It is extraordinary for a head of state to issue a terse statement and disaggregate it into 20 tweets directing them at a neighbouring state like Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani did on Monday, when he vented his frustration about dealing with Pakistan. The provocation for the reproach was the attacks that the Taliban has unleashed in Afghanistan in recent days, beginning with the three suicide blasts in Kabul on August 7, which killed more than 60 people and injured over 300 others. This was followed by Monday’s car bomb attack on Kabul Airport that killed five people.
Mr Ghani’s sharp remarks have taken many by surprise, given his efforts over the last year to build a closer relationship with Pakistan even at the expense of India. Kabul has been drawing closer to Islamabad, assuming that only a cooperative equation with the latter can pave the way for a settlement with the Taliban, whose leadership is either based in Pakistan or was under the sway of its military establishment. Mr Ghani is clearly outraged by the recent attacks but a part of his fury perhaps springs from being kept in the dark by Pakistan about Taliban leader Mullah Omar, who has been reportedly dead for two years. The Afghan president spoke about “lies and fabrications” about Omar and said the latter’s death reaffirmed the fact that the war in Afghanistan is “fought for and by others”.
Mr Ghani spoke of a war being declared from Pakistan and asked searching questions about the latter’s Afghanistan policy, especially about tolerating the existence of “suicide training camps and bomb-making facilities” used to target civilians in his country. He asked Pakistani leaders what their reaction would be if groups based in Afghanistan were to stage such a dastardly attack in Islamabad. He warned that what Pakistan decides in the next two weeks will affect relations over the next decades. Mr Ghani has used a tragic moment to hold out a mirror to the devastation that Pakistan’s strategic artifices have wrought. The Pakistan Army should know that its tactics fool no one.