Prime Minister Imran Khan, National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi need to be more circumspect while issuing statements about Afghanistan and its new administration. Pakistan must not be seen to be acting as the Taliban’s spokesman for this would send a negative message to friendly countries in the region while unnecessarily annoying the USA.
Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are highly concerned about the Taliban’s failure to give representation to Afghan Tajiks and Uzbeks in the cabinet. Iran wants due representation for the Hazara community in the cabinet. Among others, China and Russia want Taliban to take firm action against the terrorist groups operating from Afghanistan. Questions have been raised in the Chinese media regarding why the Taliban have done nothing so far against the terrorist groups. It has been suggested for instance that the Taliban might be keen to keep some terrorists in the country as bargaining chips to make deals with neighbouring countries. It has also been maintained that the Taliban might even be trying to pressure the West that “if you don’t build ties with the Taliban, China could play a bigger role in the country.” Hopefully presence at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation would be educative for the Pakistani delegation led by Mr Khan.
The UN has pledged $1 billion as humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan. One would readily agree with Dr Yusuf that the world needs to go beyond humanitarian aid for Kabul. But the world also wants the Taliban to take actions like formation of an inclusive government, jobs for women, education for girls and eradication of terrorist groups which are also Important. For the world it is unacceptable on the part of a government to be keen to receive but unwilling to deliver.
Pakistan needs to have friendly relations with the USA even if these are nowhere near those the USA has with India, as Mr Khan desires. India is willing to do the dirty work for the USA in the region. Pakistan on the other hand has strong ties with China and considers CPEC, which is maligned and berated by the USA, as its economic lifeline. While standing by China Pakistan should continue to seek friendly ties with the USA which is also one of its oldest friends.