The clash on Monday at a border checkpost between Pakistan and Afghanistan took place at the site of a previous incident, but in the background was the perennial dispute between the two countries over their border, as well as the incidents of firing which the two countries accuse each other of. Despite Pakistan's reiteration time and again, that it holds Afganistan to be a brotherly country, despite the fact that one of the largest migrant populations in the world is Afghans hosted on Pakistani soil.

The Karzai regime being the one calling the shots, it must have at last permitted, if not actually instigated, the clash and false accusations against Pakistan. Combined with the Indian influence on the Karzai government, and the combination could not be more vitriolic. The Indian attack on Pakistan later may have as one of its motives support for Afghanistan. Again, keeping in view Kabul’s closeness to India, it would be not be a stretch on credulity to learn that New Delhi had prior knowledge of the attack.

With the ISAF poised to draw down its occupation forces in 2014, the security of the regime it will leave behind will be dependent on Pakistan. As the Pakistani spokesman said while commenting on President Hamid Karzai’s remarks, the continuing fight against terrorism demands that all stakeholders work together in a spirit of cooperation and harmony. It therefore does not achieve anything useful if the Afghan National Army, instead of defending the Karzai government, fritters away its energies on concocting falsehoods against Pakistan. Afghanistan must be aware that it is acting detrimentally to the interests of the government.

Pakistan, being one of Afghanistan’s immediate neighbours, has as crucial a role in the peace as it has had in the war. However, instead of relying on any one quarter, Pakistan must also realise that the interests of the entire region are best served if it were to concert measures with Turkey and Iran, as well as Russia and the Central Asian Republics. However, before Pakistan can take these steps, which serve not only its own national interests, but the cause of regional peace, it would first have to exert full control and display ownership of its foreign policy under a civilian government. Along with a plan to see out occupying forces and still maintain stability, the agenda will also have to accord high priority to dialogue with New Delhi. Only then can it ensure that Kabul does not raise up non-issues, like the Durand Line.