In a report, a Brussels-based think tank has urged Pakistan to pressurize the Taliban into reducing violence in Afghanistan.
The report by the International Crisis Group (ICG) titled Pakistan: Shoring Up Afghanistan’s Peace Process has asked Islamabad to mount pressure on the militants through the Taliban living in Pakistan.
As the US is pulling out troops from Afghanistan, there are imminent fears that the Taliban will take over and Afghanistan will once again succumb to civil war. Such a scenario is disastrous for both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Should this happen, the report warned that Pakistan will once again see an influx of Afghan refugees and will face a spillover of violence on its borders.
“A failed peace process could spark all-out civil war in Afghanistan and a massive influx of refugees into Pakistani territory. Violence in Afghanistan would also spill over into Pakistan, destabilizing its conflict-prone western border as Taliban gains empower the Afghan insurgents’ Pakistani Deobandi militant allies,” the report stated.
Rising insurgent violence threatens to throw Pakistan’s Taliban-removal efforts off course.
— Crisis Group (@CrisisGroup) July 1, 2021
While highlighting Pakistan’s important role in the Afghan peace process, the report also warned that if the Afghan peace process failed, Pakistan’s relations with both Kabul and Washington will worsen. Islamabad currently faces renewed pressure from both Kabul and Washington to “convince the Taliban at the very least” to reduce violence to ensure that negotiations are successful.
However, according to the ICG, the fast withdrawal of NATO forces undermines Pakistan’s peace efforts and efforts to facilitate the Taliban’s alleged return to Kabul through power-sharing arrangements.
Nevertheless, Pakistan should still pressurize the Taliban.
Read more: No peace in sight for Afghanistan?
PM Khan’s strong stance for a political settlement in Afghanistan
Since the start of intra-Afghan negotiations in September 2020, the report recalled, Pakistan’s military and civilian leaders had repeatedly stressed that only a political settlement could end the conflict in Afghanistan.
PM Khan also strongly advocates for a political settlement in Afghanistan and is a firm believer that a military settlement will only worsen the situation in Afghanistan. Due to this, PM Khan refused to give the US any military bases in Pakistan.
Recently, PM Khan took a strong stance in National Assembly and stated that Pakistan could be “partners with the United States in peace but never in conflict.” He further criticized past policies that had led to Pakistan joining the US war on terror in Afghanistan.