Kabul and Islamabad: Friends or Foes?

April 16, 2013 2:18 pm9 commentsViews: 36

Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have cooled. But they are an important factor for stability in the region after the withdrawal of international troops in 2014.


Since the creation of Pakistan in late 1947 the relationship with neighboring Afghanistan is marked by recurring conflicts. The fluidity in the relationship shown in the peace talks with the radical Islamic Taliban.

In November 2012, it had looked good – Kabul and Islamabad gave a conciliatory and gave assurances of mutual support in negotiations for peace with the Taliban. A few days ago but was back to the air out.

talibanThe Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced for the first time, it would alone lead talks with the Taliban. Until recently, the Afghan Foreign Ministry was still convinced that the help of Pakistan was necessary to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table. But in early April, accused the ministry spokesman, Janan Musazai, Islamabad, to sabotage the peace talks and interested in only one influence in Afghanistan to be.

Jochen Hippler, Afghanistan expert at the Institute for Development and Peace (INEF) of the University of Duisburg-Essen, sees this attitude Kabul critical. For it is not going it alone in peace with the Taliban is possible: “You can not stabilize Afghanistan without Pakistan is in the boat – and you can not stabilize Pakistan without that Afghanistan is stable, the dispute is a major setback”.


Historically embossed mistrust

The disputes it is always about how to deal with the Taliban on both sides of the border. Pakistan accuses Afghanistan to let the Afghan Taliban to infiltrate across the border into Pakistan. In response, Pakistan shoots missiles on the Afghan side – ostensibly to fight against the radical Islamists there.Afghanistan again accused Pakistan, the Taliban in neighboring give long a breeding ground for the development. The Pakistani intelligence service had in the years of his reign in 2007 assassinated Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto supported the Taliban – with the aim to destabilize Afghanistan.

The imprecise and difficult to control borderline prepares two countries headache. Some 2500 kilometer demarcation line is for 120 years as a common boundary.

waziristan-borderThe so-called Durand Line was decided in 1893 between the then Afghan ruler Abdur Rahman Khan and Sir Henry Mortimer Durand, foreign minister of British India. They divided the traditional settlement area of ​​the Pashtuns and circumcised Afghanistan by about one third of its territory. Afghanistan to recognize the Durand Line today not as the official border. On Monday (15.04.2013) called on Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Pakistan, remove recently established border posts along the Durand line, because they were not coordinated with his government. “They contradict the international border arrangements and affect relations,” said General Zahir Azimi, spokesman for the Ministry of Defence. He added that Afghanistan will use all possibilities to remove the items and to protect Afghanistan’s sovereignty.

The Pakistani journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai therefore provides a historical mistrust coined as the reason for the fluctuating mood between Afghanistan and Pakistan. “The mistrust leads to small events can trigger large voltages, and that there is a tendency to mutual accusations,” said Yusufzai.

On top of that Pakistan was the only country besides Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which in 1996 recognized the Taliban government in Afghanistan diplomatically. Only after the attacks of 11 September 2001, and under pressure from the United States distanced itself Pakistan. The so-called Quetta Shura, the core organization of the Afghan Taliban, is located in the Pakistani city of Quetta.


Triangular relationship with India

hamid-karzai-in-indiaThis connection requires the Afghan government of Pakistan to take part in relation to the withdrawal of foreign troops in 2014 to actively participate in peace efforts with the Taliban. But Pakistan is conditions like Masood Akhtar, former Pakistani officer and expert explains international relations: “Pakistan is on it, that Afghanistan signed a strategic agreement with Pakistan, which determines what happens after 2014 contain you need to India in the future. Afghanistan should have no influence and more importantly that the Afghan army is trained in Pakistan instead, as planned, in India. ”

The reason: Pakistan is concerned that after 2014 other foreign powers like China, Russia, and especially the big neighbor India could have more influence in Afghanistan. India is already one of the main allies of Kabul. Further, India and Afghanistan from Pakistan in 2011 signed a still-awaited “strategic agreement”, says Jochen Hippler. “It may well be that after the withdrawal of India’s role in Afghanistan could be strengthened, and that would be viewed with great suspicion in Pakistan. India is obviously the historically perceived as trauma opponents. If Delhi is playing a greater role in Afghanistan, is you are in Pakistan to worry how to work it. ”


Roadmap to Peace

taliban-peace-processThe Pashtun-burly Rahimullah Yusufzai but sees potential for a clarification of the conflict.”Pakistan and Afghanistan are neighbors – they have to cooperate with each other.” By 2014, still has time to improve relations between the two countries, Yusufzai. “You have to make clear agreements on certain points of conflict, they have a schedule, especially with regard to the peace process.”

Such agreements are not yet in sight, as even the United States – the joint partner of feuding neighbors – do not have a clear road map. In the past, the U.S. has repeatedly referred to India as a possible successor to the responsibility in Afghanistan – a bitter pill for Pakistan. Many experts agree: As long as India and Pakistan overcome their rivalry to Afghanistan, Pakistan can continue to exploit the Taliban in Afghanistan as leverage and thus derail any peace process in the neighboring country.The peace in the Hindu Kush remains a distant prospect.



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