Attack in Kabul

Editorial Board
Sunday, Dec 04, 2022

The terrorist attacks that have left both Pakistan and Afghanistan wounded over the past few days appear to be continuing, and possibly on the increase. On Friday, the Pakistani embassy in Kabul came under gunfire, apparently targeting Head of Mission Ubaidur Rehman Nizamani. While Nizamani escaped without injury, his guard was critically wounded in the attack. The attack quite obviously came with a significant amount of preparation and knowledge of the layout of the building where it took place. It is unclear why Nizamani was made a target of the attack or if there is any plan to target Pakistani diplomats in the future or even who attacked the embassy. The Pakistan side has issued a strong statement condemning the attack and warning Afghanistan against any others that may follow. It needs no reminding that in any country it is one of the primary responsibilities of the government in the capital to ensure the security of diplomats and other members of foreign missions. The Taliban government in Afghanistan has been in power for over a year now and has no excuse for such a lapse in security.

While Pakistan’s relationship with Afghanistan has been troubled for some time, the fact is that it cannot afford to allow such a situation to continue. Quite obviously an attack on a senior diplomat in the country cannot go ignored. The correct statement has been made, but there needs to be follow-up action. To ensure continued presence of the Pakistan diplomats in Kabul, it is of utmost significance for the Taliban to provide foolproof security arrangements. If a mission head finds himself at the mercy of militants like this, how are other members of staff supposed to work? This assassination attempt should not be taken as a one-off attack. The Taliban government must conduct a thorough investigation. The attack comes just days after State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar concluded a successful one-day visit to Kabul – discussing varying bilateral issues. It also comes days after the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) announced an end of their ceasefire with the Pakistani state. The TTP has over months been intensifying its attacks in Pakistan.

Unless the militancy that is on the rise again is checked with a stern hand and all culprits are apprehended, such attacks may take place again. There is no room for leniency in this matter; any and all safe havens or hideouts – whether in Afghanistan or on our side of the border – need to be eliminated. In this, much depends also on the ruling dispensation in Afghanistan. The government in Afghanistan must hold militants to account no matter which terrorist outfit they belong to. Pakistan and Afghanistan do not just share a border; they have a shared history that goes back decades and decades. Terroir in one country is felt by the other too. Our fates are intertwines such that we have to work together to get rid of the violence that has terrorized our lands for so many years now.