After years of supporting the Taliban, Pakistan Realizes the Threats they Pose


As Pakistan’s next government takes charge, the country’s security challenges continue especially the threat posed by the Pakistani Taliban and worsening Afghanistan – Pakistan relations. For decades, Pakistan’s government refused to allow any criticism of the Afghan Taliban claiming that the world needed to recognize the Afghan Taliban and not castigate them.

It was therefore ironic – and tragic – to see Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Munir Akram, call upon the UN Security Council “in demanding that the Afghan government terminates its relationship with the TTP.” Apparently now that the Afghan Taliban are reluctant to act against their ideological allies – the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Pakistan needs the support of the international community to castigate Pakistan’s own proxies – the Afghan Taliban.

Since the return of the Afghan Taliban to power terror attacks by the TTP have been on the rise in Pakistan. However, despite repeated requests by Pakistan, the Afghan Taliban has refused to act against the TTP.

The decision by Pakistan’s establishment to send millions of Afghan refugees back to Afghanistan was an attempt to pressure the Taliban, but as of now that has yet to have any real impact on the Afghan Taliban. Instead, the Taliban is building relations with Iran, China and even India.

According to analyst Muhammad Amir Rana, “the relationship between the Taliban and Pakistan cannot improve until the Taliban leadership learns how to fulfil its commitments, especially made to its close allies.” The major lesson for Pakistan, according to Rana, “is to take the issue to parliament and have an open discussion before deciding on its future course. Unlike the Saudis who had the option to curtail their relations with the Afghan Taliban, Pakistan does not have this option, as Afghanistan shares a crucial border in all strategic, economic, and political contexts.”