Were the Taliban the Best Strategic Outcome for Islamabad?

Hasht-E-Subh The Taliban’s victory in 2021 has been described as a strategic success for Pakistan, a country that has long been a supporter of the Taliban. Despite Faiz Hameed, the first high-ranking intelligence official, entering Kabul, the Pakistani embassy in Kabul remained operational. Senior Pakistani leaders, including Prime Minister Imran Khan, welcomed the Taliban, believing that a friendly regime in Kabul would protect Pakistan’s security interests. Khan stated that the return of the Taliban broke the “chain of slavery.”

The return of the Taliban to power was a victory for Pakistan, which had been a staunch supporter of the Taliban for years. Consequently, many analysts have concluded that Islamabad was the main beneficiary of the war in Afghanistan. Pakistan worked to encourage the world to engage with the Taliban through diplomatic channels on the international stage and urged them to use constructive methods instead of punitive measures.

Despite Islamabad’s expectations, the relationship between the Taliban and Pakistan has not progressed over the past two decades. The humanitarian and economic crisis in Afghanistan has led to Afghan migration to Pakistan, as well as border disputes, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Taliban’s approach to India, and India’s desire to establish a conservative relationship with the Taliban, all of which have created profound differences between Pakistan and the Taliban. This raises the question of whether Afghanistan under the leadership of the Taliban is the best strategic outcome for Islamabad.

Modern Diplomacy magazine recently conducted an analysis which concluded that the recent terrorist attacks in Pakistan demonstrate that the country’s leaders may have underestimated the potential repercussions of their backing of the Taliban. The government and security forces of Pakistan may not have fully comprehended the detrimental effects of their direct or indirect assistance to the Taliban, which has caused an increase in violence and instability within the country. The United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan on August 13th, 2021 was a cause for concern for Pakistan, as it is the closest neighbor to Afghanistan in terms of both geopolitics and ideology, thus bringing a heightened level of instability to the region. The Taliban’s potential return to power could create significant security issues for Pakistan, as well as economic and humanitarian consequences.

The magazine also asserted that the re-emergence of the Taliban has created a new reality, one in which their ideological ties to extremist groups such as the TTP could potentially lead to increased violence within Pakistan’s borders. Furthermore, the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan has placed a considerable burden on Pakistan, which is already struggling with economic and social issues. Consequently, Pakistan’s policy towards Afghanistan is flawed, as its support of the Taliban could lead to more violence within its own borders. Therefore, Pakistan should take a more cautious and strategic approach towards Afghanistan and the Taliban, considering the long-term consequences of its actions. Otherwise, it may face another wave of terrorist attacks and economic instability in the future.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.