America’s failed war of 20 years against the Taliban in Afghanistan came to an end yesterday (August 30) as Chris Donahue, the commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, stepped into the C-17 aircraft and returned to the US. Pakistan, the neighbouring country of Afghanistan that had a major role in keeping the Taliban active all these years was seemingly gleeful witnessing the exit of American troops. However, contrary to the rosy dreams that Pakistani leaders have harboured of the Taliban helping them to snatch Kashmir and assert dominance in the subcontinent, the terror outfit is instead planning to come after the Islamic country over the Durand line.
The clock has started ticking as Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid expressed concern about Pakistan fencing its border (the Durand Line) with Afghanistan, saying that the Taliban had not agreed to it. Despite pressure from Islamabad, the Taliban has never accepted the Durand line.
Earlier, the Taliban could not have gone against Pakistan on an outright offence but with American troops leaving over $85 billion worth of military equipment in the hands of the terrorist outfit — courtesy of a haphazard exit planned by none other than US President Joe Biden, Pakistan is set to be at the receiving end of the gun barrel.
Former US Navy reservist Jim Banks had remarked that the military equipment left behind includes 75,000 vehicles, 200 aeroplanes and helicopters, and 600,000 small arms and light weapons. He also stated that the Taliban now has more black hawk helicopters than 85 per cent of the world. With such a mighty arsenal in its bag, the Taliban can easily put Pakistan in its place if it tries to aggressively push for the legitimacy of the Durand line.
Several videos of Talibani terrorists taking over Kabul airport, clad in full American military clothing and examining the state of abandoned helicopters, moments after US troops fled the country have gone viral on social media platforms.
Democrat lapdog, CNN was also forced to put out a tweet with a video captioned, “Following the complete withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, video shows Taliban fighters entering a hangar at the Kabul airport and examining what was left behind by the US military.”
Following the complete withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, video shows Taliban fighters entering a hangar at the Kabul airport and examining what was left behind by the US military https://t.co/E0xphBHi7D pic.twitter.com/fuiofJhYsc
— CNN (@CNN) August 31, 2021
Other videos show the Taliban flying the sophisticated Black Hawk helicopters and using them to inflict their sadistic punishments on the common populace of Afghanistan.
Here it is. A Taliban-operated Black Hawk.pic.twitter.com/rkqcXbdnkd
— Shubhangi Sharma (@ItsShubhangi) August 30, 2021
While Pakistan’s government and its top parties continue to serenade the Afghan Taliban, another monster in its backyard has started making the lives of ordinary Pakistanis’ difficult.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) also referred to in the media as the ‘Pakistani Taliban’, which has fashioned itself on the lines of Afghan Taliban but is essentially anti-Pakistan in its stance has also repeatedly refused to acknowledge the Durand line.
As reported by TFI, while Pakistan believes that the Taliban is its ally, the terror outfit covertly supports the TTP fighters as well. In early March the Taliban ambushed Afghan security forces in Khost province, destroying a convoy. While it was nothing out of the ordinary in a conflict-ridden Afghanistan — the episode was noteworthy because it seemed to involve terrorists from the TTP.
The Afghan Taliban “officially claimed the attack”, however, when the publication contacted Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, he neither confirmed nor denied the involvement of TTP. The Taliban has in the past denied that it hosts foreign fighters. But, when asked about it, Mujahid would neither confirm nor deny the presence of TTP members in Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan.
The covert backing of the Afghan Taliban to TTP can be a double whammy for Pakistan. It is trying to fiddle with a highly volatile terrorist outfit whose aims and goals are eventually tied down to the destruction of borders and communities. Both Afghan Taliban and TTP want to erase the existence of the Durand Line and that can only happen when Pakistan is erased from the map. The Taliban wants an Islamic Emirate and Pakistan will have to be eventually assimilated in that.
An interesting exchange between Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar and retired Pakistani general-turned-politician Naseerullah Babar depicts the reality of the situation and how Pakistan is on the backfoot.
Over a meal, Babar asked Omar if the latter recognised the Durand Line, “all problems would be resolved.” Omar took serious offence at his guest’s unsolicited advice and, going against the grain of the Pashtun code of honour, shouted at Babar to stop eating and leave the place at once — calling Babar, who was an ethnic Pashtun, a “traitor.”
Reported extensively by TFI, TTP has mounted an unprecedented offensive against the Pakistani state and its armed forces. Afghanistan’s current acting President Amurullah Saleh has also warned Pakistan that if it continues to provide support to the Taliban then it has to pay a “very high price”.
Islamabad has already refused to allow American’s to set camp within its borders to keep the Afghan Taliban in check. With a power vacuum in the region, both the Afghan Taliban and Pakistan Taliban would certainly ensure that Pakistan is the ultimate loser in the conflict. Add to it the sophisticated machinery they have got their hands upon and Pakistan will not be able to defend itself either.