The chain of events surrounding the deportation of illegally residing Afghan citizens to Pakistan has sparked outrage and protests in Afghanistan. Efforts are being made to complicate this issue, suggesting that it may lead to the end of the Afghan-Pakistan war. Criticism is raised in the context of human rights, arguing that accommodating Afghan refugees is Pakistan’s responsibility due to its historical involvement in the Afghan jihad.
Some also taunt that if billions of dollars were received in the name of Afghan refugees, why are they being expelled from Pakistan now?
First, let’s understand the reality of historical involvement. The theory of strategic depth, perceived by Pakistan’s strategists, was actually a strategic pitfall, and we fell into it. Similar to how people in snowy regions of Siberia put the blood of an animal on a dagger and stuck it into the snow to attract snow wolves with the smell of blood, Pakistan, in pursuit of strategic depth, created a battleground under the guise of practical wisdom. The snow wolf, the Baloch insurgency, began to smell the smell of blood and started attacking. Our tongue was covered in blood; the Taliban took advantage of this weakness and exploited the concept of strategic depth.
When the Taliban entered Kabul in August 2021, a successful propaganda campaign was presented throughout Pakistan under the guise of the state’s strategic depth narrative. It created the impression that Afghanistan had become a part of Pakistan. DG ISI Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed went to Afghanistan to take credit for this success and, with a triumphant smile, assured everyone in the lobby of a five-star hotel in Kabul, sipping tea, that everything would be fine. His drumbeaters started praising the beat of the drum, and the nation was told that what Faiz Hameed could not do, Faiz Hameed did.
Afterward, when the triumphant Kabul Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed became the commander of Peshawar, the Taliban in Pakistan entered into a ceasefire agreement. During this truce, terrorists once again began infiltrating into Pakistan. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan continued to advocate for the Taliban, presenting their case in an impressive manner on international forums. When, on November 29, 2022, General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed resigned together, the Taliban in Pakistan announced the end of the ceasefire, declaring the resumption of attacks.
Even when Tablighi and Dhandhorchi were false and unreal achievements, these reports presented that the arrival of the Taliban in Kabul was not good news for Pakistan. Shortly afterward, the process of breaking barriers on the Pakistan-Afghan border began, and the Afghan Taliban clarified that they did not recognize this border. Then, on the western border, an incitement campaign began. Attacks started happening across the border. Afghanistan became a haven for the Taliban after conducting operations in Pakistan. The Pakistani Taliban began to think that if America can be defeated in Afghanistan, then success against the army in Pakistan is also possible. The bitter reality is that the Afghan Taliban provides a soft corner for those terrorists who spread havoc in Pakistan, and contrary to promises, no serious effort is made to stop their path.
Pakistan faces challenges from the western border, not only of a military nature but also in diplomatic, political, trade, and economic terms. For example, before the arrival of the Afghan Taliban, Pakistani laborers used to go there to work, and dollars used to come to Pakistan in the form of remittances. But now, the issue of smuggling dollars into Afghanistan has become so severe that the value of Pakistani currency is continuously decreasing, and the dollar exchange rate is not stabilizing. The problem is more expansive than just dollars; agricultural produce such as rice and wheat is illegally transported across the border. So, despite being an agrarian country, Pakistan is having to import expensive wheat, resulting in an increase in the import bill. Unfortunately, Pakistan is facing simultaneous challenges on many fronts.
If paying the price of the Afghan jihad is required, it makes America a brave infidel. Pakistan’s status was merely that of a frontline state, and we are continuously paying the price for it. Speaking of dollars, now that Afghan citizens are returning, the Taliban government can directly receive these dollars. Furthermore, we sympathize with our Taliban brethren; as an ideal Islamic welfare state has been established there, justice prevails for everyone, so why not send back Afghan refugees? Answer this question to those Pakistanis who sacrificed their youth in the Afghan jihad; they should be invited to Kabul as state guests and awarded, but can anyone go to Afghanistan without a visa?
The final question is for enlightened and liberal nationalists. Just as there is a uniform Pashtun culture on both sides of the Durand Line, there is a similar Punjabi culture on both sides of the Wahga border. So, can Indian Punjabis live in Lahore illegally based on this foundation?