Strategic Depth . .

Pakistan’s foreign strategy towards bordering Afghanistan has often been driven by the notion of strategic depth; strategic depth sought to exert influence over Afghanistan to counter supposed pressures from eastern borders. Though the intentions may have been strategic, the policy’s execution has always been questionable. Repeated interventions and support for various Afghan factions did little to stabilize Afghanistan and, in fact, contributed to the rise of extremist elements that now threaten Pakistan’s security.

               The circumstances in Afghanistan have always been a matter of grave apprehension for Pakistan, given the neighboring country’s strategic importance and historical complexities. The rise of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan under the Doha Agreement have further compounded the challenges for Pakistan’s national security. While many question the origins of these extremist groups, it is crucial to critically assess Pakistan’s Afghan policy and acknowledge the failures that have contributed to the current state of affairs.

               The unexpected collapse of Ashraf Ghani’s government and the takeover of Taliban, following the Doha Agreement have created significant challenges for Pakistan. The Taliban’s potential consolidation of power in Afghanistan poses a serious threat to Pakistan’s stability. Their refusal to recognize the Durand Line as a border and their ideology of exporting an Islamic system raise concerns about the spread of extremism across the region.

               Reasonably than focusing solely on reactive measures, it is imperative for Pakistan to address the root causes that have led to the rise of extremist ideologies within its borders and in Afghanistan. Socio-economic disparities, lack of access to education, and ideological indoctrination are factors that must be addressed through comprehensive reforms.

               A long-lasting resolution to the experiments posed by Afghanistan and its radical and fanatical elements necessitates regional cooperation. Pakistan must engage in constructive dialogue with all neighboring countries, including Afghanistan and India, to foster stability and peace in the region. Collaboration on intelligence sharing, counter-terrorism efforts and economic development can help address shared concerns effectively.

               The rise of the Taliban and the TTP can be sketched and outlined back to the tumultuous events of the late 20th century. Afghanistan, once a beacon of modernity and progress, fell into chaos after the overthrow of the monarchy and the rise of various ideological factions. The Soviet invasion and subsequent proxy war further deepened the fissures, leaving the country in ruins. It is essential to recognize that these extremist groups did not arise in a vacuum; external factors played a significant role in their formation.

               Pakistan’s Afghan policy has indeed experienced failures, and the rise of the Taliban and TTP pose significant threats to the country’s security and stability. It is essential for Pakistan’s leadership to introspect and recalibrate its approach towards Afghanistan, moving away from interventions and instead focusing on collaborative solutions with regional stakeholders.

               By addressing the root causes of extremism and investing in comprehensive reforms, Pakistan can mitigate the risks posed by the Taliban and establish a more secure and prosperous future for both nations. Only through regional cooperation and a commitment to peace can Pakistan emerge as a beacon of stability in an increasingly volatile neighborhood.

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