With Pakistan’s army aiding terror organisations operating from Afghan soil, Islamabad is bound to fail the RATS test of delivering on counter-terrorism commitments.
The Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS) of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) has resolved to carry out joint measures to counter terror groups in Afghanistan. The decision was taken at a meeting of the council of RATS hosted by India. “What is more significant is that Pakistan has been included in the joint measures, with prominent tasks cut out for it in tackling terror groups operating from Afghan soil. This will definitely put Islamabad in an awkward situation, given its army’s track record of backing and aiding terrorists’ outfits there,” top diplomatic sources told The Sunday Guardian. “During the discussion on the joint measures, the member nations led by India particularly asked Pakistan to play a much bigger and more responsible role in combating the terror groups in Afghanistan as it is neighbour of the Taliban-ruled country,” sources said. Pakistan has been asked to provide all possible assistance to the countries of the SCO in their collective fight against terrorism in the region. Pakistan as a member of the council may have approved the resolution, but the government in Islamabad must be having anxious moments, sources said.
Some diplomats from MEA were also in touch with Indian security officials who were involved in preparing the strategy ahead of the final decision, sources added. An official of a central Asian country told The Sunday Guardian that “after the joint measures resolve, Pakistan along with other countries will have an opportunity now to perform and deliver on the counter terrorism front particularly in Afghanistan where terror outfits are said to be getting protection from Pakistan Army.” “They have a chance to prove the global community wrong by performing the tasks,” he said.
However, Indian diplomats are of the view that Pakistan will stand exposed as it will fail to perform all the tasks that would be given to it as part of the joint measures against Afghan based terror organisations. “The resolve of the SCO RATS council has put it into a difficult and awkward situation. It is not easy for Pakistan either to perform or to escape,” an official adds. It is a fact that Pakistan Army has been abetting and aiding terror groups in Afghanistan. Now it will be supposed to fulfil the commitments there, which is an impossible task for Islamabad, says a diplomat. Officials of Pakistan and China were present when the council of RATS came up with the decision on Friday on joint measures to counter threats posed by international terrorist groups operating from Afghanistan.
The diplomats refer to a UN report, saying Pakistan-based terror groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), led by 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed, maintain their training camps in some provinces of Afghanistan and some of them are directly under the Taliban control. These outfits are also working with other organisations like al-Qaeda. “The fact that the international community is well aware of is that these terror organisations cannot continue to operate in Afghanistan without support from Pakistan’s army and the government in Islamabad,” they said. Other international organisations are also operating from Afghan soil which cannot be possible without Pakistan’s backing, say sources. With this being the case, Pakistan is bound to fail the test of countering the terror organisations in Afghanistan, sources said.
Meanwhile, India hosted the meeting in its capacity as the chair of SCO-RATS. Deputy national security advisor Dattatray Padsalgikar said the meeting also decided to organise a military exercise called “Solidarity- 2023”. It is learnt that the exercise will take place in China.
“Joint measures of the competent authorities of the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation to counter the challenges and threats posed by international terrorist organisations from the territory of Afghanistan were approved,” Padsalgikar said at a media briefing.