'Taliban's Afghanistan takeover will damage US-Pak ties'

·3-min read
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Representative image

Islamabad [Pakistan], August 26 (ANI): Afghanistan's takeover by the Taliban could weaken ties between the United States and Pakistan in the near future, according to experts.

Pakistan - said to be the largest backer of the Taliban and key player in the Afghan peace deal -- has a "special responsibility" to pressure the terror group to follow their commitments. Pakistan was among the few countries which had recognized the Taliban regime when they governed Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.

Experts claim that Islamabad and Washington would be responsible for the situation in Afghanistan, whichever way it turns, since recent developments in the war-ravaged country are the result of the US and Pakistan's inability to maintain peace over the years.

Former chief editor of The Economist Bill Emmott wrote last week in a commentary for Project Syndicate that "the blame" for failure in Afghanistan and the return of the Taliban "lies largely with Pakistan and America's inability to bring the country onside," DW said.

Last week, NATO said that Islamabad has a "special responsibility" to make sure that Afghanistan lives up to its international commitments.

However, according to a recent report in German media outlet DW, some Pakistanis say they refuse to be the "scapegoats" of the West's failure in Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, Pakistan's Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari asserted that "her country will no longer accept being scapegoated for the failures of others."

In the past, Islamabad relied largely on Washington for military and financial help. Some estimates suggested that since 2001, Pakistan had received over $30 billion (EUR25.5 billion) from the US, reported DW.

Even during the Cold War, the US had given some aid packages and financial assistance to Islamabad.

Husain Haqqani, the South and Central Asia director at the Hudson Institute -- a Washington-based think tank -- said that nowadays, there's less support in the US "for resuming large-scale economic or military assistance for Pakistan right now".

He also mentioned that Islamabad's past role in Afghanistan has always created friction between the US and Pakistan.

Author Ayesha Siddiqa, whom the DW article quoted, believes that Washington has "lost interest" in Islamabad. Pakistan has always sought funds and military assistance from the US, but such support would no longer be on the cards, Siddiqa told DW.

"The ties are already strained and there is a sanction-like situation with Pakistan being in the grey list of Financial Action Task Force (FATF)," she added.

Islamabad's worsening relations with the US would directly hamper Pakistan's economy.

"The US and its allies will make it more and more difficult for us (Pakistan) to access funds," she told the German media outlet, adding that the country is at risk of economic chaos like Iran and Venezuela.

The deteriorating US-Pakistan relations will largely not harm the West after the complete withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan but it would be catastrophic for Islamabad as it needs massive military and economic support from Washington.

According to defense analyst General Amjad Shoaib, Pakistan's close ties with China have also strained Washington-Islamabad relations.

China is reportedly unhappy with Islamabad and at this time, strained relations with the US would do serious damage to Pakistan, say experts.

Recently, Beijing has expressed concerns over the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project not meeting its deadline and Islamabad had to appoint a new head for the ambitious project.

Also recent attacks that killed Chinese civilians in Pakistan have also strained ties between Beijing and Islamabad.

The US still has many supporters in Afghanistan, says defense analyst General Amjad Shoaib, predicting that the war-torn country would be used against Pakistan by "pampering" Baloch insurgents who would target Chinese interests in Pakistan. (ANI)

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