What is the price that Pakistan pays after the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan?

On August 16, 2021, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan gleefully declared that “the Afghans have broken the shackles of slavery” as the Taliban were applying their control over the reins of power in Afghanistan.

Today, less than 6 months later, the harsh reality of the Taliban’s rule is beginning to become clear to Pakistan… The return of the Taliban in Afghanistan has encouraged the Tehreek-e-Taliban-Pakistan and other terrorist groups to intensify their violent activities, thereby increasing the risks posed by extremism and sectarianism. Despite all the promises made by the Afghan Taliban, it has refused to prevent the Tehreek-e-Taliban-Pakistan from continuing its attacks on the Pakistani security forces.

The Taliban-Pakistan attacks reached the heart of the country, and it carried out an attack on a police patrol in Islamabad on January 17, killing one policeman and wounding two others. Ironically, while Pakistan called for a conference of foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to find ways to secure humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, armed clashes erupted between the Afghan Taliban and Pakistani border forces in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar, against the backdrop of the border fence between the two countries.

Previous Afghan governments had expressed their objection to the border fencing, but neither side had resorted to the use of force in the recent period. Also, those clashes took place despite the fact that the Afghan forces are under the control of the ISI man, Sirajuddin Haqqani.

On that front, Imran Khan’s government described the attacks carried out by the Taliban-Pakistan movement earlier as the work of India and the Afghan intelligence service under the command of the national government. But with the two expelled from Kabul, why do these attacks continue? In fact, the Pakistani government considered it in its interest to have a friendly government in Kabul that would help it monitor the Pashtun nationalist movement, but events disproved that possibility.

Some Pakistani critics have questioned whether the policy pursued by the Pakistani state has suffered a heavy loss in terms of assessing the rapprochement between the Taliban movement in Afghanistan and the movement of the Taliban-Pakistan. Recently, the Chief of Staff of the Pakistani Army, General Qamar Bajwa, considered that the Afghan Taliban movement and the Pakistani Taliban movement are “two sides of the same coin”, hinting that either side is trustworthy.

There is no doubt that the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan has cost Pakistan dearly. According to Prime Minister Imran Khan, his country has witnessed over 80,000 casualties, the displacement of 3.5 million Pakistani citizens, and economic losses worth over $150 billion.

Its support for the Taliban has also led to a decline in its relations with its main partners, including the United States of America, European countries, China and other countries. For example, US President Joe Biden did not contact the Pakistani Prime Minister after taking office because of his dissatisfaction with Pakistan’s misleading role. The United States has also reduced the volume of its security and economic assistance to Pakistan.

As for China’s relationship with Pakistan, it has also become tense, since Islamabad is unable to provide full security protection to the employees of Chinese projects from attacks that may be carried out by the Taliban movement – Pakistan. In addition, due to the slowdown in economic growth in the country, China has limited its financing of the Belt and Road project by about 55%, as funding declined from 105 billion dollars in 2019 to about 47 billion dollars in 2021, which in turn affected the financing of Pakistani projects.

Thus, with investments from foreign sources dwindling, Pakistan is striving to manage its economy… In order to address Pakistan’s isolation and economic fragility, Prime Minister Imran Khan was forced to announce a “new security policy” that includes a geo-economic vision at its core, and great fanfare, but critics consider that ” The New Security Policy offers nothing but axioms that are empty of any feasible strategy or roadmap. This policy also resembles a clear call from the Pakistani Prime Minister to launch the “Naya Pakistan” programme. On the other hand, the published version of the “New Security Policy” does not include anything new in terms of identifying problems or implementing their solutions.

As for the rule of the new Taliban movement, it is still reactionary, as was the rule of the old Taliban, except for some mass rhetoric and propaganda. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid recently stated the following: “If the world does not want Afghanistan to be a threat to it, it must recognize us.” Some critics say that the Taliban does not embrace the idea of ​​“rule for the people.” For them, the role of the state is to bring the people together under the wing of “true Islam,” rather than protecting them or providing services to them.

While the United Nations plans to implement an $8 billion relief program for Afghanistan and the United States has issued some waivers to US and UN officials to allow them to deal with the Taliban, monitoring of aid access to the Afghan people remains a thorny issue. In addition, a European delegation told Amir Khan Mottaki, the Taliban’s foreign minister, at the Oslo talks between January 23-25, 2022, that humanitarian aid would be linked to an improvement in the human rights situation in the country, including girls’ school attendance.

It is unlikely that the country will see improvement in food, health, and basic services, or achieve a minimum level of stability and security, unless the Taliban abandon their strict primitive beliefs and adopt rational governance. There is no doubt that, in the absence of stability and security, investments or the construction of infrastructure that will improve communication with Central Asian and other countries will remain mere vain dreams.

On January 26, Pakistan’s National Security Adviser, Muayd Yusuf, announced that “the Afghan territories are still being used against Pakistan and organized terrorist networks are active in it.”

He also “never seemed hopeful” about the Taliban government anymore… For all these reasons, Pakistan’s disappointment began to come to light, and if the Taliban continued to act as a terrorist organization instead of acting as a responsible government, Pakistanis would question whether the cost of raising that child was worth it compared to As a result, or is this just a fiasco of the Pakistani intelligence service?