The Foreign Office has made it clear that Pakistan is making substantial efforts for peace in Afghanistan, but the country alone is not responsible to bring the Afghan Taliban on the table for dialogue. This is an apparent response to Afghan president’s recent speech, in which has renounced Pakistan’s efforts to play their part. The road to a peaceful settlement is inevitably bumpy, with Afghanistan far from moving towards reconciling.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s speech, threatening diplomatic reprisals against Pakistan if it refuses to take action against the Taliban, come after an attack in Kabul that left 64 people dead. The FO spokesman Nafees Zakaria however has clarified that Pakistan condemns terrorism in all forms and does not differentiate between terrorist groups, adding that peace in Afghanistan is in the best interest of Pakistan. Ghani’s statements are frankly offensive, in light of recent attacks in Lahore and Mardan. Afghanistan is not the only victim here.

Instead of blaming Pakistan time and again, the Afghan government should take measures to put its own house in order. Its socioeconomic indicators are appalling, with nearly 36 percent of the population living under the poverty line, GDP growth projections are far below the South Asian average, life expectancy at birth is below even the global average for low income countries, not to mention a vast refugee population that Pakistan is taking care of. Is Pakistan to be blamed for all these issues too?

Ghani’s efforts at securing Pakistan’s cooperation to kick-start peace talks with the Taliban have been a failure, where his national unity government is looking increasingly fragile. Since early this year, the focus for peace talks has shifted to the newly created Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG), consisting of the US, China, Pakistan and Afghanistan, which was expected to facilitate the process of direct talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government. However, with such blatant accusations, Ghani’s overtures to Pakistan have only eroded his support base domestically, making any further gestures or concessions impossible.

The central concern is well known: the Afghan Taliban are growing in strength and the Afghan government is losing ground, both politically and militarily. A weaker nation blaming the stronger one only makes diplomacy and solutions harder. Ghani is alienating a friendly country just to get votes at home. What may make for good press at home is extremely damaging in foreign policy. The first rule of good diplomacy is not to make hard statements, but Afghan politicians have much to learn.