Taliban Dent Pakistan’s desire to become a regional power

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The falcon cannot hear the falconer! The Taliban regime’s decision to block Pakistan army’s move to install fences near Durand Line in southwestern Nimroz province of Afghanistan is a slap on the face of masters at Rawalpindi. The failure to placate Taliban to safeguard the national interest will be added to the long list of disastrous efforts by Pakistan to become a regional power… writes Dr Sakariya Kareem

Things are changing at a fast pace in the Af-Pak region. But nobody cares. The Pak factor is spoiling the chances of Afghanistan to attain normalcy. Taliban 2.0 is back to square one to fulfill its barbaric agenda. Girls and women are feeling the heat. Taliban soldiers are not even sparing the graves of “enemies.” The whole episode is revealed under the watchful eyes of the media. That is upsetting the plans of Pakistan to generate sympathy to implement its regional agenda. Now the generals are on a begging mode to please their own creations.  

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Pakistan is asking the Taliban to do things it will not do in its own country —respect human rights and end support to terrorism in all its forms on its soil.    The homily is prompted by Pakistan’s burning desire to be recognised as a ‘regional power’ on par, if not superior to, India.

By accident or design Pakistan hosted an ‘extraordinary’ meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) foreign ministers when India was talking to foreign ministers of five Central Asian nations in New Delhi on matters Afghan. And got its ego hurt.

The leaders of five Islamic nations have demonstrated the futility of looking at the Afghan plight under Taliban 2.0 through the prism of Islam.   Their action came as a grim reminder of the limitations of the religious card just when Pakistanis of all hues from Generals down to Mullahs were reliving as they do every December the trauma of the 1971 War. It was a short war. And resulted in the Eastern wing of the nation become an independent nation of Bengali speaking Pakistanis.

Often, generals are accused of an inability to look beyond their nose. This charge applies to Pakistani politicians as well, and if there are any lingering doubts these have been set at rest by the outcome of OIC summit in Islamabad.

Just about everybody in the world seems to be eager to host meetings and conferences to help the people of Afghanistan reeling under   Taliban 2.0. To a large extent their concern is pump primed by the Western Media, which feasts on death, destruction, devastation and starvation in the third world counties. 

Pakistan, China and even Russia have lost no time in talking about the ‘unfolding humanitarian crisis.’ But neither Pakistan nor China has walked the extra mile to persuade the Taliban rulers to rejig their mode of governance. Also, they have not yet tossed the idea of linking aid flow to an end to oppression.

Well, some humanitarian aid did reach Afghanistan but it is too small to generate optimism among the people. To their dismay, Pakistan showed its hypocritical face, and refused to allow transportation of Indian aid through its territory.  The Indian aid of wheat and medicines was announced in October.

Among friends of the Taliban, Pakistan and China are the loudest in urging the world to recognise the Taliban regime, irrespective of how the brutally battered nation is run.  Pakistan is in the forefront of issuing ‘warnings’ of an impending ‘humanitarian crisis’ if the world continued to prolong decision on recognition.

Russia’s approach to the recognition question is bizarre, to say the least. “The Islamic Emirate government is being recognized in practice, if not formally”, said the Russian special envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov in a recent interview with the news agency Sputnik. “The recognition process is continuing step- by- step”, he added referring to the visits of the Islamic Emirate officials to regional countries and their participation in various summits.

The Taliban expects the world to recognise its regime. But it is not ready to accede to the call for respecting human rights for women, children and the minorities.  Nor is the Islamic Emirates working vigorously and sincerely to uproot all vestiges of terrorism that thrive under its aegis.

The kind of noise that Pakistan makes helps it meet its objectives in Afghanistan and also pleases its all-weather friend China. As and when the world extends formal recognition to Afghanistan, Pakistan will take full credit for it. 

In return, a grateful Taliban will be expected to watch Pakistan’s interests which inter alia mean erasing Indian footprints on the Afghan soil. And allowing the India-centric terror groups to remain based in Afghanistan that will make it easy for Pakistan to deny direct involvement in attacks on India.  Reduced Indian influence in Afghanistan makes it easier for China to tap into its natural wealth.

There is a strong possibility of the Taliban misusing humanitarian aid from the US and other Western nations, and not all the aid reaching the needy in distress. Despite all the talk of virtue and piety by the Taliban, it is not free from corruption. A lot of its revenue comes from illegal drug traffic!

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