Failed Peace Talks Between US and Taliban: What are Pakistan’s Interests

In an abrupt move, US president Donald Trump called off a secret meeting planned with the Taliban and another meeting with Afghanistan’s president at Camp David. The reasons for the same were said to be the recent bomb blasts in Kabul killing one American soldier and 11 others, for which Taliban claims responsibility. While America is really annoyed with this act, Taliban is still threatening America saying that cancellation of talks meant more American lives would be lost in future.

But let us take a look at the other nations effected by this. It is a known fact that Pakistan has always had vested interests in Afghanistan. While Pakistan’s military has cooperated with its U.S. counterpart to maintain the peace process, it has resisted American pressure to act against prominent anti-U.S. groups operating in Afghanistan from Pakistani soil. From the Western perspective, Pakistan has deliberately played a “double game”  by picking and choosing which militant outfits to target, while leaving out those that have been directly responsible for the deaths of Western forces in Afghanistan. Bewildered by this, Western analysts have often asked why Pakistan has not fallen in line with the U.S. position. Pakistan’s dilemma was that it had supported the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and Islamist militants in Indian Kashmir for years; it feared that an abrupt reversal in policy would cause an internal backlash. Therefore, while Pakistan agreed to support the U.S. effort in Afghanistan, at no cost did it want its intervention to upturn its balance vis-à-vis India or to create an unfriendly scenario in Afghanistan.  In the view of Pakistan’s military, U.S. involvement in Afghanistan further aggravated the regional imbalance regarding India and brought to power an antagonistic government in Kabul.

On the recent issue of Abrogation of article 370, Pakistan has strongly rejected the Indian Government’s decision that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and vowed to exercise all possible options, including appealing to the UN, to counter India’s “illegal” and “unilateral” step.

Clearly, Pakistan is much worried about its position with India, as there are increased tensions between the two countries. With the current prevailing situation ,it seems that Pakistan will have to move its Military forces from the western front dealing with Taliban  to the eastern front to beef up its strength against India. In such a scenario, could it be possible that Pakistan might have instigated these blasts in Kabul in order to stop supporting the US in peace efforts. Or is it an attempt to get US to notice what’s going on inside Pakistan so that a superior country like US may intervene in the matters of Kashmir and there might be just a small ray of hope for Pakistan. Whatever may be the thought process of the Pakistani Government ,it is now clear that with tensions rising on both sides of its borders, there is nothing left to do but to pray to the almighty and seek his blessings as they celebrate Muharram.

10 Sep 19/Tuesday                                        Written by Naphisa