Difference between Taliban 1.0 and 2.0 for Pakistan

Muhammad Imad Abbas

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Upon the Taliban’s triumph in Afghanistan, there was widespread jubilation among Pakistani policymakers. They believed that Pakistan’s strategic debt would now be fulfilled, including the submission of Pashtun nationalists under the auspices of Islamic nationalism and the subduing of the issue of the Durand Line. Additionally, Pakistan could now easily oust all the developments and investments that India had made in Afghanistan. Through this, Pakistan could safely secure its western border, thus focusing only on the western front.

Upon the triumph of afghan Taliban inside Afghanistan, there was widespread jubilation among the policymakers of Pakistan. It was now widely believed that the strategic debt of Pakistan will be fulfilled. This included the submission of Pashtun nationalist under the auspices of Islamic nationalism, where the issue of Durand line will be subdued. Apart from that, Pakistan can now easily oust all the developments and investments which India has done inside Afghanistan. Through this, Pakistan can safely secure her western border, thus focusing only on the western front. Besides this, this was widely believed that the Taliban 2.0 are more organized and softhearted than the Taliban back in 1990s.

Zalmay Khalil zad , US special envoy for peace, in several of his meetings has called the Taliban 2.0 as changed and which have accepted their mistakes of the past. However, with the passage of time, things didn’t start to unfold as were being predicted by the political elites. The spillover from the afghan Taliban has culminated into crisis on multiple fronts for the Pakistan state. These issues are in the form of economic derailment, political instability due to the direct clash between the army and former premier Imran khan, and most important, has resulted in the resurgence of militancy in the erstwhile FATA, KPK and Punjab region.

The insurmountable victory of Afghan Taliban against the Ashraf Ghani regime had an unprecedented impact upon the militant groups that wants to impose an Islamic sharia inside the FATA and some parts of KPK. Among these groups, the outlawed TTP is the most active inside the KPK region. Only in the month of January, let alone the rest, TTP has orchestrated 26 direct attacks on the security personnel’s, this has resulted in the killing of many police personal, while dozens are injured.

Furthermore, this new wave of militancy is unique in a sense that this time there had been a direct alliance between the TTP and BLA. these unfolding scenarios and made up the situation more perilous for the Pakistan. during the last few days, TTP has orchestrated numerous attacks in different districts of Baluchistan. Apart from TTP, the Islamic State of Pakistan province has also inflicted three attacks inside the Baluchistan province. This alarming situation clearly depicts how the security apparatus is clearly evolving throughout the country.

Our policy makers are making a great mistake by conflating the two different paradigms as same. With the passage of time, the interest and structural changes has completely transformed the Taliban today than they were back in 1990s.

For instance, during the 1990s, the regime of Taliban was bifurcated into two centers. For one part, it was headed by the Mullah Rabbani Akhund, who was the nominal president with his own cabinets, while the second was headed by Emirul Momineen , Mullah Muhammad Omar Akhund . This division of power between two centers have never let the afghanstan to devised unified and effectives domestic and foreign policy. Nevertheless, this time the policies are all under a centralized system where all the decisions are taken by the cabinet members.

Furthermore, during the regime of 90s, Taliban were largely dependent upon the trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan. All the domestically manufactured goods and raw materials were exported to Pakistan and in return the money which they used to get was used for running their state machinery. However, this time the flow is completely in an opposite direction. Upon the triumph, the new dispensation of Taliban made their first and foremost priority of setting trade relations with the neighboring states. Besides this, the taxes from the drugs and custom duties is also used by the Taliban to fulfill their basic necessities. For instance, in 2022 only, Taliban has been successful in collecting 1.2 billion dollars from these taxes.

The most important factor which had throughout 40 years of our history shaped and altered our strategic depth inside Afghanistan has been the issue of Durand line.  this was a wide perception among the policymakers that by having a friendly regime inside Afghanistan, the issue of border dispute, which had been doing since the inception of Pakistan, will be buried forever. However, upon the advent the advent of Taliban, the situation took a complete great leap. They are now reluctant to accept the border line with Pakistan and has taken a great stand against it. Due to this reason, the cross border attacks has also soared between the two. Pakistan has often called for diplomatic efforts to amiably solve this issue, however, viewing the slow and gradual decline of Pakistan politically and economically, they are in no position to go for these talks. Until now, dozens of security personals has lost their lives on the both sides of the border, while there seems no signs of relaxation between the two.

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