Despite recent diplomatic efforts, Pakistan-Taliban ties face more challenges

Mar 27, 2023

Kabul [Afghanistan], March 27 : Despite recent diplomatic efforts, the relationship between Pakistan and the Taliban is expected to face more challenges, as Islamabad's internal crises complicate the situation, reported Afghan Diaspora Network (ADN).
Pakistan is currently grappling with unprecedented internal political and economic crises, and the Taliban leadership is closely monitoring these developments, making them cautious about making any hasty decisions in favour of Pakistan.
Pakistan's recent diplomatic efforts to improve relations with Afghanistan have been unsuccessful. On February 22, a senior Pakistani delegation, including Defence Minister Khwaja Asif and Lieutenant General Nadeem Anjum, Director General of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, visited Kabul to hold talks with the Taliban leadership.
This visit occurred shortly after the Torkham border crossing was closed, raising tensions between the two countries. The delegation's purpose was to meet with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Afghanistan's acting deputy prime minister for economic affairs.
The high-level meeting occurred against the backdrop of increasing violence by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in various parts of Pakistan. The meeting reportedly ended in a stalemate, as the Taliban refused to address the TTP issue but agreed to improve bilateral economic and trade relations, reported ADN.
The delegation from Pakistan was left embarrassed as the Taliban government did not even officially acknowledge that the TTP issue was part of the meeting and simply emphasized the importance of trade and commerce relations between the two countries.
Furthermore, the Taliban side urged Khawaja Asif and other officials to "release Afghans being detained in detention facilities in Pakistan."
The official statements released by both sides indicate that there were significant differences regarding the issue of terrorism allegedly originating from Afghanistan, reported ADN.
The delegation talks included the cross-border implications of trade, particularly the border skirmishes at Torkham and Chaman-Spin Boldak, as well as the alleged cross-border movements of the TTP and Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) terrorists.
With the growing mistrust against Islamabad's border control efforts and allegations of ISI's involvement in providing material and infrastructure support to the ISKP, it is possible that the Taliban could impose policy options on Islamabad, forcing them to make concessions on cross-border trade and possibly granting a second opportunity for peaceful negotiations with the TTP, reported ADN.
Furthermore, Islamabad has been unsuccessful in persuading other countries to formally recognize the Taliban government in Afghanistan, adding to the strain on their relationship. Ongoing tensions over the TTP issue, regular cross-border skirmishes, and frequent border closures have only worsened ties between the two countries.
Given the circumstances, the Taliban are unlikely to feel obligated to serve Pakistan's strategic interests in the region, reported ADN.