In the last couple of months, the Af-Pak relationship has considerably deteriorated. Afghanistan is persistent on playing the victim card instead of improving its institutional setup and dealing with the problem of terrorism, while the government of Pakistan has had a very soft approach towards the blame game. Despite issuing border restrictions or closing off of borders, the civil leadership has played a very understanding role. However, the Afghans have not been able to decide what they precisely want. They complain of cross border attacks but at the same time, when Pakistan talks of restricting cross border movement and setting up a proper documentation method, the Afghans retaliate.

When the civil leadership approaches them to work together against the extremist outfits, they take to international platforms to describe an imaginary problem of how they don’t know whom to talk to in Pakistan for solving the problem. While their army is completely incompetent to fight off the threats, despite constant help from the US; our army is busy carrying out operations against the militants, with minimal support from our “friends”. The Afghans still have the guts to say that nothing is being done in Pakistan to solve their problems, while Pakistanis continue to die.

It is about time that Pakistan takes a hard stance against Afghanistan. DG ISPR has announced that the recent terror attacks in Quetta and Parachinar have sanctuaries across the border. This clearly is a sign that Afghanistan does not understand the soft approach and will keep on aggravating the situation until everyone accepts their narrative against Pakistan. They already have India on their side, they also highlighted to the US that they are in an undeclared war with Pakistan, and also claim that Iran also accuses Pakistan of meddling in their internal affairs.

Pakistan needs to up its diplomatic game. It needs to negotiate with Afghanistan, while also building a softer narrative of Pakistan in the eyes of Iran and the US. Along with this, border fencing needs to be enforced and proper documentation must be required for anyone wanting to cross the border, this time regardless of concern for trade and Afghan feelings.