Monday, March 4, 2024

Afghan Withdrawal: Treat or Threat for Pakistan ?

For the first time, hopes of Pakistan and its role in achieving peace and security in South Asia align with the international community. All prior attempts to end long-running brutal armed conflict in Afghanistan and stabilizing the region were unsuccessful. A shift towards negotiation and compromise from military initiatives by Pakistan can be seen. In this respect, we see long-term policies of Pakistan also started to shift. Becoming a facilitator in Afghan Peace Process was quite beneficial to the state of Pakistan.

Situation before:

Through negotiating with the major regional powers, Pakistan hopes to improve its relations with other states. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Pakistan decided to team up with the US to defeat Al-Qaida and thus became a frontline state in the so-called “war on terror.” Pakistan, which shares a huge, unsecured border with Afghanistan, unintentionally shelters much of the Taliban leadership as well as millions of Afghan refugees and faces threats from Pakistani militants stationed along the way will be the most affected by the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan. This peace process also puts the peace of Pakistan and domestic security in danger as a byproduct. This peace process also poses a threat to the peace and domestic security of Pakistan as seen in the previous decades-long war. The continuous focus of the United States on Pakistan for a military base in the region is also a remarkable point.

Future for Pakistan:

Recently, in the interview with Axios, the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has categorically said that Pakistan would “absolutely not” allow any bases and use of its territory to the US for any sort of action inside Afghanistan. After the U.S. withdrawal, the Afghan Taliban will again dominate Afghanistan. While the Afghan Taliban continue to be portrayed as a proxy for the Pakistani government, in truth, their relationship today and the relationship between the TTP and the Afghan Taliban is much more complicated. The departure of American forces from Afghanistan may please strategic planners of Pakistan, the potential return of Taliban rule in Afghanistan presents a longer-term dilemma to the international community and the dream of the USA. The failure to secure an interim government arrangement or a broad-based, intra-Afghan political settlement before the departure of American troops would leave the Afghan Taliban too powerful, while further weakening Pakistan’s ability to control the group in their territory can be a possibility.


In Afghanistan, the withdrawal of U.S forces can be the reason that Pakistan is seeing threats from its neighboring state India. Because as we can see in Balochistan India is a facilitator to terrorism in Pakistan, also the Kulbhushan Yadav case who was an Indian nationalist widely seen in this context. In short, we can say that the new government of Afghanistan will also affect the state of Pakistan. Pakistan Afghan Durand line can again make a situation of conflict for Pakistan and threat for security as well as terrorism in Pakistan and region.


Haleema Khalid

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