US Withdrawal from Afghanistan and Future of Pakistan
US military operated in Afghanistan for almost two decades but the left last air base, Bagram overnight and before the given deadline. Whatever the condition prevails in Afghanistan, it will greatly affect Pakistan. Pakistan had a major role in wars of the Afghanistan through out these two decades. This role continues in peace process and now in the settlement of Afghanistan after departure of US as well.
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Change of Plans:
US was supposed to leave Afghanistan on September 11, according to the statement of U.S. President Joe Biden. They should leave the state with coordination of Afghan government which they are claiming to have closely done. A sudden departure shows that US is no longer interested to undergo any kind of activities in future in Afghanistan. It also shows that they left but still can strike again if needed. To keep an eye on the region US is demanding to use the territory of Pakistan.
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We can say Pakistan has a key role in future actions in the region as in the past. But if Pakistan maintains its stance of not giving bases to US? Would it effect Pak-US relations? There are many questions regarding this matter as the future can be subjective. If Pakistan is not ready to give basis to US, does that mean Pakistan is under the influence of China? Is this the main reason of refusal of Pakistan? What if Taliban take control of Afghanistan? Will Pakistan recognize that Taliban government? The departure of US from Afghanistan has created many confusions regarding the future of this region.
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Future to come:
Future is quite unpredictable but still considering the history and priorities of current government of Pakistan we can predict future consequences. The sudden departure of US is being celebrated as a victory by Taliban. They have started to take control of some districts as well. If it is leading towards the complete control of Taliban on Afghanistan, there is a chance of civil war. If this happens, afghan-peace process would be a failure and it would create a chaos in the region especially effecting Pakistan. In case of civil war, there will be more push of refugees in Pakistani territory. Taliban government in Afghanistan would strengthen Pakistani militants as well leading to an internal security threat to Pakistan. There can be conflicts on the basis of religious sects. Sunni-deobandi conflicts may burn peace of the region. On the other hand, If Pakistan recognizes Taliban government and establishes good relations it can damage Pakistan’s soft image on international level.
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For ensuring peace and stability in region and inside its own territory. Pakistan should reach out Kabul for peaceful settlement of intra-afghan issues. Pakistan needs to persuade its Afghan Taliban allies to opt for a peacefully negotiated settlement for the betterment of their territory and whole region as well. In a nutshell Pakistan cannot separate itself from the process of settlement in Afghanistan, nor it can prevent adverse effects of any mishap. Thus, US Withdrawal and future of Afghanistan is greatly important for Pakistan.
Author: Ariba Mansoor
Ariba is an under-graduate student of International Relations at National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad.