President Ashraf Ghani has expressed interest in improving relations with Islamabad before a possible return to stalled peace talks with Taliban insurgents. Afghan-Pakistan relations have been tense to say the least, which can be accounted to the mutual distrust that both countries hold for each other. Afghanistan has a knack of projecting its internal problems onto Pakistan, accusing it of backing the insurgency, a claim Pakistan denies outright. Ghani went as far to say that Pakistan must earn Kabul’s trust if Islamabad wishes to play the role of mediator in any peace talks.

Pakistan has been forthcoming and has shown willingness to play the integral role in the peace process. Tension heightened over Kabul’s accusations that Islamabad has historically aided the Taliban, most recently in the northern city of Kunduz, briefly captured by the militants in September as part of a nationwide surge in attacks. Army Chief General Raheel made clear amidst the period of frosty relations that, “Pakistan does not believe in any blame game, and instead would like to make renewed efforts to resurrect the peace and reconciliation process,” adding that it would have to be an Afghan-led process.

It is now Afghanistan’s prerogative as to how it approaches the delicate situation that is unfolding within its borders. Will it continue to hold others accountable when it is failing to protect the sovereignty of its state? If President Ghani is so confident that the Taliban are merely fragmented powerless groups of militants post- Mullah Omar, then surely he should be successful in bringing them to the negotiating table and brokering a long lasting solution for peace.

There are certain challenges that Afghanistan faces that are exacerbating the security situation in the country, of which the withdrawal of international forces and Afghanistan’s preoccupation with its 2014 political transition are integral. Afghan Ambassador Mahmoud Saikal, recently claimed that Pakistani security forces continued regular attacks across the Durand Line in clear violation of Afghan sovereignty and territorial integrity, whereas Pakistan is merely ensuring the success of the Zarb-e-Azb operation by keeping a control on the porous Pak-Afghan border and ensuring that the terrorists that they push out of the area do not re enter Pakistan. From that point onwards it is Afghanistan’s responsibility to protect its own interests.