New Delhi: After about two years Pakistani military establishment and other stakeholders rejoiced in the defeat of US-led forces in Afghanistan and the win of the Taliban; an eminent Pakistani expert and author says, “to help lift the Afghan Taliban into power was a massive strategic miscalculation (by Islamabad).”
“For years, our security managers used state propaganda machinery to assure us that the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban are somehow different. That delusion stands fully exposed,” writes Pakistani author and expert Pervez Hoodbhoy for that country’s newspaper ‘Dawn’.
He laments, “Over 100 attacks have occurred over the last 50 days. Most spectacular among them was last week’s capture of the (Pakistani) Counter Terrorism Department in Bannu by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)”.
Hoodbhoy also says, “Tactical blunders are also making Pakistanis increasingly anxious”.
“….freshly victorious against a superpower, Kabul’s new rulers openly taunt Pakistan, dismissing possible Pakistani air or land incursions against TTP sanctuaries inside Afghanistan. Pakistan has created for itself yet another hostile neighbour and another nightmare,” he laments.
In the meantime creating alarm for Pakistani intellectuals, common citizens and security establishments, reports suggest many elements have started operating from Afghanistan itself.
Another report said, the TTP and Baloch separatists have announced their government in the northern region (of Pakistan) and declared various ministers in an attempt to break Pakistan into two nations.
It is also the “largest militant organisation” that is fighting against Pakistani border security personnel.
An article in ‘India Today’ has raked up issues that are being debated in several quarters in India, Pakistan and other South Asian countries. “After 14 years, did Pakistan appear to be staring towards similar security threats? In the last few weeks, multiple bomb explosions have been reported in the Afghan-Pakistan border regions. The question is, will Pakistan be able to stop these attacks from reaching the capital this time around?”
As a concerned intellectual, Pervez Hoodbhoy writes in his piece in ‘Dawn’, “As a starter, TTP wants to impose Afghan-style Sharia in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) before extending the system across Pakistan. This means terminating female education, justice via limb-chopping, installing a shura system headed by an amirul momineen in place of democracy, and cutting Pakistan off from the modern world”.
He also points out, “For non-Muslims, Shias, (Sunni) Barelvis and modern-minded Muslims, this is grotesque”. On the other hand, he argued that the radicalised sections of “urban Pakistani society as well as backward areas welcome this version of Sharia”.
Relations between Taliban rulers and the Pakistani establishment that seemed so smooth in August 2020 have also deteriorated. According to Pakistan, the TTP is using Afghanistan’s soil to launch attacks on Pakistan, and this prompted a sharp denial from the Taliban government in Kabul.
Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah too has suggested that Islamabad could be forced to take unilateral action against the TTP inside Afghanistan.
In response, a Taliban spokesperson said that it was trying its best that the territory of Afghanistan is not used against Pakistan. “We are committed to this goal, but the Pakistani side is also responsible to try controlling the situation”.