Taliban spring offensive: Litmus test for Pakistan



SHAFAQNA PAKISTAN (Shia News Agency)-Taliban

Ashraf Ghani’s coming into power proved a watershed movement in the history of Afghanistan. On the other hand Army Chief of Pakistan Raheel Sharif in short span has also turned the table. He is rightly the man that is architect of Pakistan-Afghan relations thaw. The two intelligence organizations were symptomatic of the abiding issues in the ties, the strong defense put up by the Ghani government and the NDS itself is a sufficient proof that Kabul is convinced not only about the usefulness of such a cooperation, but also about the steps Islamabad is taking to deal with cross-border terrorism and promote peace and reconciliation.The agreement between NDS and ISI is not unprecedented per se. The two intelligence organizations had, under US pressure, signed a similar agreement in 2006, which remained in force till 2009, but it was then hardly implemented because of the mutual mistrust.

However Taliban latest spring offensive have put the ties at stake. Though Pakistan has issued a stern warning to Taliban to stop violence but question is that whether Pakistan that is believed to control Taliban strings, would succeed in stopping Taliban from violent activities? The fact that Afghan Taliban did not oblige Pakistan on the issue of starting a peace dialogue with the Afghan government made the strategists in Islamabad more concerned about a scenario where the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban could join hands. Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif in an earlier visit to Afghanistan had conveyed to President Ghani Taliban’s willingness to join an intra-Afghan dialogue, but that could not happen due to internal divisions in Taliban ranks over the issue of making peace with Afghan government. Now the only option Pakistan has left to join Afghanistan security forces in fighting out Taliban. This is the litmus test of nascent ties between both the countries.