The fall of Kabul to the Taliban shook the whole world. The swiftness with which the Taliban occupied the capital of war-ravaged Afghanistan left every segment of society bewildered. Marshalled by the supreme leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhunzada, who rose to power in 2016 after his predecessor Mullah Akhtar Mansour was shot dead in an air strike in Balochistan, the Taliban were inexorable in seizing the territories.
What followed was chaos and uncertainty with thousands of citizens trying to escape the metropolitan city of Kabul, some even hanging on to outbound planes and falling to their deaths.
The new Taliban regime will have dire implications for Pakistan. Many analysts believe that the installation of the Taliban will result in the emergence of insurgent groups in Pakistan. Taliban’s occupation and success does not bode well for Pakistan’s national security, because it is bound to exacerbate this country’s own problem of militancy and religious extremism. Recently, a religious fanatic destroyed the statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Lahore, a dark depiction of the religious extremist mindset being nurtured. The tenuous hold of Pakistani paramilitary forces in the border areas of Waziristan and Balochistan provides a conducive environment for terrorists to gain ground in Pakistan and carry out their violent attacks.
A large number of Afghan refugees are migrating to Pakistan order to escape the nightmare in their country. More than 1.4 million Afghan refugees already live in Pakistan. The rehabilitation of these refugees is a herculean task for the current PTI government. With the global pandemic wreaking havoc and halting all economic activities, the vaccination of Afghan immigrants will also be a tough task as they are not registered with the NADRA. Moreover, drug trafficking, heroin smuggling and arms culture are likely to worsen in the Pakistani society.
The Taliban regime could have some positive implications as well. For Pakistan, the return of the Afghan Taliban is a strategic victory against rival India. Development of good rapport and bilateral relations with the Taliban can serve the national intrigues of Pakistan. India’s government had developed good relations with Ashraf Ghani’s government. With the Taliban in power, Indian influence in the war-torn country has diminished and so the Taliban can be useful for containing and thwarting any future Indian threat.
According to some statistics 45 percent of Pakistan’s water comes from Afghanistan. Pakistan is a water scarce country and in dire need of water that comes from Afghanistan. Being a regional power and Taliban’s ally, Pakistan could be able to convince the Taliban to increase the flow of water which will result in the boosting of agriculture sector in Pakistan.
All in all, the future of Pakistan is very much linked to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. A viable policy must be formed in order to contain and eliminate the threat of militancy, drug trafficking and extremism. None of us is safe, until all of us are safe.