Hopes Joe Biden Keeping the Afghan Taliban at bay will depend largely on Pakistan, a neighboring country that has close ties to the militant group but has often proven to be an unreliable partner for the United States.
Islamabad has long tried to balance its relationship with the United States and its support for the Taliban, leading to frustration in Washington and a sense now that the militant group’s victory has a lot to do with its support base in Pakistan.
“The Americans believe that Pakistan’s support for the Taliban for 20 years was the main reason for America’s failure,” said Hussain Haqqani, who served as Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States from 2008 to 2011. An arduous journey.”
Pakistan remains an indispensable force in the region. And even if the Taliban do not rule in tandem, the United States will want to maintain a foothold in the country to keep China’s influence in check and ensure Islamabad’s nuclear arsenal is secure. That will be even more important after US forces finish their withdrawal from Afghanistan on August 31.
Bin Laden’s shelter
The United States and Pakistan have never been closer than they were after the September 11, 2001 attacks, when the United States turned to neighboring Afghanistan for bases and intelligence. But the relationship reached its lowest point in 2011, when US special forces killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the city of Abbottabad, not far from a major Pakistani military base.
Many US officials assume that bin Laden’s presence was known to at least some members of the Pakistani government, military and intelligence services, a charge the officials rejected. But the bitterness and mistrust that caused this event continues on both sides.
Now, more than half a year into his presidency, Biden has not called Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.
“I still hear President Biden hasn’t called me,” Khan told reporters this month. “It’s not like I’m waiting for a phone call.”
Pakistani officials have complained over the years that the Americans simultaneously wanted them to use their influence over the Afghan Taliban to help broker a political settlement while suppressing the group. Pakistan also has a large Pashtun population, the dominant ethnic group of Taliban leaders, which complicates the policy of meeting US demands.
Regardless of Pakistan’s historical support for the Taliban, particularly from the country’s security apparatus, Khan said the militant group’s success in reoccupying Afghanistan is likely inevitable, and urged the world to work with them as they form a new government. He said the 300,000-strong Afghan security forces, equipped with advanced US weapons, were unable to resist the 70,000 Taliban fighters because “nobody is fighting for a corrupt government.” Let us help them if the Taliban wants peace.