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What is US planning and does Pakistan need to watch out?

The US wants to extend its presence in Afghanistan to put pressure on China and due to Pakistan's important role in the Afghan peace process, the US will engage Pakistan once again. Pakistan must adopt a proactive foreign policy to safeguard its national interests.

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Pakistan is an important country in South Asia. Its geostrategic location makes it an important country in the Asian region. With a population of 210 million people, it is the sixth most populous country in the world with its border strategically connected to South Asia, Central Asia, and Western Asia.

Pakistan has a long coastline of about 1,046-kilometer with the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman. The county is known as gateway to Central Asia due to its Gwadar Coast.

Read more: Re-imagining Pakistan as a savior of Central Asia

After the coming into power of the Biden administration in January 2021, it was the first visit of Secretary of Defense of the USA Mr. Lloyd Austin to allies countries towards South Asia and Southeast Asia, South Korea, Japan.

India and Afghanistan, according to the Doha accord between the USA and Afghan Taliban, Ex- USA President Donald Trump agreed to withdraw the USA troops from Afghanistan up to 1st May 2021, however, it seems that the Biden administration is in the process to extend the date of withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

This is why the US secretary of defense visited US allies last month to bring them into confidence and make a new strategy for the Afghanistan peace process. However, Afghan Taliban are not ready to extend the date of withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

Read more: Taliban promote ‘bold message’, think they have already won the war

A determined Biden?

According to media reports, Pentagon has ordered the US troops deployed in the Middle East and in the Persian Gulf to leave these bases in a few days for new destinations.

There is no clarity regarding deployment of these troops, however, it is presumed that may be these troops deployed in Afghanistan will be sent to South China Sea region according to the new strategy of Biden administration.

It seems that the Biden administration is interested to show its presence in Afghanistan to put pressure on China and Pakistan through Central Asia.

Read more: China stands with Pakistan amid rising pressure from the US

This is due to the current progress of the China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Flagship Program of (BRI), China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and extension of the second phase of BRI with Iran by signing of 25 years of strategic MOU between China and Iran.

Hence, the US wants to put pressure on China through Afghanistan, and that is why the US wants to prolong its military presence in Afghanistan to serve its national interests.

After revoking article 370 and 35 A on 5th of August 2019 in Indian held Kashmir, which provides special status to the People of Jammu and Kashmir, the situation at Line of control deteriorated and every day the Indian military violates the cease-fire agreement by killing the innocent Kashmiri people.

Read more: Indian military admits it brutally killed at least three Kashmiris in staged gunfight

Moreover, last year a UN military observer vehicle was hit by Indian army at the line of control, then suddenly in the month of February 2021, DG Military Operations of both countries talked on the hotline and agreed to implement the cease-fire agreement of 2003 in letter and spirit.

So the current LOC situation is good and no ceasefire violation has been reported, however, behind the ceasefire at LOC, it seems that the Biden administrations wants to engage Pakistan in Afghanistan in the coming days.

Read more: Will India-Pakistan LOC peace lead to Kashmir solution?

Pressure on China

I have already mentioned that the USA is planning to withdraw some troops from the Middle East and it can be presumed that some troops can be deployed in Afghanistan or the South China Sea region.

This is purely to put pressure on China and that is why the US Secretary of Defense visit to East Asia is significant.

Read more: China must stop threatening the sovereignty of Asian Neighbors: US Secretary of Defense

Furthermore, both countries South Korea and Japan do not have good relations with China. They have a dispute on different islands in Yellow sea and both the countries are allies of USA.

South Korea and Japan are also good in military abilities and the economy of both countries is strong, so US thinks it’s time to utilize these allies in the South China sea against China.

Moreover, the West is highlighting human rights issues of China and Hong Kong and the Taiwan issue is very important for Biden administration to put pressure on China from multiple sides to disrupt the progress of BRI.

Read more: Top US official urges Taiwan to ‘fortify’ against Chinese attack

A proactive foreign policy for Pakistan

Pakistan is an important country in the South Asian region according to the current scenario of the big powers.

Pakistan must adopt a proactive foreign policy and make good relations with neighboring countries like Iran, Afghanistan, China, and India.

Moreover, Kashmir issues need to be resolved on the first priority to bring peace and prosperity in South Asia.

Read more: Can Pakistan and India resolve the Kashmir issue?

However, if the US is planning to extend the presence in Afghanistan, Pakistan must adopt the strategy to safeguard its national interests.

Pakistan shouldn’t be part of the allied forces in Afghanistan and its foreign policy must be adopted through Parliament based on the output of other stakeholders in the best interest of Pakistan.

The writer holds an MPP from KDI School of Public Policy and Management Seoul, South Korea, an MA in International relations and an LLB from Shah Abdul Latif University KhairPur. Currently he is working as an Assistant Director in the Board of Investment Pakistan. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space. 

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