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Monday, April 15, 2024

New book reveals Gen Bajwa’s role in Taliban’s outreach to India

The book, titled "The Return of the Taliban" is written by Hassan Abbas, an international relations professor at the National Defense University in Washington. The book is set to be released in the US this week. 

An upcoming book on the Taliban has revealed how the de facto rules of Afghanistan met with Pakistan’s former Army Chief General (retd) Qamar Jawed Bajwa before reaching out to India.

The book, titled “The Return of the Taliban” is written by Hassan Abbas, an international relations professor at the National Defense University in Washington. The book is set to be released in the US this week.

According to the details in the book, Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi held a detailed meeting with Pakistan’s former army chief, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, before asking India to recall its diplomats and technical staff from Kabul.

Read more: Pakistan’s role integral amid Afghan evolving situation, COAS Bajwa

Hassan Abbas also narrates the story of the Taliban minister for finance Hidayatullah Badri who apparently received the nod of approval from Gen Bajwa to become the country’s finance minister. Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi personally took the Taliban minister for finance Hidayatullah Badri to meet Gen Bajwa.

On a separate note, the former Army Chief has become the target of much controversy lately in Pakistan’s political rhetoric as he has been accused by former Prime Minister Imran Khan of being responsible for his ouster.

Most importantly, the book also discusses India’s return to Kabul and how it “could not have happened without Pakistan,” while adding that Pakistan acted this way because it might open up prospects of aid for the Taliban in Afghanistan.

India had cut off diplomatic ties with Afghanistan after the Taliban returned. However, due to its strategic interests in Afghanistan, India is “reassessing its position and moving towards a balancing act in its effort to engage with the Taliban and help stabilize Afghanistan.”

Interestingly, the book also sheds light on former ISI chief Faiz Hameed’s visit to Kabul soon after the Taliban takeover, claiming that the Foreign Office advised the then ISI chief against the visit, however, he dismissed it. The book argues that the “visuals provided evidence of the huge influence” Pakistan had on the Taliban and hurt Pakistan as well as the Taliban.

The book also talks about the growing influence of the IS militant group in Afghanistan and highlights China’s interest in maintaining a relationship with the Taliban government.

An unconventional visit

Pertinent to mention here that Faiz Hameed’s visit to Kabul attracted great interest across the region, sparking speculations over the influence Pakistan had on the Taliban. At that time, the Taliban did not form an official government yet and the ex-DG ISI flew to Kabul to meet his counterpart.

Federal Information Minister at the time, Fawad Chaudhry also defended the visit. He said that such unconventional contacts are necessary when there is a power vacuum in Afghanistan.

Pakistan, sharing a border with Afghanistan, had to ensure peace and stability in the region for its own security. As a result, the ISI Chief held key meetings on mutual cooperation with his counterpart Najibullah.

Read more: Tea is fantastic: DG ISI Faiz Hameed’s Kabul visit reminds India

Later, at a meeting with Pakistani politicians, including Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Faiz Hamid also defended his action saying that US and Chinese intelligence chiefs had also visited Kabul around then.