Designs behind Attack at Charsadda’s University
By Sajjad Shaukat
On January, 20, this year, at least 21 persons, including students, a faculty member and security guards were killed at Bacha Khan University in Khyber Pakhtunkha’s Charsadda town, when heavily-armed terrorists of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) entered the university and opened fire on them. It was due to the quick response of Pakistan’s security forces, including Special Services Group (SSG) personnel of the army which killed the four attackers and cleared the premises of the university by securing the civilians inside.
On the same day, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif reached Charsadda to boost the morale of the security personnel who took part in the operation. He appreciated timely response by the security forces, and also expressed deep grief over the loss of lives.
The mastermind of the Army Public School (APS) Peshawar attack, Umar Mansoor of the TTP Geedar group claimed the attack at the university through a post on his Facebook page, adding that four attackers were sent to the university.
Head of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Lt. Gen. Asim Bajwa revealed, “The investigations show that Charsadda terror attack was being controlled from a location in Afghanistan through Afghan cellphone by a TTP operative.”
He also said that Gen. Raheel Sharif called Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan Gen John Campbell to inform them about the evidence which has emerged from investigations into the university assault, pointing towards Afghanistan-based terrorists of the TTP, controlling it.
Reliable sources disclosed that Indian consulate located in Jalalabad, Afghanistan played a key role in targeting the Bacha Khan University. In this regard, the operatives of the Indian secret agency, RAW in connivance with Rahmatullah Nabil, the former director of Afghan intelligence agency, National Directorate of Security (NDS) and the TTP chief Mullah Fazlullah planned this assault. Indian consulate gave rupees 3 million to the Talban commander to arrange this brutal act at the university.
However, this terror attack cannot be seen in isolation, as it is part of the Indian nefarious designs not only against Pakistan, but also against other regional and global powers. While some powers like the US are also playing double game with Pakistan and China which are also behind these designs.
It is notable that in January 13, 2016, at least seven personal of the Afghan security forces died during the suicide attack which targeted the Pakistani consulate in Jalalabad. Islamic State group (ISIS or Daesh) claimed responsibility for the terror attack.
The assault which coincided with efforts to restart the stalled peace process with Taliban insurgents and ease diplomatic tensions between India and Pakistan, added a dangerous new element to Afghanistan’s volatile security mix. In this respect, delegates from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States had met this to try to resurrect efforts to end nearly 15 years of bloodshed in Afghanistan.
It is mentionable that on December 9, 2015, the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process Conference was held in Islamabad in which high-level representatives of supporting regional and international organizations from over 30 countries including especially the US, China and Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj participated.
The participants realized the importance of the conference as an important regional platform aimed at a stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan which was not only in its own interest, but also vital to peace, stability and prosperity of the ‘Heart of Asia’ region as a whole—it was collective responsibility to help Afghanistan in combating the challenges it faced.
In the joint declaration, the participants reaffirmed the respect for each other’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and reiterated their commitment to refrain from the threat or use of force against each other and reaffirmed the objectives, aimed at promoting regional peace and prosperity and enhanced cooperation for countering security threats collectively.
And a series of meetings were held in Islamabad between Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and the US to develop an understanding of the earliest possible resumption of stalled talks between the Afghan government and Taliban. A trilateral meeting was also held among Pakistan, Afghanistan and the America. Besides, President Ashraf Ghani, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj also met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Sushma said that India and Pakistan have decided to restart composite dialogue to address all issues including Kashmir.
President Ghani vowed to work together to eliminate the common threat of terrorism, which Pakistan and Afghanistan are facing, and emphasized on the need to enhance bilateral relations between the two countries.
In this respect, in the recent past, cordial relations were established between Pakistan and Afghanistan when Afghan President Ghani had realized that Afghanistan and Pakistan were facing similar challenges of terrorism and would combat this threat collectively.
While, it is misfortune that on direction of New Delhi and like the former regime of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s present rulers have also started accusing Pakistan of cross-border terrorism. In this context, after hours of the Taliban captured Kunduz city, on September 28, 2015, during his address to the UNO General Assembly, Afghanistan’s chief executive Abdullah Abdullah blamed Islamabad for carrying out cross-border attacks and destabilizing Afghanistan.
Differences exist between chief executive Abdullah Abdullah and President Ashraf Ghani, as the former wants cordial relations with New Delhi at the cost of Afghanistan and the latter prefers Islamabad, because Pak-Afghan stability is interrelated.
