Discover more from AAHSoomro
Pakistan amid Afghanistan peace efforts
Barbed wires to cross
Lately, Afghanistan's peace process is getting derailed. US intelligence agencies believe Kabul can fall in 90 days. Pakistan has repeatedly vouched for peace highlighting the limits of leverage they have had on Taleben. Now, apparently, Taleban has placed a condition of removal of Afghanistan's Ashraf Ghani. It's going to get messier before it gets good.
President Biden had already said we did not go for "nation building" nor was Afghanistan ever a "unified" country. Hence, the early withdrawal has technically created a civil war in the country. Pakistan's efforts to bring China & Russia (and not India) in the resolution has upped some leverage. Especially, when US seems to be withdrawing from the region.
After Dasu's attack (which is being linked to India & Afghanistan), Foreign Minister Qureshi scrambled to China to present the findings. Immediately, Taleban delegation also met Chinese FM and discussion highlighted no support for East Turkemistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) in China & Tehreek Taleban Pakistan (TTP). These two are matters of national security for Afghanistan's neighbors. There seems to be a tacit approval from Taleban.
Domestically, US Defence Secretary spoke to Army Chief. Followed by Chinese ambassadar's meeting with Mr Bajwa. Followed by the Chief's rendezvous with Germany's, France's, Italy's & Netherland's ambassador. The choice of words is clear - Pakistan should not be blamed for US failures and made a "scapegoat".
Such conclusion resonated with PM Khan also said US only sees Pakistan through Afghan's prism and (obviously) has taken India as a strategic ally.
Peace in Afghanistan is vital for peace in Pakistan. Pakistan wants good ties with any afghan led government and has no favorites. Hence, the borders are being wired & visa requirements increased. This may be starkly different from Pakistan's relationship with Afghanistan pre-2001 but this is a balanced approach.
Since this region has the scope of regional connectivity (under BRI) and peace on western border is vital for Pakistan's army to keep border with India strongly defended. Eventually, China & Russia may step in to "rebuild thy neighbour" and shower some USD bn in Afghanistan to secure peace.
Until then, next few months are going to be tough. Pakistan has had a preemptive diplomacy of telling no groundspace/airspace for attacks in Afghanistan. Thus remaining neutral to Taleban regime. Yet trying to persuade Taleban for talks (pleasing US and commitment to peace).
War near your borders has economic & political repercussions. If Pakistan is charting out an independent path to growth, plan must be a foot to be ready grow your dollar earnings (exports) and diversify in value addition. We have trade surplus with Afghanistan & US. There could be a subtle shift there if we are not in the "camp".
Time to stop relying on foreign aid & develop internally.