Pakistan should Recognize New Afghan Government in Friendly Gestures: Dr. Akram Zaheer

As the Taliban took over the control of Kabul, scholars asked how Taliban achieved this success. One of the many reasons is that the Taliban were never alone. They are always supported by Pakistan’s constant governments, its armed forces, and its military intelligence. Taliban leaders have long been based on Pakistan, even when Islamabad has acquired American aid and weaponry systems to help the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Now, it seems that the Taliban have taken full power in Afghanistan and Islamabad’s diplomatic end objectives and its narrative has reached its policy. And it should be noted that Pakistani politicians and officials have not directly defended the Taliban. They always pointed out that Pakistani government has supported peaceful resolution in Afghanistan, and the peace should be “Afghan property and Afghan leadership”. These were great vocal words and statements over which all other stakeholders agreed. Pakistani officials also pointed out that they would agree that Afghan themselves should work together. In addition, after the fall of Kabul, the National Security Committee of Pakistan issued a declaration to confirm the status of non-interference in Afghan cases. Therefore, wonderful neutrality seemed to be coated with gold.

Once a statement issued by Prime Minister’s Advisor on National Security Moeed Yousaf, the Afghan people have welcomed the Taliban instead of opposing them. The statement was more sincere than dangerous about the Taliban. Yusuf also questioned to Ashraf Ghani’s rule in the same interview. Two days later, as Pakistan’s minister for Climate Change Zartaj Gul went ahead and cheered about fall of Kabul as soon as Taliban entered in Kabul. Although Zartaj Gul deleted his tweet in less than an hour, the next day Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that “they have now broken the chains of slavery in Afghanistan”.

Considering these two approaches together allows us to examine the Taliban and Pakistan connection and assess what Islamabad is laying the groundwork for the future. If Pakistani politicians were unconvinced of Ghani’s rule, then they are openly happy with the fall of his government, and if they have defeated with weak military force, then Pakistan have no right to claim neutrality in terms of mandates. Pakistani statements are contradiction of the promise that they would accept any decision from the Afghan people. Ashraf Ghani’s position was indeed perilous and has been questioned by many but his electoral success has been contested. Therefore, the crux of the peace process was the refusal by Taliban to negotiate directly with the government in Kabul because they called a puppet of a foreign power. Thus, Pakistan’s efforts to weaken the legitimacy of the government in Kabul played a role in the favor of Taliban. In other words: Pakistan has certainly supported the process of “Afghan leadership”, but only if it was led by Talban. Islamabad has been demanding of a peaceful solution, even though the war seems to be coming to an end, is also a smart move. After pretending not to support the Taliban for so long, the Pakistani government as a whole wisely chose not to just say, “They are our people, we are happy to see them win, and we are theirs and will support them.

What happened in Kabul on August 15 was apparently more one-sided than a peace deal, Pakistan may reveal it later. For this, it was necessary for the Taliban not only to attack the capital and physically overthrow the government and sit in Ashraf Ghani Palace for final talks or something like that. Since the Taliban encircled the capital of Afghanistan, it was probably nothing more than Ghani’s resignation and acceptance of stepping down. But Pakistan’s statement will be enough that a peaceful transfer of power has initiated.

In addition, some military commanders and tribal leaders did stand down and negotiated to surrender, Taliban may offer them a position in the government. This allowed Pakistan to announce about the future government that Pakistan wanted new Afghan government to be representing all stakeholders. The process of adjusting few defectors in the new administration, Pakistan may accept as a government of national unity or alliance. Finally, Islamabad is more likely to legitimize the Taliban regime in Kabul and to establish diplomatic relations with it (as in the past). But Pakistan will also claim that the government was formed through peaceful negotiations and that it represents more than the Taliban. This, in turn, may be Pakistan’s line of defense against international aftershocks such as diplomatic criticism or the possibility of being sanctioned from multilateral financial institutions to support a radical and extremist organization.

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