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Thursday December 02, 2021

Speakers say Pakistan can be a bridge between Afghan Taliban, world

November 24, 2021

PESHAWAR: Speakers at the two roundtable conferences at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University (SBBWU) here on Tuesday discussed the challenges faced by the Afghan Taliban after resuming power in Afghanistan such as their recognition by the foreign countries, brain-drain, food challenges and freezing of their reserves by the United States.

Matters pertaining to assistance by International Monetary Fund, World Bank, other economic and managerial issues also came under discussion at the round table conferences.

The moots were titled: “Afghanistan: Political and Governance Issues under Taliban Rule” and “Taliban rise to power in Afghanistan: Implications for Pakistan and the region”.

These were arranged by the Department of Political Science of the university.

SBBWU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Razia Sultana, Prof Dr Minhajul Hassan, VC, City University, Dr Sadia Suleman of Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, Prof Dr Shabir Ahmad and Dr Raza Rehman took part in the conferences.

The speakers said apparently, Pakistan, China and Russia would have far more influence than before in the broader Central Asian and South Asian Region.

They said while the situation in Afghanistan is still evolving, the Afghan Taliban’s ascendance to power has raised concerns that a revival of militancy could put the region at risk by vitalizing the transnational militant groups and threatening foreign investments, those linked to Belt Road Initiative (BRI) and China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The speakers said as Pakistan has a unique relationship with Afghanistan, it would remain the key player in this new scenario.

The long history of turbulent relations is defined by cultural and ethnic connections, sovereignty concerns, security interests, geopolitical dynamics and connectivity and trade, they explained.

The speakers believed Pakistan has a huge interest in the Taliban acting firmly and not allowing Afghanistan to descend into an ungoverned space.

Islamabad can act as a bridge between the Taliban and the international community, particularly the US reluctant to recognize the Taliban setup as legitimate, particularly with regards to countering terrorist threats posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-Khorasan Province (ISIS-K and al-Qaeda), they added.

The speakers said together these dynamics will shape prospects for stability in Afghanistan and the broader region post US withdrawal.

They also discussed Afghanistan foreign policy under the Taliban, cross-border militant movements and counterterrorism, Pakistan’s foreign policy interests and options for Afghanistan, regional stability in Central Asia and Russia, China’s interest, CPEC/BRI, US foreign policy options in Afghanistan.