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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Afghanistan and Pakistan-TTP negotiations

Pakistani Taliban and Afghanistan Taliban enjoy cordial relationships as a result of such homogeneity in ideology. Both have a common understanding of Jihad. Since 9/11, various factions of TTP assisted Afghanistan Taliban in the war against the US and its western allies.

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After the emergence of the Taliban 2.0 era in Afghanistan, the outlawed TTP has increased its activities to a remarkable extent in Pakistan. From time to time, the militant group has targeted security personnel in various areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. At the end of 2021, Pakistan urged the Taliban regime in Afghanistan to take serious measures against TTP. In return, the Afghan Taliban requested Pakistan to address the So-called grievances of TTP and offered its role in this regard.

Thus, Afghanistan Taliban helped Pakistan in bringing TTP to the negotiation table. However, Afghanistan Taliban didn’t fulfill its commitments and played the role of reluctant facilitator between Pakistan and TTP peace talks. More importantly, the Afghan Taliban call themselves the government of Afghanistan, so instead of facilitation, it was the legal obligation of the De-facto regime to resolve Pakistan’s concerns over TTP. However, up to now, the Self-proclaimed Islamic Emirate played a very ambiguous role in the whole process.

Read more: Afghan academic vows to fight Taliban

Understanding the matter better

Ideology is considered one of the major binding forces among communities. Serious confrontations and cooperation have been witnessed among groups in history due to ideological differences or similarities. Pakistani Taliban and Afghanistan Taliban enjoy cordial relationships as a result of such homogeneity in ideology. Both have a common understanding of Jihad. Since 9/11, various factions of TTP assisted Afghanistan Taliban in the war against the US and its western allies. As a result of the same goals, ideology and common beliefs, Afghanistan Taliban never let TTP to any weak position, when it comes to talking with Pakistan. Neither it will force the Pakistani Taliban to surrender their demands in front of the Pakistani state.

More importantly, it is clear that Taliban 2.0 has greatly changed in dealing with other states. Although they are still rigid and harsh in domestic social and political policies, on an international level, it wants to adopt alternate policies; as compared to its previous rule. This time, the Afghan Taliban wants to decrease its dependency on Pakistan. It is increasing its ties with Arab states such as UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and other regional powers such as China, Russia and Iran etc. Keeping this in view, the role of the Afghan Taliban is not as sincere as a mediator, which was expected.

Similarly, it is a bitter truth that within the Afghan Taliban, there are several hard-core factions that keep negative sentiments when it comes to Pakistan’s interests. Apart from the Haqqani network other Taliban leaders like Mullah Yaqoob etc, haven’t had any proper coordination with Pakistan. They possess typical Afghani mindset and value issues related to the matters of the Durand line and Pakistan’s role in the war on terror etc. Such thoughts in Afghan leadership, always become a source of misunderstanding and miscommunication between Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban. Likewise, it equally impacted Peace talks with TTP and the mediation role of the Afghan Taliban.

Read more: Taliban ban university education for Afghan women

The way forward

Moreover, it has been more than one year since the Afghan Taliban has taken the control of Afghanistan, yet it still faces numerous issues. The social unrest within Afghan society, economic issues, lack of inclusiveness and poor administrative system are some of the major areas of concern for the Taliban regime. Similarly, the rising security challenges are a serious headache for the Taliban administration.

From the very first day the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, Islamic State Khorasan (IS-K), has challenged Taliban rule in Afghanistan. For the last few months, it has targeted several high-profile figures of the Afghan Taliban. In the coming future, the Afghan Taliban May acquire an alliance with TTP in order to counter IS-K, as both the Afghan Taliban and TTP share common grounds. Keeping this fact in mind, the Afghan Taliban will never want to make its natural ally angry on a permanent basis.

Nevertheless, the Afghan Taliban should not forget the fact that Pakistan is one of the important regional actors, and its role can neither be ignored nor undermined. Above all, Pakistan and Afghanistan share a lengthy border, and religious, social and cultural commonalities, and it is rightly said that enemies can be changed but one can’t change neighbors. Cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan is not only vital for both neighbors but is significant for the whole region as well. Therefore, a more pragmatic and rational approach should be adopted in order to deal with security issues related to both countries.




The writer currently works as a Research Associate at the International Parliamentarians’ Congress Islamabad. He has wide experience in writing for various newspapers. He has a special focus on Afghanistan.He tweets on @BarkatViews.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.