Pakistan might be the next victim of extremism after the rise of Taliban in Afghanistan
Kabul, September 28: Afghanistan has a unique relationship with Pakistan compared to other neighboring countries. The two countries have a 2,570-km border area and long-standing close trade exchanges. Apart from religious bigotry, there are also ethnic, cultural and linguistic similarities across a wide area on both sides of the border.
Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai once called the two countries "brothers sharing the same heart." But even if most ordinary people in Afghanistan today are left out - to whom, Pakistan is nothing but a traitor - Islamabad's role in the world is questionable.
This is because many do not see Pakistan as a real ally in the global fight against jihadi terrorism. Apart from America, once a friend of Pakistan, a large number of political analysts in many countries have accused Pakistan of helping the Taliban in various ways.
After the 9/11 attacks, which was planned on Afghan soil, Pakistan announced its intention to join the war on terror amid global anger and hatred. But at the same time, it is believed that a significant portion of the country's military and intelligence services have not only maintained regular contacts with extremist Islamic groups such as the Taliban in Afghanistan, but also continued to supply them with a variety of supplies and intelligence.
Pakistan has received billions of dollars in military aid from the United States over the past 20 years in exchange for public participation in counter-terrorism operations, although Washington has acknowledged that Islamabad has not been able to account for most of that aid. The United States also has evidence that Pakistani intelligence has often worked for the Taliban.
In addition, for 20 years, the Pakistani government sheltered top Taliban leaders on its own soil.
Analysts believe that Pakistan has played this game in the name of regional domination, so that a pro-India government does not come to power in Afghanistan.
Pakistan's ingrained idea is that not having control over Afghanistan means, India gaining control of Kabul having control over India. Islamabad believes that if India gains control there, various separatist groups will rise up in Pakistan. So when the Taliban last came to power twenty years ago, Pakistan was one of the few countries to support that government.
Twenty years later, when the Taliban regained power last month, Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that the party had freed itself from the shackles of slavery. Not only that, when the Taliban fighters captured Kabul last month, their flags flew in the skies of Islamabad.
Many in the West are so hostile to Pakistan that Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, a former U.S. security adviser, recently said in a panel discussion that Pakistan should be considered a "pariah state" or a monopoly if it does not stop supporting jihadist groups.
"We have to stop pretending that Pakistan is a partner," the BBC quoted him as saying.
"Pakistan has been acting as an enemy nation against us by organising, training and equipping these forces and by continuing to use jihadist terrorist organisations as an arm of their foreign policy."
But the purpose for which Pakistan has so far provided all possible assistance to terrorists in Afghanistan, it would not be surprising if that set fire to its own home in the future.
Analysts say Pakistan is making the biggest mistake by considering the Taliban's victory as its own. Pakistan has not yet realized that the toll of standing up for the Taliban could be staggering if various Islamic groups like the Taliban rise to prominence on Pakistani soil.
Analysts say there are many regional organizations in Pakistan that are ideologically similar to the Taliban. With the victory of the Taliban, these organizations will become more active than before. Analysts say Islamabad will face new security challenges.
After the Taliban take over the whole of Afghanistan, radical extremist groups like Tehreek-e-Pakistan (TTP) will be encouraged. This TTP has grown under the umbrella of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The group, which works towards establishing Sharia rule in Pakistan, has claimed responsibility for 32 terrorist attacks in the country in August alone.
The significance of the Taliban's seizure of power in Afghanistan and its impact has been discussed in parliaments around the world, including in the UK, Australia and the United States. This has been talked about in the United Nations, even in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, but not in the Pakistani parliament.
However, if the Taliban's hold in the region increases, Islamabad will be the first to suffer.
At a time when those in power in Pakistan are making brazen statements about the victory of the Taliban and the overthrow of the elected government in Afghanistan, ordinary Afghans are being killed by the Islamist group every day, while many people are fleeing the country.
But the fire that Pakistan has been playing with for so long at the risk of the lives of thousands of ordinary Pakistanis and Afghans, will one day engulf the country.