China for the first time has entered as a party to Pak-Afghan arrangement for countering terrorism. The Chinese participation in the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for further enhancing counter-terrorism cooperation will, hopefully, ensure that the said MoU, signed on the second trilateral foreign ministers’ dialogue, will generate the desired results for all sides.

The consensus by all three sides not allowing their territories to be used by terrorist factions against the stability of any state will, indeed, help in lessening the trust deficit that usually mars Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral ties. It is encouraging that Islamabad, Kabul and Beijing are coming together to fight the menace of terrorism. Collective action against terrorism will prove instrumental in the sense that it will not consume all energies of any party. Before the signed MoU, despite a plethora of documents and agreements reached to fight terrorism jointly, both Islamabad and Kabul helped each other very little. Both sides, i.e., Islamabad and Kabul seem to have realised that blaming each other for security lapses do not help. Or have they? We should not have needed China to force us into an understanding.

It is not surprising at all to see Beijing interested in making efforts to ensure peace in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The reason that China wants a peaceful Afghanistan and a Pakistan free from the menace of terrorism is that Beijing wants the success of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Since CPEC is a flagship project of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) success of BRI is contingent upon the success of CPEC. Hence, China wants both countries to engage in cooperative measures to ensure stability in the region.