Thoughts on Pakistan’s Policy towards the Taliban

About Afghanopoly

I am an Assistant Professor of peace and conflict studies at Radboud University's Centre for International Conflict Analysis and Management (CICAM). I completed my PhD in Political Science at Northwestern University and Sciences Po under the supervision of Will Reno and Bertrand Badie. Among other things, I teach students about the politics of international intervention in Afghanistan and elsewhere. My research focuses on the political strategies that Afghan strongmen use to consolidate and legitimize their authority. I am particularly interested in how these actors manage to conduct their own forms of international relations. My field research brings me in contact with Afghan community leaders, politicians, diplomats and foreign military officers.
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6 Responses to Thoughts on Pakistan’s Policy towards the Taliban

  1. The Jackal says:

    Although I will add more content later these are my first thoughts on the subject.
    Pakistan is worried that they will have to deal with the Taliban alone if and when the U.S. leaves the area. This is why Pakistan is playing a dual role which is understandable but not acceptable. Although Pakistan allowed the Taliban to have control in the outer agencies, it was the weak approach of the U.S. in the beginning that let Pakistan have this dual role, which is now out of control. I say that it is out of control because of the recent information that the ISI is telling the Taliban to fight the U.S. and even possible helping them. This needs to be addressed and resolved immediately before it becomes a dire situation due to nuclear capabilities of the country and the goals for stability in the region.

  2. kredox says:

    On September 15, 2001, President Musharraf told Ambassador Chamberlin:” We will hand over captured al Qa’ida operatives to you. But we will handle the Pakistanis and other locals ourselves.” Deputy Secretary of State Armitage argued that “Musharraf did not push hard against the Taliban” and was “only cooperative in targeting some key al Qa’ida militants.” I understand that Pakistan played a double-game there of receiving support from United States on one hand and not messing too much with Taliban on the other hand. Pakistan’s tactic is pretty easy to apprehend, whether I am not fully understanding of why United States did not push Pakistan harder for more cooperation of capturing and destroying Taliban. As President Musharraf told on September 15, that they will handle locals themselves, but how you distinguish those locals from Taliban? Who actually decides who is local? What if local people are part of Taliban or helping and supporting Taliban using money that are coming from United States?

  3. The Jackal says:

    I’m assuming that the Pakistan military and the ISI know where the Taliban resides inside their border. Regarding U.S. money being funneled to them is what may be happening through the Taliban supporters inside the Pakistan government and ISI. This is why the U.S. should “push Pakistan harder” in cooperating like you said.

  4. Seth Jones tell us that after the Russians pulled out from Afghanistan, the US quickly lost interest in the area and it became the backwaters of US foreign policy. Pakistan was left with the baby while US moved on to bigger and better things. The second time around, we had a different military leader and different way of doing things, but to expect that Pakistan will not look out for its own wellbeing is being really naive.

    Now whether having close ties with the Taliban is in the interest of Pakistan’s wellbeing, is another big question.

    Role of the Saudis is also not understandable in this situation. Granted they espouse a Wahhabi emirate/kingdom and would like to export their brand of Islam, but they are also political and economic allies of the United States. Do they not realize that zeal and fanaticism in the hands of rash young men who don’t have anything better to do with their time makes for a rather volatile human resource, especially so for a country that does not have a good power structure in place.

  5. The Jackal says:

    No one is being naive here just realistic. We quickly lost interest at that time because our mission was over, defeat the Soviets. Pakistan has somewhat of a weak structure and cannot control much outside of the capital so; they allow the Taliban to control the outer agencies. There is no other big question, they already have ties to the Taliban and more likely than not they are close ties. The Saudis is another subject and so are the other nations in the region so I will not touch on that. But if we want to rid the world of terrorist then Pakistan has to step up and allow the Taliban to be destroyed, if we just want to contain them then just let it be. If neither is an option for you then what is your suggestion?

  6. We are going to talk about Pakistan later in the class. I thought I will share this news item with you all to see what you think about what the Pakistani Foreign Minister is saying.

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