With the Taliban claiming towns and territories across Afghanistan, the pressure on Pakistan is building up as the scrutiny is falling on Islamabad. Emily Schmall, writing in The New York Times said that the US and others want Pakistan to push harder for peace. But many Pakistanis see a Taliban victory as inevitable, and some are cheering for one.
For decades, Pakistan has served as a sanctuary for the Afghan Taliban. Officials have acknowledged that Taliban fighters maintain homes and families in Pakistan, at a safe distance from the battlefields.
While voicing support for a peaceful solution globally, however, the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan has been quieter at home. It has not spoken out against pro-Taliban rallies within Pakistan. It also hasn’t condemned reported Taliban atrocities as the group marches toward Kabul, says Schmall.
“Pakistan is really in a bind,” said Elizabeth Threlkeld, a South Asia expert at the Stimson Center in Washington. “Even though Pakistan is really concerned about spillover violence and an influx of refugees, they want to keep the Taliban on the side.”
Pakistofficials deny helping the group militarily, insisting that during negotiations in Doha, Qatar, they pushed hard for peace talks with the Taliban.