As each country seeks to find a way forward under Taliban rule in Afghanistan, officials from the United States and Pakistani will meet Friday.
While Pakistan is insisting on greater engagement with the Kabul-based all-male, all Taliban Cabinet, it refuses to recognize any unilateral recognition. South Asia has asked Washington to release billions to Taliban to pay the salaries of many ministries and prevent an economic meltdown. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees warns that such a crash can unleash mass migration.
Washington spent two years trying to negotiate peace with Taliban. Much about what happened after that chaotic ending to Afghanistan’s 20-year war is still unclear. Some Taliban are being contacted by the U.S. to discuss plans to evacuate American citizens and others. Republican senators have introduced legislation to sanction Afghanistan’s new rulers. The U.S. withdrawal has been portrayed as chaos by images of desperate Afghan men running alongside a C-17 leaving the country and falling from the wheel.
22 Republican senators introduced legislation late last month that calls for sanctions against Pakistan for providing safe haven to Taliban. This has caused a stir among Pakistani rulers who have criticised Washington for blaming Pakistan in Afghanistan’s loss. They also received help from Islamabad to make peace with the Taliban.
Pakistan was also a refuge for thousands of Afghan refugees fleeing Taliban rule. For the influx of Afghan refugees fleeing Afghanistan, Pakistan had at one time reserved hundreds of rooms in hotels around the capital.
U.S. Deputy Secretary-of-State Wendy Sherman will meet with Gen. Qamar Javed Bjwa, Pakistan’s powerful army chief. He is widely considered to be the key architect of Pakistani’s Afghan strategy, while Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry waged the diplomatic battle. Sherman also met Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Foreign Minister of Pakistan, and will meet Imran Khan, Prime Minister.
On Friday, Pakistan’s military chiefs as well as Khan attended a national security meeting. The meeting warned that instability within Afghanistan could have “severe consequences for Pakistan.” Khan ordered the creation of a special cell that would coordinate humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and manage its borders.
Sherman met Moeed Yusuf, Security Adviser, late Tuesday night. However, neither side provided any details about the content of the talks beyond a vague reference “developments in Afghanistan” and “ways to improve cooperation across bilateral relationships.” “
Pakistan must tread carefully when it seeks to build a relationship with the United States. This is a change region where Russia and China are increasing their influence, and where the Taliban rule Afghanistan.
Khan, a vocal opponent of the U.S.-led “war on terror,” assured Pakistanis that Washington would not have access to Pakistani territory for “over-the-horizon attacks” on Afghanistan.
According to the Pentagon, Afghanistan could pose a threat within one to two years. The Islamic State group, also Taliban enemies, is the greatest threat. They have intensified their attacks against the Taliban over the past weeks. In fact, they bombed the capital while Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesperson, held a memorial service in his honor.
However, Pakistan is opposed by 220 million Pakistanis to any compromise with Washington in order to attack Afghanistan.
Gallup Pakistan poll released late Thursday showing that 55% of Pakistanis support an Islamic government similar to the one in Afghanistan.
Between Aug. 13th and Sept. 5, 2,170 male and female respondents were polled in urban and rural areas. The error margin ranges between 2% to 3%.