Pakistan, since its inception, has been unsuccessfully striving to have a friction-free relationship with Afghanistan. Though Siamese twins with a sizeable Pashtun population living across the Durand line bound with each other by blood, linguistic, cultural and spiritual links, and economic interdependence, the Afghan leaders had, for unfathomable reasons, no qualms in obstructing the membership of Pakistan in the UN; repudiating the Durand line as the international border; supporting the bogey of Pakhtunistan; harbouring Baloch nationalists; providing sanctuaries to the TTP with leeway to carry out militant attacks across the border in Pakistan. One wonders whether Pakistani policymakers have been oblivious to the history, traditions and customs of the Afghan people. Did we lack in respecting the independence and sovereignty of our Western neighbour; was the principle of the equality of sovereign states missing in our interaction with Afghan leaders? Were we seeking strategic depth in Afghanistan? Were we, as Afghan leaders claim, treating Afghanistan as a satrap land? These are a few questions that come to mind while carefully reviewing the statements of the Afghan leaders that need to be probed and answered honestly for course correction if any. Since the early 1980s, Pakistan was too enmeshed in the Afghanistan conundrum compounding its troubles. The Zia regime’s plunge into the holy crusade against the godless communists in Afghanistan created imbalances in all the policy domains particularly in the foreign and security policy of the country reorienting our bilateral relations with the two superpowers of the time, the West, the Arab world and the neighbours rendering our land germane to growth of political Islamists, terrorism, separatism, violent political movements, weaponisation of the society and Talibization. The circumstances surrounding the Afghan territory did not allow us an interval to review and make substantial changes in our Afghan foreign and security policy. The withdrawal of the Soviet troops from that luckless land should have come as a break in our involvement in Afghanistan’s messy situation. But the emergence of the Afghan Taliban in quick succession was too tempting to do so. We wrongly considered this rogue militia as the legitimate alternative to political, constitutional and broad-based civilian rule in our neighbourhood. We failed to comprehend or we deliberately remained in a state of denial as to how the Taliban rule would impact the budding political and militant Islamism in our own country. Within a couple of years, we witnessed the growth of militant groups in our tribal regions. The Taliban, in their zeal for Islamization, finally triggered another war in Afghanistan. Pakistan cannot afford to heat up its western border. How long and in what way did we suffer after the attack of Afghanistan by the NATO coalition forces need no elaboration? We could not withstand the pressure of the American leadership and reluctantly joined the counterterrorism war which cost us over 80,000 innocent lives and the martyrdom of thousands of our security personnel. Even then, we tolerated militant groups and factions of the Taliban on our land. We had made heavy investments in the Taliban with wild hopes for a proxy rule over Afghanistan. We remained at loggerheads with the four elected Afghan governments of President Hamid Karzai and his successor Ashraf Ghani. They were weary of the presence of the Taliban on our territory like their American patrons. Our Afghan policy did not address their concerns. We expected Afghan leaders and the Western world to recognize our sacrifices and generosity in hosting millions of Afghans and facilitating the Afghan transit trade. We forgot that this was not the pressing problem of the Afghan leaders. Their problem was to disrupt and defeat the Taliban and they held us responsible for the resilience and indestructability of the Taliban. We were accused of double game openly by the US and Afghan leaders. They had no sympathy for our suffering in terrorism. With their exposure to the world over a period of twenty years, the Taliban have acquired sophistication in political and diplomatic acumen and military strategy. They had created political and strategic leverages against all the regional powers involved in the Afghan war establishing close links with the militant organizations in tribal regions of Pakistan, Xinjiang, and the Central Asian States of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. However, they were concentrating on the tribal regions of Pakistan with which they had a sort of affinity and in which some of their ideological brethren or former Mujahidin were living and who were instrumental in creating TTP. We were not wise to believe that the Taliban would take cudgels against the TTP after the withdrawal of the NATO forces. The TTP had been providing support to the Taliban in their attacks on the Afghan border regions. After the takeover of the country, it would be strategically disastrous for the Taliban to create a front for itself in the current delicate security situation they are grappling with. It was a strategic blunder to sign an agreement with the TTP at the promptings of the Taliban to allow their commanders to reunite with their families particularly when we knew the treacherous character of this rogue militia. There are reportedly over twenty militant groups operating in Afghanistan. The Taliban would deal with them according to their strength, strategy and time. They consider TTP as an internal issue of Pakistan. The TTP has established a nexus with Baloch insurgents and religious militant groups in the former tribal regions and Balochistan. They have to be disconnected from these groups by a combination of kinetic and political strategies. The threats of retaliation would not work. It would be strategic bankruptcy to think of a hot pursuit into Afghanistan. Pakistan cannot afford to heat its western border. We should concentrate on disrupting and defeating TTP within our territory and further strengthening our border security. This is a serious security threat and needs to be addressed in a holistic way combining the political and strategic forces of the country to rid our land of the ever menacing militant and terrorist groups. The problem should top the agenda of the security forces and political leadership. The author was a member of the Foreign Service of Pakistan and he has authored two books.