Alwaght- After years of hostility, last week Pakistan struck a ceasefire deal with Tahreek-e-Taliban militant group, days after Prime Minister said his government would offer amnesty to whoever lays down arms. Minister of Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry announced that Islamabad reached an agreement with the militant group on full cessation of hostility. But can Islamabad be optimistic about tangibly settling its security problems with Salafi and sectarian militant groups now that Taliban holds the power in Afghanistan? How far can Taliban influence on the Tahreek’s moves go and boost the Pakistani security?
Alwaght talked to Pir-Mohammad Mollazehi, an Iranian expert of Indian Peninsula affairs, asking him for answer to this question.
He believes that essentially the ceasefire deal cannot yield tangible results in the short run. To see the influence of the agreement on the security conditions, he added, we should wait and see the mid-term developments.
Haqqani Network the main arranger of the Islamabad-Tahreek agreement
Commenting on the ramifications of the accord on the security of Pakistan, Mr Mollazehi said that the recent talks between the two sides were mediated by Afghanistan’s Haqqani Network.
“The fact is that the Haqqani Network has very close ties with both Tahreek-e-Taliban and the ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence]. The move should be considered Pakistan’s guile so that it can properly manage the effects of Taliban takeover in Afghanistan on its national security. Looking at the issue from this angle, we can say that Islamabad has now realized that after the seizure of Kabul by the Taliban, the group may no longer have activities that can be used to the benefit Islamabad interests.” This concern seems to have pushed Islamabad to resort to the Haqqani Network. The result was the recent agreement.”
Islamabad-Tahreek can initiate a dangerous game in the region
That how influential this agreement cab be on Pakistan’s national security is directly linked to Islamabad’s look at the regional security, according to the political expert. Tahreek’s goal is clear. It wants Pakistan to be part of the Islamic emirate.
“If there would be an agreement between the central government and Tahreek that sees formation of a de facto government under Islamic emirate name, we are in front of a highly dangerous deal that is aimed at saving Islamabad from the crisis at the expense of involvement of all regional countries in a confrontation of Islamist radicalism. The negotiations are not publicized yet and so we cannot certainly talk about the contents of the agreement. So, its effects remain somehow unclear.”
Taliban seeking Islamabad-Tahreek dialogue
Asked for comments on recent Taliban remarks that it will not allow entry and activity of Tahreek in Afghanistan, Mr Mollazehi said that there is no doubt that the Taliban rose to power with Pakistani support. Also, it is unquestionable, he continued, that any Tahreek activity in Pakistan with backing from the Taliban is not favorable for both Islamabad and Kabul.
“In the current situation, the Taliban is seeking a political solution for an Islamabad agreement with Tahreek-e-Taliban group so that it can shore up Kabul-Islamabad relations.”
Dialogue and agreement a focus of Pakistan and Tahreek
The Iranian expert held that it is important to take into consideration that Afghanistan’s Taliban has no adequate potentials to impact Haqqani Network and Tahreek. Actually, the more powerful Haqqani Network under new rule in Afghanistan, the less possible destructive activities in Pakistan by Tahreek. Therefore, it seems that the Taliban offered a logical solution to Tahreek and Islamabad.
“At least in not-so-distant future, there is no way but dialogue between Pakistan and Tahreek group. Tahreek does not have that much military power to shift the equations in its favor and so it seems that there is a serious will between the two sides for negotiations. Should they reach an agreement, peace can hold at least in short term. Otherwise, the group can resort to suicide operations and chaos to Pakistan.”