistan remains committed to an Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process led by Afghanistan to a comprehensive, negotiated political agreement.
Moreover, peace and stability in Afghanistan are a precondition for exploiting the region’s economic potential. Regional cooperation and energy connection projects can only bear fruit when there is peace and stability in Afghanistan. That is why Pakistan is providing scholarships to thousands of young Afghans in their efforts to rebuild Afghanistan in various fields, including the construction of hospitals, the Pantheon building.
Recently, five border crossings have been opened to facilitate bilateral trade between the two countries. The signing of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity in 2018 is another mechanism for broad interaction between the two countries, covering the full range of bilateral relations. First of all both the countries, particularly Afghanistan, needs to reach a final decision regarding Durand Line and recognize it as the international border between Pakistan and Afghanistan as it has been legalized, formalized and institutionalized by the ruling elites of Afghanistan since the Sikhs and the British government.
Pakistan has already completed the wiring of 90% of the border with Afghanistan, and the remaining work will be completed by the end of the year to control illegal border crossings and drug trafficking. Further cooperation between both the countries can help solve other issues related to cross-border terrorism and economic hardships.
As one of the world’s nuclear powers and a key player in the regional politics and future of Afghanistan, cooperation with Pakistan seems to be of paramount importance, and the sooner Afghanistan realizes this fact, the better it is for its survival and development.
(Sahar News)

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