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One may disagree with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s lopsided views on legions of issues plaguing the country, but his stance on the Afghanistan issue is spot on.
As a staunch campaigner of a political solution in war-riven Afghanistan, he believes that peace will remain elusive in southwest Asia unless the Taliban are incentivized. At a time when the country is grappling with a serious humanitarian crisis, the world would do well to heed his advice.
Pakistan has been consistent in its approach when it comes to Afghanistan: that the reemergence of the Taliban in the country must be accepted, and the militant group be accorded a fair opportunity to help rebuild the country. Years of war and political turmoil in the violence-battered country has led to further strife, and the recent humiliating exit of the Americans is a sordid chapter in world history.
Given these uncomfortable facts, it would be far better for world powers to work with the new dispensation in Kabul, and persuade it to make good its promises of installing an inclusive governance structure.
To this end, the best way forward is to help Afghanistan through a policy of engagement. Not only will this resolve many of the irritants, it will also ensure lasting peace in the region for the first time in four decades. Talking to the Middle East Eye, a London-based online news outlet, the other day, PM Khan stated the obvious by explaining that the consequences of not doing anything, and acting as a spectator while impoverished Afghans enter neighboring borders as migrants, will be catastrophic.
While the Taliban pine for recognition, the world ought to show a semblance of generosity by doling out aid and assistance to help the regime get over the humanitarian and governance crisis.
Pakistan has fairly made a case because it knows the region better than any other country, and especially because it has borne the major brunt of America’s so-called war on terror, eventually beating the terror nexus on its home ground. Islamabad is also cognizant of the fact that renewed anarchy in Afghanistan will have a devastating fallout on Pakistan. It will, however, have a snowball effect across the region, inevitably reinforcing the remaining terror groups to stage a comeback.
This is what Pakistan seeks to deter, and the simple way to it is to enable the existing political regime in Afghanistan to take charge of their destiny.