As the Taliban takes firm control of Afghanistan and intends to form a government following the departure of the US forces, the Pakistan establishment seems to be worried about the emerging security situation in neighbouring Afghanistan.
According to a Reuters report, the Pakistan security establishment is concerned about the possibility of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, an Islamic terror group that is made of Pashtun tribesmen just as the Afghan Taliban, carrying out terror attacks in Pakistan by crossing over from Afghanistan. Over the last few years, TTP has killed several Pakistan security officials, civilians in terror attacks.
“We are the custodians of Taliban leaders. We have taken care of them for long. They got shelter, education and a home in Pakistan. We have done everything for them,” Pakistani Minister Sheikh Rashid had said earlier.
The Pakistani security establishment fears that there may be a rise in terror attacks along the Afghan-Pakistan border, as the Taliban tries to fill the vacuum left by the collapse of Afghan forces and the US forces. “The next two to three months are critical,” a senior Pakistani official told Reuters.
“We (the international community) have to assist the Taliban in reorganising their army in order for them to control their territory,” said the officer, adding that they may face threats not just by TTP but also the Islamic State.
Pakistanis to help Afghanistan organise their army, to send ISI chief
A top-level Pakistan official, who has access to the country’s security decisions, has revealed that the Pakistanis have decided to send security and intelligence officials, including the head of the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, to Afghanistan to help the Taliban reorganise their military.
Pakistan intends to help the radical Islamic outfit to re-organise its army and may also provide necessary training to the Taliban, which is largely made up of Pashtun fighters trained in Pakistan madrasas.
It is being said that Pakistan’s worry has aggravated after the recent suicide bombing carried out by the Islamic State outside Kabul airport killed more than 100 people, including 13 US troops. Besides terror attacks, there have been gunfights across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border since last week, killing at least two Pakistani soldiers.
Amidst this, the US officials have accused Pakistan of sponsoring and supporting the Afghan Taliban, which has been fighting a Jihad against the foreign forces for over two decades now. In fact, Pakistan was one of the few countries that recognised the Taliban government that was toppled in 2001, denies the charge.
However, the country claims that its influence over the Taliban has decreased, especially after the Taliban’s victory against the US-led coalition and the US troops subsequent withdrawal from the war-torn country.
Pakistan yet to recognise Taliban govt
Interestingly, Pakistan, the chief backer of the Taliban, is yet to recognise the new Taliban government. “Whether we recognise the Taliban government or not, stability in Afghanistan is very important,” said an official, adding that recognition of the Taliban government was not immediately on the table.
The official said that the world should not abandon Afghanistan and added that Pakistanis would not intervene directly in Afghanistan’s crisis. The Pakistani officials claimed that the Islamic State Khorasan (ISKP), which has claimed responsibility for the Kabul Airport attack, is looking to launch more attacks and recruit more for their outfit.
Meanwhile, the Taliban has reportedly assured their neighbour that Afghan territory to be permitted to be used by anyone planning attacks on Pakistan or any other country. However, Islamabad expects that the Afghan Taliban hand over those planning attacks against Pakistan, the official added, or at least force them from their mutual border.