With the United States military pulling their troops by the end of August, 2021 from Afghanistan, violence and gloom once again strikes the nation.
By Maryam Razzaq
The United States government has been pressuring Pakistan to speak with the Taliban to organize a peace deal in Afghanistan. This comes after the negotiations between the Taliban and Afghan government are leading only to more violence to occur.
“Pakistan is considered only to be useful in the context of somehow settling this mess,” Imran Khan shared Wednesday with foreign journalists at his home in Islamabad.” “It has been left behind after 20 years of trying to find the military solution when there was not one.”
With the United States military pulling its troops by August 31 from the nation — marking nearly 20 years since the terrorist attack in New York — violence has become rampant across the nation. As of now, the Taliban has taken over more territory in Afghanistan than ever before.
The Afghanistan and Western governments have said that the Pakistani support the Taliban has received has further elevated their ability to take control of Afghanistan. Pakistan has denied their support of the Taliban.
“I think that the Americans have decided that India is their strategic partner now, and I think that’s why there’s a different way of treating Pakistan now,” Khan stated.
Pakistan and India have minimal diplomatic relations and have fought 3 wars since their separation in 1947.
Pakistan Information Minister, Fawad Chaudry used his official Twitter account to share that the fault lay with the Afghan military for not being able to defend their nation.
“With [the] 8th province falling to the Taliban, people of Afghan and people of USA must question so-called leadership of Afghanistan where 2 trillion USD vanished that they received to build Afghan National Army? How come all ministers and generals become billionaires but [the] people of Afghanistan are suffering from poverty? Who is responsible for [this] suffering? Corruption of leadership drowns the nation and Afghanistan is an example of that,”Chaudry said.
Khan further shared that when the Taliban leaders visited Pakistan, he tried to persuade them to reach a settlement, but the Taliban refused to negotiate with the Afghanistan government if Ashraf Ghani remains as President.
The Taliban has expressed their discontent of Ghani and his government, accusing them of being US puppets. Negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government which started last September have so far made no substantial progress.
US forces have used aid raids to support the Afghans against Taliban attacks, but this defense may not be offered after August 31.
Pakistan’s PM, Imran Khan has made it very clear to the United States that he does not welcome any American military bases in Pakistan as Pakistan has also suffered immensely during the 20-year long war in Afghanistan.
“We do not have the capacity to have any more fighting within our borders, any terrorism within our country. When we were in the height of that [Afghanistan war] on terror, which Pakistan joined, there were suicide bombs taking place all over the country. The businesses collapsed, tourism collapsed – so, what we do not want to be part of any conflict,” Khan said.
Pakistan is the second country in the world with the largest refugee population and shelters 1.4 million registered Afghans with roughly 1.5 million undocumented Afghan refugees.
With more violence in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf shared that “we are not in [the] position to accept any more refugees.” He then went on to say,
“We are willing to help, but we are in no position to take in new refugees with time around. The international forces and the United Nations should make arrangements for them inside Afghanistan.”
With a population of 225 million, the World Bank has calculated that Pakistan’s poverty rate is 39.3 percent and will steadily increase in the years to come.
The Afghan government forces continue to fight with the Taliban, and the US intelligence believe that the Taliban could possibly take over Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul within the next 90 days. So far, the Taliban have successfully taken control of eight provincial capitals in less than a week and have discussed their pursuit of three additional capitals. Collectively, the Taliban have taken control of two-thirds of the nation.
Currently, the US government is aiding Afghan military forces against the Taliban, but as rural areas are more difficult to protect, all focus have been on Kabul and other cities. As a result, thousands of families have been forced to flee their home and camp in parks, abandoned warehouse and fields.
The current Afghanistan government, backed by the US have promised the Taliban a share in power so long as the violence in the nation stops.
The United Nations have shared that more than 1,000 Afghan civilians have been killed just in the past month, and according to the International Committee of the Red Cross, since August 1, roughly 4,042 Afghan civilians have been wounded. They are currently being treated at fifteen health facilities.