Pakistan’s part in the Afghan Peace Process between the US and the Taliban is exceptionally significant. The fate of peace and security in the area is subject to the job Pakistan plays in the intra-Afghan reconciliation. Pakistan will profit more by playing the part of a facilitator in a stable Afghanistan. It is imperative that Pakistan keeps on observing the political scene to relieve the impacts of the US withdrawal.
The role of Pashtun nationalists and Islamist ideological groups in cultivating harmony in Afghanistan is significant on account of their long-haul, complex binds with political actors in Afghanistan. Willing to help the peace process in Afghanistan with a more sensible comprehension of Afghan culture, these groups could be a resource for Pakistan in satisfying its target of getting the western boundary safe against terrorism.
During the anti-terrorism activities in the post 9/11 attacks and even now during the peace talks with the Taliban, the job of Pakistan has remained pivotal to the interest of the area and the United States. It is again a legitimate concern for Pakistan that cross-line attacks of the extremists, unlawful carrying of opiates, and mass migration may return Afghanistan to a safe haven of terrorists and radicals.
From the beginning, there was a race of contending powers between the NATO powers and the non-state actors in Afghanistan like the Al-Qaeda, Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and ISIS. Yet, presently, the withdrawal of the US powers from Afghanistan has made it a contending climate between the former Northern Alliance and the main non-state actors i.e., the Taliban. The US had chosen to pull out its forces from Afghanistan by August 31, 2021. The Taliban just want the US to leave Afghanistan and let them tackle the situation by themselves.
With the peace process approaching its conclusion, the main inquiry that rings a bell concerning Pakistan working with the Afghan Peace Process is: what is Pakistan going to get in post-US exit Afghanistan? It clearly needs to scatter the global impression of Pakistan as state-supporting terrorism that gives a place of refuge, knowledge, and military guide to terror elements. Furthermore, Pakistan likewise needs to improve and maintain its relations with major regional forces including the US and the Taliban.
It is the first occasion when Pakistan’s expectations and part in achieving peace and security in South Asia line up with the interests of the worldwide community. All past endeavors at finishing ridiculous equipped clash in Afghanistan, and settling the region were ineffective. This might be inferable from Pakistan’s already solid help of a Taliban-drove government in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s part as a facilitator in the Afghan Peace Process is extremely productive to the state. By being by and by at the masterminding table with the major regional powers, Pakistan wants to improve its relations with various states. It outfits Pakistan with the opportunity to accomplish one of its plans which focuses in regards to Afghanistan – to set up an association of regional states.
Moreover, Pakistan wants to function collectively with Afghanistan to curb terrorism and the international community’s claims about Pakistan as a state supporting terrorism. This gives Pakistan a chance of impacting its position on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list, and can similarly incite extended trade. To improve its binds with Afghanistan, Pakistan should expect an inclusive government in Kabul. Pakistan has put forth a deliberate attempt to show up as a non-one-sided actor in the Afghan Peace Process by not situating itself with one group.
Improving its relations with Afghanistan is of most extreme significance to Pakistan, with regards to India. Despite the fact that India is not a functioning member in the peace process, it in any case has its own advantages in Afghanistan’s adjustment. India has consistently had great binds with Afghanistan’s chosen governments. Its inclinations in Afghanistan are just to utilize its domain to keep a check on Pakistan’s force. By setting up a solid relationship with the inclusive government, Pakistan can decrease India’s monetary, political, and security impact in Afghanistan.
Pakistan should keep supporting a blended government to be set up in Afghanistan. A Taliban-drove government may lean more towards Pakistan in the political scene; however, Pakistan ought not to need them to be in full control. A 1990s Afghanistan on Pakistan’s western front would prompt the resurgence of terrorism and aggressiveness in the region by enabling terrorist outfits in Pakistan, like the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
The peace process has made a misguided sensation that all is well and good in the area. The occasions following the end of the peace process and post-US withdrawal from Afghanistan present various difficulties for Pakistan’s public safety. The withdrawal of worldwide powers makes space for more grounded terrorist groups in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other adjoining states and a threat of attempt to snatch command over the territory. The US affirmation of pulling out troops from Afghanistan has prompted diverse terrorist groups in Pakistan to float towards one another to frame a coalition. The intermingling of these militant gatherings just spells calamity for Pakistan’s public safety.
India may likewise see the disintegrating peace and security in the area as the freedom to keep propagating its story of Pakistan being a land that is supporting terrorism. This could end up being an exorbitant test to Pakistan’s validity post the US withdrawal, which as of now it is by all accounts recovering because of its due part as a facilitator and arbitrator in the Intra-Afghan Dialogue. Pakistan can’t withstand more pressure from the global community for not doing what’s necessary for checking terrorism. Pakistan’s posting on the grey list in the FATF has effectively made significant harm to its monetary and political believability.
If Pakistan continues to play the role of a mediator in the Afghan Peace Process, without any biases, it would be really helpful for Pakistan to maintain good relations with the three main stakeholders that are the US, the former Northern Alliance, and the Taliban. Pakistan should continue its support of an inclusive government in which all the Afghan powers get a share in the power. Such a blended form of government would be acceptable to the US and other world powers and it would also help to avoid civil conflict.
Also, in this form of government, no one would be the absolute political power of Afghanistan and it would be easy for Pakistan to deal with them. Also, in this shape of government, Pakistan can easily navigate between the bloc of the US and the bloc of the Taliban. In short, Pakistan can retain good ties with all stakeholders if a mixed administration is established in Afghanistan. However, if the Taliban take absolute control of Afghanistan’s government, Pakistan’s relations with the US will deteriorate.
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy and position of Regional Rapport.