Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif’s speech at the UN general assembly has sparked a row in Afghanistan. The Taliban has rejected Sharif’s claim of Afghanistan becoming a threat to the world including Pakistan. The Taliban ministry has asked Pakistan to apologize for its baseless allegations.
As per a report from the Times of India, the Taliban official said that “Shehbaz Sharif told the whole world at the UN that Afghanistan is a safe haven for terrorists, and Afghanistan is a great threat to the world. We reject the statement as unwarranted and demeaning. Pakistan should issue an unconditional apology.”
Pakistan’s strained Ties with the Taliban 2.0
After the Taliban took over Afghanistan, Pakistan was relieved. However things didn’t turn out the way Pakistan wanted. The Taliban has vehemently denied serving the interest of Pakistan, both on the political and military front.
The first thing the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan did after coming to power in Afghanistan was to release the terrorists of TTP, who were captured by the US-backed Ashraf Ghani regime. These terrorists have now become a menace to Pakistan’s security forces.
The rise of ISKP(Islamic State-Khorasan Province) in Afghanistan forced the Taliban regime to not take harsh measures against TTP, as the regime feared that TTP fighters may join the ISKP, the prime enemy of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The frequent skirmishes along the Durand line between Pak Security forces and Taliban fighters have again indicated that like all the previous regimes, the Taliban do not consider the British-era Durand line as a legitimate border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Strategic Depth Syndrome
Pakistan from its short period of existence has always wanted to establish a regime in Afghanistan that it can control as a political pawn. The reason for this was the vulnerability of Pakistan to an Indian attack, as it is geographically narrow. In this way, Afghanistan would serve as a strategic hedge against India for Pakistan.
The modus-operandi of TTP i.e attacking the Pak Army and then finding shelter in the Taliban-ruled Afghanistan has made it clear that Afghanistan has now become a strategic depth not for Pakistan but for the TTP.
Pakistan’s Conspiracy to re-start terrorism in Afghanistan
Pakistan is on the verge of being a failed state. The economy is in shambles and the recent flood is the last nail in the coffin.
Many prominent personalities view PM Sharif’s speech in the UNGA as a larger conspiracy by Pakistan to wage a proxy war in Afghanistan in order to attract aid.
A famous Pashtun intellectual and politician from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Afrasiab Khattak said that “some former Mujahideen and current Taliban is the proxy of Pakistan. Their relationship with Islamabad will go up and down, but it will never disappear. He further said that Shahbaz Sharif’s speech at the UNGA was a new conspiracy of Pakistan to attract aid.
He further said that Pakistan’s Afghan policy is to use Afghanistan’s strategic geography to start a new conflict for dominance in Central Asia, following the Afghan Jihad of the 1980s.
Former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai has termed Shahbaz Sharif’s speech as unfortunate and untrue and has accused Pakistan of nurturing and using terrorism against Afghanistan’s people, culture, and heritage.
Double faced policy of Pakistan
After Pakistan became an ally of the United States in its Global War on Terror, Pakistan played the role of a double agent i.e harbored Taliban leaders in Pakistan and also gave military facilities to the US to launch attacks on Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
The US-led NATO coalition’s war in Afghanistan was instrumental in running the war economy of Pakistan. The US provided Pakistan with military aid and sophisticated military hardware like the F-16 fighter aircraft.
Pak PM’s statement in the United Nations, where he called Afghanistan to be a safe haven for terrorists and that it now poses a global threat, has received sharp criticism from the Taliban as well as from the leaders in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Pakistan’s quest for ever longing war in Afghanistan will continue so as to safeguard its interest there.
The United States has deep interests in Afghanistan and the recent US-Pak deal to upgrade Pakistan Air Force F-16 fighter aircraft indicates a thaw in the relationship of both nations which has been turbulent, especially during the Trump regime.
All these factors indicate that Afghanistan might soon become a geopolitical battleground for superpowers soon.