The military raids in response to the recent spate of terrorism have been swift and widespread, claiming to have killed over a 100 terrorist including several key leaders. The raids, especially in parts of Punjab are extremely necessary, however, the most important of these raids, and the most unprecedented, are the ones conducted along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The army claims to have destroyed vital Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) training camps across the border near the Momand and Khyber districts. These incursions into Afghan territory represent a new chapter in the war against terror, and must be handled with care.

Undoubtedly these attacks were necessary; JuA has been prolific in Pakistan and it’s facilities must be destroyed. With Afghan forces unable to carry out these operations themselves in the far flung regions of their country, it falls to our military to eradicate these militants. They need to know, that Afghanistan is not the sanctuary the believe it to be, and that the Pakistani state can reach them where they hide.

At the same time the diplomatic fallout from such a maneuver needs to be assessed. The military seems to be favouring the stick in this interaction, backing up these raids by closing the Torkham and Chaman border crossings, which will put pressure on the Afghan economy. Furthermore In a terse message, the army has asked Kabul to take action against 76 Pakistani terrorists operating from Afghan territory or hand them over to Pakistan for trying them over their involvement in terrorism, and ratcheted up pressure on Ashraf Ghani’s government by separately urging US-led Nato mission there to push his administration to act against the wanted men.

The tone and tenor of these actions is clear, Pakistan means business and requires complete cooperation, but is this the best strategy for dealing with Afghanistan? The government there has responded with the same kind of outrage at Pakistani actions. On Friday it summoned Pakistan’s Ambassador Abrar Hussain in protest of recent shelling in Afghanistan’s eastern provinces and lodged its complaints about the border closing. These tit for tat diplomatic rebukes have the potential of escalating, without leading to any meaningful cooperation.

However there is also potential for coordinated actions. Pakistan cannot effectively destroy terrorist sanctuaries in Afghanistan without the government’s help - this is a fact. During the meeting in Kabul, the Afghan diplomat expressed his condolences for the attacks despite his protests. and said that Afghanistan will help Pakistan apprehend JuD if Pakistan does the same for Afghan Taliban in their borders. Here is the opportunity for both nations to collectively root out terrorism, and both of them should take it.