The Taliban are thinking out aloud as they blame Pakistan for transgression of their airspace. In a delayed rejoinder, the militia in Kabul believes that drones are at work inside Afghanistan at the behest of Pakistani authorities, as the latter is in an accord with the US. This is in the backdrop of the killing of Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri in the Afghan capital on July 31. The fact that it took the Taliban almost a month to figure out Islamabad’s alleged hobnobbing with Washington raises eyebrows, and does not stand the logic of admissibility. Similarly, the Taliban too are not sure whether the drone or the missile that took out the dreaded terrorist was routed through Pakistan or not, and the allegation it seems is meant for domestic consumption.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office denies it has anything to do with the strike in Kabul. The fact is that Pakistan itself has been a victim of such aerial incursions in the past, and presently enjoys no such understanding with the US for use of its air or soil for surveillance and counter-terrorism operations. The assumption and allegation from Kabul is nothing but a figment of imagination. It is regrettable that the Taliban, despite enjoying cordiality with Islamabad, choose to air their grievances through the media. It might lead to regression of ties, and there is no dearth of non-state actors who want to exploit the situation to mess around, and destroy peace in the region.
Kabul and Washington are in a discord, and have not been able to reset their ties. The exit of a superpower from Southwest Asia and that too in such a haste is taunting its leadership role. Likewise, the Taliban, owing to lack of recognition from the world community, are in a state of disarray. Both need to reorient their strategic understanding as far as the region is concerned, and collaborate in exterminating terror nexus. Pakistan has an earnest desire to see stability take root in the region, and fissures such as drones and terror outfits need to be watched out.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 30th, 2022.