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As the Taliban swept Kabul on Sunday after a dramatic military offensive, the leaders of neighbouring Pakistan did not hide their gloat over the shameful ending of the United States’ 20-year mission in Afghanistan.
Prime Minister Imran Khan Announce The Afghans “broke the shackles of slavery.”His special assistant Raoof Hasan wrote On twitter “The device that the United States put together for Afghanistan collapsed like the well-known house of cards.” When Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, Hassan praised what he called the “almost smooth transfer of power” from Ghani’s “corrupt” government to Taliban rule.
Pakistan has played a contradictory role in Afghanistan for a long time: the United States’ nominal ally in its “war on terror” has been accused of providing secretly to the Taliban for decades. Required support Resist NATO-supported military operations—especially through its powerful cross-service intelligence agencies.
As a result, the Islamic radicals’ Regain power Crossing the border is widely regarded as a denial of American adventurism and a step towards Pakistan’s most important national security goal: eliminating the influence of rival India in a country it considers to be its backyard.
With the advancement of the Taliban, India, as an ally of Ghani, hastily closed its consulates across the country.
“Pakistan has a clear sense of victory,” said Elizabeth Srekerd, a former State Department official in the country and a senior fellow at the Stimson Center think tank in Washington, DC.
However, due to the rise of the Taliban, Pakistan has suffered many losses, which may cause a series of problems, from a large number of refugees to the resurgence of domestic terrorism related to the Taliban, resulting in the death of thousands of Pakistanis.
“The rise of the Taliban is not a simple result for Pakistan at all,” said Madiha Afzal, a fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of a book on extremism in the country. “The Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan may have a serious adverse effect on security.”
The jihadist groups operating in Pakistan and its surrounding areas, especially the Pakistani Taliban or TTP, “view the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan as a greater ideological victory. In the long run, this heralds instability in the region,” she said. Say.
Write an article in “Foreign Affairs” magazine last month, Former Pakistani diplomat Hussein Haqqani called the success of the Taliban “a victory that is not worth the loss.”
For many years, Pakistan has suffered from the violence of the TTP. The most notorious is the massacre of 150 people in 2014. The vast majority are children ——In a school in Peshawar. Since then, Pakistani security forces have cracked down, but its fighters have regrouped in Afghanistan.Some of its members are It is said that He was recently released from the local prison by Taliban militants.
A minister in the Khan cabinet who did not want to be named acknowledged that Pakistan’s security threats have increased. “This is a risk that we must consider,” the minister said. “Will there be spillover? If so, in what form?”
Pakistan’s compromise with the Taliban has also damaged relations with the United States, a strategic ally since the Cold War.President Joe Biden is Not contacted yet Since Khan took office in January, this diplomatic contempt has angered the prime minister.
“The Americans have now decided that India is their strategic partner, and I think this is why they treat Pakistan differently,” Khan said last week.
Michael Kugelman, a senior assistant to the Wilson Center think tank in Washington, D.C., said that the rapid takeover of the Taliban represented “the best situation in Islamabad.” It can limit the direct flow of refugees into Pakistan, which has already hosted about 3 million displaced Afghans, while giving the Taliban a chance to consolidate power.
“A stable Afghanistan will benefit Pakistan,” said Ayaz Amir, a former member of the Pakistani parliament.
The Taliban have a long-term relationship with Pakistan. Its early leaders, Pashtuns living near the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, studied at the Pakistani Seminary in the 1980s, then returned to Afghanistan and joined the Islamic government that took power in the 1990s.
Although Pakistan ostensibly deserted the Taliban after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, its military and intelligence officials have been documented to continue to assist the organization.
Some sympathize with its extreme ideology, while others see it as an indispensable asset against India. The Taliban leaders lived and did business in Pakistan for a long time, and the wounded fighters were treated in Pakistani hospitals.
The Haqqani Network, an affiliate of the Taliban, has a “close relationship” with the intelligence services of the three services. Recent report From the American Institute of Peace. “The Taliban rely on Pakistan as their biggest patron,” said a Western diplomat.
The former head of the intelligence service of the three services, Hamid Gour, once joked that history will notice that “the intelligence service of the three services defeated the United States in Afghanistan with the help of the United States.”
A senior Pakistani Foreign Ministry official denied that the Taliban was an “agent” in Islamabad, but admitted that it pursues a “dual track” strategy and maintains open channels of communication to ensure that militants “do not contact Pakistan’s hardline Islamic groups.”
Some analysts are skeptical, believing that Islamabad will find it difficult to persuade the more courageous and powerful Afghan Taliban to suppress its ideological opponents.
“Of course we don’t want a Taliban government to take over Pakistan,” the official said.