Diplomat’s harassment in Kabul

As a fragile Afghan peace process is underway, relations with our western neighbour are crumbling. Pakistan has indefinitely closed its consular section in Kabul amid deteriorating relations between the two countries.
On the weekend, the Foreign Office summoned the Afghan envoy to protest the harassment of Pakistani diplomats in Kabul since the past two days. The diplomatic personnel were obstructed and embassy vehicles were struck by motorcycles while heading towards the embassy.
Pakistan has demanded an investigation into the incident reminding the Afghan government of its responsibilities under the Vienna Convention to ensure the safety and security of its diplomats. The foreign ministry asked the Afghan envoy to share its report with the government of Pakistan, and ensure against recurrence of such incidents in the future.
This is not the first time Pakistani diplomats have been harassed in Afghanistan. Islamabad had previously complained to the Afghan foreign ministry, but it seems they are powerless against the Afghan intelligence NDS. Both countries have a long history of fraught relations which have never fully recovered.
Tension mounted after Afghanistan closed its consulate in Peshawar last month to protest against the removal of its national flag from a disputed area known as Afghan Market. A court had ruled that a Pakistani citizen was the owner and city authorities were ordered to vacate the building leading to an overnight raid.
Kabul maintains that the Afghan Market belongs to their national bank and has appealed the court’s decision. Pakistan has asked Afghanistan to review its decision since the issue related to the disputed property concerns a private citizen and a court ruled on the matter two decades ago.
The closure of the embassy in Kabul will come as a huge blow for many Afghans, as hundred apply for daily permits to travel to Pakistan seeking medical treatment, education and goods transportation. The consular section typically processes over 1500 applications per day.
Pakistan has fenced over 900 kilometres long portion of the Afghan border to prevent the movement of militants between the two countries, but incidents of cross-border firing are still common. Last week, six Pakistani soldiers and five civilians were injured during an exchange of fire between security forces.
The Afghan government is disappointed that it has been shunned from the Afghan peace process where Pakistan has a leading role. Both nations should realise that cordial relations will lead to a peaceful region.
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