Pakistan Asked to Take Practical Steps Towards the Taliban

Kabul’s Demands from Pakistan

Kabul’s media spokesperson said that Afghanistan wants Pakistan to take practical steps against the Taliban. He added that Pakistan should close Taliban bases and end its support for the insurgents in the context of US withdrawal. Furthermore, Dawa Khan Menapal, director of Afghanistan’s Government media and information centre said that “We believe that the terrorists have bases and support in Pakistan”. Menapal voiced the rhetoric of Ashraf Ghani that the Taliban has received logistics, finances, and recruitments from Pakistan. He also said that consultative bodies of Taliban have been named after Taliban cities i.e., Peshawar Shura, Quetta Shura and Miranshah Shura.

Similarly, in May Afghan national security advisor Hamdullah Muhib warned the Taliban that Pakistani agencies would sacrifice them for their own objectives. He said that \”All they have told you is a lie. The only thing they want from you is that they are sacrificing you for themselves and for their own war.\”

Taliban Bases: A Point of Contention

Pak-Afghan relations are being characterized by mutual distrust and allegations that Pakistan is a haven for the Afghan Taliban. Moreover, the Afghan government also claims that Pakistan’s failure to restrain the Taliban has started the unended scale of violence. This rhetoric was voiced in the statements of Menapal. However, a former Pakistani brigadier responded to these allegations by stating that, “All their hideouts and safe places inside Pakistan have been dismantled”.

Pakistan Surprised Regarding Kabul’s Allegation

Experts orate that the allegations by Kabul have surprised the Pakistani officials. Since Pakistan’s Army Chief and Director General of Interservice intelligence met Afghan officials. Moreover, the Pakistani Foreign Minister also delivers a speech to Afghans’ leadership in the Pakistan national assembly. Shah Mehmood Qureshi responded to the Afghan allegations that “We want economic cooperation, we want bilateral trade, we want to shift geopolitics to geoeconomics. But what do you want?’’. Pakistan’s ambition to work with Afghanistan is for regional stability and to promote geoeconomics. Pakistan urges for a peaceful power transition to balance the war-torn country.

Pakistan’s Response to Allegations

Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafez Chaudhari responded to the Afghan statements and conveyed his concerns for their remarks. He further said that \”Pakistan has conveyed its serious concerns to the Afghan side by making a strong demarche with the ambassador of Afghanistan in Islamabad,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry also warned Kabul that such statements would impact the Pakistani efforts regarding the Afghan peace process.

Pakistan Stops Official Contact with Afghan National Security Advisor

Pakistan conveyed the concern to Kabul that it will not do any official contact with Hamdullah Muhib due to his irresponsible remarks. The statements by Hamdullah raged the Pakistani circle who denounced the official contact with him. This statement has again brought Pak-Afghan relations into the limelight. Pakistani officials said that Kabul is not seriously engaging with Pakistan and is disregarding the efforts made in the peace process. These concerns were also confirmed by Vice President Amrullah Saleh during his address in Khost province. These statements from Kabul are detrimental for the Afghan interests, said Said Azam, a former Afghan official.

Expert Remarks on Muhib’s Statement

“It was insulting, first and foremost for himself, the government of Afghanistan, and the people of Afghanistan. A common man in Afghanistan sees their Pakistani neighbours as brothers and sisters. He went too rude and dirty, to be honest,” Azam said. Similarly, Torek Farhadi, a former Afghan advisor considered these remarks as “immaturity’’ for his rank.

The US Praise Pakistan for its Efforts

Since, the recent statements by Kabul, Washington praised the Pakistani efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiations table. They further applauded Pakistan for its sincere commitment to the Afghan peace process. Moreover, Pakistan has relaxed its visa policies for Afghans and has build border infrastructure to enhance trade. Furthermore, it is also providing Afghan students to study in Pakistani universities based on scholarship. The President UNGA Mr Volkan Bozkir, also praised these efforts, on his recent visit to Islamabad.

Additionally, the recent statement by the Afghan National Security advisor has sparked distrust and allegations among both states. The statement clearly depicts the irresponsible and immature behaviour of Afghan officials. Pakistan foreign office responded to these statements and conveyed their concerns.  Moreover, they reiterated Pakistani efforts regarding the Afghan peace process. Lastly, Pakistan also cut off all the official contacts with the Afghan national security advisor on his statements. Hence, the statements issued by Kabul are detrimental to their own interests, having negative implications for the Afghan peace process.


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