Afghanistan and the Taliban: the Pakistani perspective
The writing on the wall is very clear – Pakistani leaders had put all their eggs in the basket of China and the Taliban long before the Taliban took control of Afghanistan.
Much has been written and spoken about the situation in Afghanistan. In India, the role of Pakistan was discussed in detail. It would be interesting to analyze what is being said about the Afghan situation in Pakistan. This article will attempt to cover the Pakistani perspective based on the contributions available in the Pakistani media.
Pakistan continues to position itself as an aggrieved party that has suffered tremendously from aid to the United States in the Global War on Terror (GWOT). On June 5, about a month before the Taliban took power, Pakistani leaders, including Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and the all-important General Qamar Bajwa, held a crucial meeting in which there was an anti-tone and tenor. separate Americans were adopted. The leadership reiterated that it would “no longer” help the United States since “Pakistani lives cannot be taken for granted.”
Later Prime Minister Imran Khan, in an interview with Australian journalist Jonathan Swan, said Pakistan “will absolutely not allow” the United States to use a Pakistani base for any action inside. Afghanistan. Once the American downside gathered momentum, some commentators in Pakistan publicly humiliated the United States by claiming that the situation represented “a tragic withdrawal of the world’s only superpower from the hands of highly relevant military means of war. a motley militia ”.
The writing on the wall is very clear: Pakistani leaders had put all their eggs in the basket of China and the Taliban long before the Taliban took control of Afghanistan. The anti-American posture is part of a “Grand Strategy” developed by Pakistan with its new partners – Russia, China, Turkey and the Taliban.
The most vocal and pragmatic among Pakistani commentators like Najam Sethi criticized the way the Pakistani military and ISI dictated policy on Afghanistan and literally pushed it down the throats of the Pakistani people through flexible government. “Foreign policies shouldn’t dictate how the nation will operate. If there is a nation, there is an establishment and not the other way around. It is necessary to remove the hybrid system created by the military and bring the nation together, ”Sethi said in an interview.
On August 17, Prime Minister Khan and General Bajwa met with prominent Taliban leaders in Pakistan. Pakistan also invited non-Pashtun leaders in what it described as an effort to seek broad consensus. After the meeting, Pakistan stressed that it would do everything for an “inclusive settlement” of the Afghan conflict. So despite the belligerence, Pakistan hopes to keep the United States and the West by its side by leveraging its currencies to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table. It wishes to maintain its international relevance.
However, while speaking of inclusiveness, Pakistan remains quite dismissive of the previous regime. He calls Ashraf Ghani and Amrullah Saleh puppets of America who have desperately tried to delay and reverse the US withdrawal. Apparently, the resistance organized by Saleh will meet opposition from Pakistan.
On August 19, Pakistani media reported with some glee that the Taliban announced the establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan on the occasion of the 102nd anniversary of the country’s independence from British rule. This statement came when the United States accused the Taliban of reneging on its commitment to allow Afghans who worked with the United States and its allies to leave the country.
Pakistan is going too far to prove that the Taliban will be a good benevolent regime. The “new” Taliban are different from the old ones; women’s education and their right to work will be uninterrupted; the media would be allowed to operate independently are some of the points consistently highlighted by the Pakistani media.
Pakistan says it will recognize the new regime in Afghanistan after consultation and consensus with “all of Afghanistan’s neighbors”, but especially China and Russia. For international consultations, he appoints Turkey. Apparently Pakistan, while dealing with Talibanized Afghanistan, will ignore the sensitivities of India, the United States and the West.
Pakistan is going to great lengths to prove to the world that it is linked to Afghanistan because of “dictatorships on the ground and to house over five million refugees many of whom are now calling Pakistan home.” He talks about a bilateral trade worth hundreds of millions of dollars which he says has already started after Taliban control. “Today, many trucks loaded with fresh fruit (from Afghanistan) cleared customs at Chaman,” a senior Pakistan customs official said on August 19.
Pakistan also wants the Taliban to remain completely isolated from India. “Pakistan hopes that the Taliban will not allow the use of their land against Pakistan and any other country,” said a statement from Pakistan’s foreign ministry; the reference was so clearly to India. That aside, Pakistan is going too far in projecting India as a villain of the play. On August 20, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that some “anti-peace” elements were active to play the role of spoilers and that it is a test for the Afghan leadership to face such challenges. Ultimately, the Taliban will wish to retain their autonomy in their foreign policy; the contradictory ambition of the two countries will be interesting in the future.
In short, the situation in Afghanistan is the creation of the ISI under the supervision of the Pakistani army. Pakistan’s Afghan policy, as such, is dictated by the Pakistani military and the ISI; it has an outright military connotation with a pro-China / Russia / Turkey bias. It goes against the interests of India and the West. Simply put, the Pakistani military wants to control Afghanistan. Pakistan’s discourse on inclusiveness in governance in Afghanistan is eye-drops; he is looking for a pure and flexible Taliban government. To this end, it uses its captive media machinery to project the Taliban as “new and reformed.” Pakistan will do all it can to prevent India from entering Afghanistan, which is why it will also keep Iran at bay. Ultimately, the Pakistani military will use Afghanistan as a strategic asset against India to the extent of the proliferation of terror in Kashmir, the increase in drug supply in the Punjab and the creation of jihadist cells across the country.
Writer is a geostrategic analyst
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