Afghan Taliban Peace Talks : Pakistan desperate to grab attention of US

Efforts to resume “dead” talks

In some recent events in Pakistan,Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi welcomed Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who is leading Taliban Political Commission (TPC) delegation, upon his arrival at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Islamabad on October 3, 2019. Pakistan gave a red carpet welcome to the 12-member Taliban team, headed by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. The Pakistani side also included intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed, foreign secretary Sohail Mahmood and others. The Afghan Taliban officials arrived in Islamabad to discuss the possibility of reviving talks for a political settlement in Afghanistan. The timing of the Taliban visit — which coincided with that of Washington’s special peace envoy for Afghanistan, who was also in Islamabad on Thursday for “consultations” with Pakistani officials — appears to indicate Pakistan is seeking to help restart the talks.

The latest development follows the recent bilateral talks between President Trump and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Last Month, Trump had halted talks with the group, aimed at striking a deal for US and other foreign troops to withdraw in exchange for Taliban security guarantees, after it carried out a bomb attack in Kabul that killed 12 people, including a US soldier. It is not clear whether US has got over Taliban’s bombing actions before the secret peace talks or not as it has still not shown any interest to resume the talks.On the other hand Pakistan seems very eager to get the two parties to restart their talks.

Hidden Motives

Prime Minister Khan stressed the need for peace in Afghanistan which he termed as a key to peace and stability in the region. Ironically, a country known worldwide to be the hub of all global terrorism is now suddenly talking of peace and harmony in the world. While one of the motives behind Pakistan’s sudden awakening to extend all support to achieve permanent peace in Afghanistan is because it is somewhat essential for Pakistan’s own socio-economic development and progress, it’s major motive behind this outburst of goodwill is more important.

What Pakistan stands to Gain

The US has long considered Pakistani cooperation crucial to efforts to end the war in Afghanistan. Pakistan is quick to realize that to no longer be in the bad books of the super power nation, it must respond in a manner that US wants it to. After facing extreme humiliation globally, failing to earn any support on the Kashmir issue, Pakistan has now thought that the only way to up its game is to show its support to US by acting as a mediator in the peace talks. As such Pakistan has been cut off by US in terms of millions of dollars of financial aid, the last thing Pakistan would want is to anger its sole lender without whose support their economy may shatter. No wonder PM Imran Khan is now speaking the language of peace and wants to urgently start the reconciliation process because the Big Bank in the west says so.

The nation which came back from UNGA red faced just a week ago, after their PM admitted to training Taliban and Al-Qaeda, is shamelessly professing that they have been strongly and sincerely supporting all peace processes. The world today knows Pakistan to be the father of Taliban that is not only training and harboring the terrorists but also has been acting as the launch pad and planning station of all major terrorist activities in the world.

Viewpoint

Pakistan sees that the broad regional and international consensus for achieving peace in Afghanistan provides an unprecedented opportunity that must not be lost by them. By trying to be the goodwill ambassador here, Pakistan aims to achieve certain closeness with US that will put other nations at a distance. Pakistan may be under the false impression that by trying to help US it may leave India and other countries far behind in the race and that he can someday come at par with other leading countries in world politics. Little do they know that there are many other big fishes in the pond and right now, laying quietly at the bottom of the pond where they belong is the only thing that can help them survive.

05 Oct 19/Saturday                           Written by: Saima Ebrahim