Taliban’s Kabul takeover
considered security nightmare
for Pakistan: Diplomat


ISLAMABAD: The recent surge in terror attacks in Pakistan has shown that the Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan is a security nightmare for Islamabad, according to a media report.

The last two weeks have raised major red flags for Pakistan’s security apparatus, especially in Balochistan where the Pakistan army lost several of its soldiers in three different major terrorist attacks, reported The Diplomat.

Taliban are patrolling in Kandhar.

Further, the US-based magazines said that first, on January 25, terrorists attacked Kech, Balochistan, which is located near the country’s western border with Iran, roughly 600 km south of provincial capital Quetta. Over 10 Pakistani military personnel were killed in that terrorist attack. Just over a week later, on February 2, another terrorist plot unfolded in Noshki and Panjgur districts of the same province. Although the Noshki attack was repulsed within hours, the standoff in Panjgur lasted for more than 60 hours and resulted in the death of seven military personnel, including an officer.

Muhammad Wali, an Islamabad-based security expert, believes that Afghanistan’s political situation is still in limbo as not a single country has accepted the Taliban regime so far.

Emphasising that the Afghan economy is on the verge of collapse, and the country is still believed to be a haven for different terrorist outfits, Wali argued that all these developments should be a concern for Pakistan. The impending crisis may engulf Pakistan too, creating instability on the economic front, which is already struggling with inflation and low economic growth, added Wali.

Taliban patrolling during the military parade in Kabul.

The security expert also stressed that Pakistan needs to engage the Afghan Taliban to deal with the TTP and also emphasised that Islamabad should implement the National Action Plan (NAP) in letter and spirit.

Urging the government to finalize the NAP by paying heed to the 20-point plan, Wali said that the plan was established by the Government of Pakistan in January 2015 to crack down on terrorism. Seven years later, many of its points are yet to be fulfilled, and terrorism is on the rise yet again, Wali added.

The recent attacks which show a surge in terrorist activities in the country after the Taliban takeover in Kabul endorses a fear that Pakistan has been slowly sliding into chaos and instability for the last couple of years, said a recent report by Islamabad-based think tank the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies.

Dr Moeed Yusuf’s visit to Kabul

Meanwhile, the Portal Plus has claimed that the recent visit of Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf to Kabul did not turn out to be fruitful to Islamabad as expected as the security concerns of the Imran Khan government were not properly addressed by the new rulers in Afghanistan, according to a media report.

It is no secret that the real disappointment for Pakistan with NSA’s Kabul visit came in the security-related issues as Dr. Yusuf could not meet with the Taliban PM, Mullah Hassan Akhund, and Deputy PM, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the official statements from the two sides did not make any reference to the Durand Line and cross-border terrorism. Yusuf’s efforts to secure the release of Tariq Haqqani, son of Minister for Refugees Khalil-ur-Rehman Haqqani, along with three ISI officials with Mullah Baradar-led group in Kabul, also failed, according to the Portal Plus.

The visit took place after the Taliban members had stopped the Pakistan military from erecting the barbed fences along its border with Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province. The two countries have also years-long issues over the Durand Line which decides the border between the two countries.

Moeed Yusuf, led a delegation to Kabul last month to discuss with the Afghan authorities border fencing, security issues and stalled joint infra projects. Dr Yusuf, who also heads the Afghanistan Inter-Ministerial Coordination Cell, a policy formulation and implementation forum, called on Afghan Deputy Prime Minister (PM), Abdul Salam Hanafi, and Foreign Minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, besides participating in delegation-level talks with the other government ministers and officials, according to Portal Plus.

Earlier in January, Moeed had made a failed attempt to visit the country for a discussion with the Taliban leadership on the afore-mentioned issues, according to Portal Plus.

Prior to Yusuf’s visit, Islamabad had assessed highly centralized decision-making within the Taliban regime and lack of recognition from the international community as the two major hurdles in developing economic ties with Kabul. Though the Pakistani side was able to get the Taliban’s audience on some trade-related issues, it failed to achieve any substantive outcome. Acting upon the demand of Pakistan’s Chamber of Commerce & Industries, the delegation requested Afghan authorities to facilitate a study of Hajigak Iron Ore Mines in Afghanistan. The mines are said to have the potential of becoming the long-term cheap source of iron ore for Pakistan’s steel industry. While the Afghan side made no commitment on the issue, the Afghanistan Chamber of Industries & Mines lamented that Pakistan was hindering exports from Afghanistan, while trade between the two countries had plunged from USD 3 billion to USD 1 billion during 2021.

The Portal Plus further stated that in absence of cooperation from Taliban, Pakistani government and establishment are confronted with possibilities of more disturbing alliances. According to some reports appeared in Sputnik International quoting a TTP militant, the organization is also training fighters from the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) at its facilities located along the said border. In return, BLA is said to be providing TTP an access into Balochistan, a region that is acting as a refuge for TTP fighters leaving the Pakistani Army’s counter-insurgency operations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. (ANI)