It is noteworthy that on December 10, President Ghani accepted the resignation of Rahmatullah Nabil as director of the Afghan intelligence agency, NDS, after developing differences of the spymaster with him over Ghani’s move to attend the regional conference in Islamabad. In his statement, Nabil said President Ghani had asked him to relinquish charge of the NDS.
Besides, Prime Minister Sharif and President Ghani also showed their determination that their countries would cooperate in fighting the threat of ISIS.
As the US is playing double game with Pakistan, because it is the only nuclear country in the Islamic World, which irritates America and Israel. Hence, secret agents of American CIA, Israeli Mossad and Indian RAW which are well-penetrated in the TTP and ISIS are making efforts to weaken Tibetan regions of China, Iran and Pakistan, especially Pakistan’s province of Balochistan by arranging the subversive activities, promoting acrimonious sense of dissent, political volatility, sectarian violence and arousing sentiments of separatism.
While the US and India are also playing double game against each other. In this connection, in collusion with Afghanistan’s spy agency NDS, particularly, RAW has well-established its network in Afghanistan, and is fully assisting cross-border incursions and terror-activities in various regions of Pakistan through Baloch separatist elements and anti-Pakistan groups like Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA), Jundullah (God’s soldiers) and TTP.
Nevertheless, Indian desperation in Afghanistan is increasing in the backdrop of growing engagements of Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and US. Therefore, by arranging terror-assaults in Pakistan and Afghanistan, India is also thwarting the peace process between the Afghan officials and representatives of Tehreek-e-Taliban Afghanistan, which started in Murree, Pakistan, on July 8, 2015 through a meeting, hosted by Islamabad, and in it, Chinese and American representatives, also participated. While, the US, China and Pakistan are jointly working to facilitate the process so as to bring peace both in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the whole region.
US and especially New Delhi is also trying to sabotage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and is targeting growing Pak-China-Afghanistan relations.
Although the US is acting upon dual strategy, yet by waging a prolonged war in Afghanistan, the America and other NATO countries have realized that after the withdrawal of foreign troops, Afghanistan would be thrown in an era of uncertainly and civil war. They realize the fact that there is a co-relationship of terrorism or stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Therefore, US-led developed nations which also spent billions of dollars for the development of Afghanistan have repeatedly agreed that without Islamabad’s help, stability cannot be achieved there. Unfortunately, India does not intend to see peace in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Hence, India is undermining Pak-Afghan stability by creating unrest, and by sabotaging their cordial relations.
As regards the protracted conflict in Afghanistan, the problem cannot be solved through war and weaponry. Initiation of peace dialogue and positive engagements among the contestant groups can be the other practicable option.
Pakistan is desirous of peaceful Afghanistan and sincerely committed to play a positive role in facilitating atmosphere for the dialogue-parties.
Islamabad has categorically denounced any proximity with Taliban as propagated by Indian and western segments. The impression of proximity has been exploited to fan mistrust between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Pakistan has expressed its firm resolve to eradicate extremism and terrorism and military operation Zarb-e-Azb and National Action Plan is clear manifestation of the same.
The entities which are playing double game are opposed to a peaceful Afghanistan. Therefore, they have always attempted to hinder or disrupt any positive outcome of Pak-Afghan engagement by exploiting holed up proxies to carryout terrorism either on Afghan soil or in Pakistan.
Due to Pakistan’s incontestable role in Afghan imbroglio, the country remains a prime target of vested countries and extra regional powers and have been witnessing terrorism through the ISIS which these hostile have themselves created to obtain the secret designs of America, India, Israel and some western countries.
Optimistically speaking, while appreciating increasing engagements at military level of both Pakistan and Afghanistan, media may urge political leadership to expend the contacts and engagements, so that the bilateral relations foster at all levels.
For the purpose, the US-led developed countries must also realize that unlike India, Pakistan shares common geographical, historical, religious and cultural bonds with Afghanistan, while Pak-Afghan stability has a co-relationship, which is essential for their global and regional interests. Especially, America must abandon its double standard, and must check Indian hidden strategy against Pakistan, Afghanistan and other regional countries. Nonetheless, dual policy of the peace disruptors in Afghanistan must be stopped by the respective governments of these countries.
Returning to our earlier discussion, there were multiple designs behind the terror attack at the Charsadda’s university.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations