Implications of Taliban retaking Kabul
TAKING advantage of the volatile situation in Afghanistan, some countries, particularly India, have been pursuing their own agendas instead of advancing the cause of peace, so vitally needed for shared regional economic prosperity besides exacerbating the security situation.
To begin with, it supported the Northern Alliance against Taliban to keep the fire burning and after the removal of Taliban by the US in the backdrop of 9/11, it changed its strategy though with the same purpose.
It started to have a foothold in Afghanistan by supporting the Afghan government through investment which according to reports amounted to $ 3 billion.
The bonhomie with the Afghan government provided it the chance to poison the minds of the leaders of the country against Pakistan as rightly pointed out by DG ISPR in a presser the other day.
It succeeded in her efforts to generate an ambience of mistrust between the Afghan government and Pakistan resulting in negative and hostile statements by them, notwithstanding the fact that Pakistan has been making relentless and sincere efforts to have the Afghan conflict resolved.
Indian intelligence agency RAW in connivance with its Afghan counterpart NDS supported and financed terrorist entities like Daesh and TTP to carry out acts of terrorism in Pakistan.
According to a source privy to back channel contacts between Pakistan and Afghan government in 2017, the Afghan National Security Advisor had revealed that India had made available Rs 84 billion for anti-Pakistan activities out of which RS.30 billion had been handed over to Abdul Wali of Tehrik Ul-Ahrar for sponsoring acts of terrorism in Pakistan.
The hostility of the Afghan government towards Pakistan also encouraged the Baloch insurgents to establish sanctuaries on the Afghan soil supported by India.
The capture of Kalbhushan Jhadev a naval officer of India in Balochistan provided an irrefutable proof of Indian involvement in acts of terrorism in Pakistan and support to Baloch insurgency.
The TTP operators also continued with their attacks on Pakistani security personnel engaged in fencing the Afghan border, while the Afghan government looked the other way in spite of protestations by Pakistan.
However, retaking of Kabul by the Taliban has ended the anti-Pakistan nexus between Indian and Afghan government and also led to the cessation of firing from across the border by the terrorists, at least for now. The situation on Pak-Afghan border is now normal.
This development is quite encouraging for Pakistan but there is no reason for complacency.
The DG ISPR rightly said that Pakistani security forces were alert and ready to face any situation in case something untoward happens.
The situation in Afghanistan has not settled yet and much will depend on the ability of the Taliban to put together an inclusive government and fulfilling their promises with the international community in regards to rights of women and minorities and denying space to the terrorist entities to use Afghan soil for their acts of terrorism.
Taliban have repeatedly reiterated their commitment in this regard and there are positive signs suggesting that the Taliban of today are far more different from the Taliban of yester years.
There are reports that while they are busy in setting up an inclusive government they have ordered the women employees of the government to come back to their duties, They have also announced amnesty for all including former rulers of Afghanistan.
The prospective armed clash between Taliban and Ahmed Shah Massoud of Panjshir has also been averted and both sides have agreed to hold a dialogue to settle the contentious issues.
In a tribal set-up like Afghanistan characterized by multi-ethnic milieu orchestrating unity is quite an arduous task.
The Taliban have surely learnt from their experience and would not want further bloodshed in the country.
Pakistan which has worked so hard through the years at the bilateral and multilateral forums to facilitate and promote peace in Afghanistan, is pro-actively working to urge the international community to help the Taliban in the formation of the new government and also keep supporting them for a lasting peace in that country as well as the region. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has established contacts with a number of his counterparts around the world and also visited some Central Asian capitals to enlist their support for that cause.
The efforts that Pakistan has made for a peace deal between US and Taliban paving the way for withdrawal of foreign troops and facilitating intra-Afghan dialogue stemmed from its belief and commitment that peace in Afghanistan was in her own interest which lent currency to its sincerity in that regard.
Now that the situation has taken an abrupt turn and thrown open the opportunities to end decades old conflict in Afghanistan, it rightly is working to consolidate the gains of the recent developments in that country.
However greater responsibility to establish peace in Afghanistan and thwarting the designs of the enemies of peace depends on Taliban themselves.
There is no denying the fact that they need international recognition and support for rebuilding Afghanistan.
The eyes of the entire world are focused on how they fulfil the promises that they have made and their ability to install a government of national consensus.
The regional countries including Pakistan which have suffered enormously due to the volatile situation in Afghanistan are also willing to extend all possible help to the Taliban.
Now it is up to the Taliban to take advantage of the emerging possibilities to establish lasting peace in the country which they owe to the people of Afghanistan.
— The writer is former Director General Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, based in Islamabad.