U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman begins a two-day visit to Pakistan today. “Both of our countries have suffered terribly from the scourge of terrorism and we look forward to cooperative efforts to eliminate all regional and global terrorist threats,” she told reporters last week as she began her four-country trip.
The notion that Pakistan will cooperate in regional counterterror efforts is strange, to say the least. By Sherman’s logic, OJ Simpson and Nicole Brown Simpson were equal partners in the fight against domestic violence.
Rather than obfuscate and engage in diplomatic niceties, it is time to call out Pakistan’s role in what essentially was an invasion of its neighbor by proxy.
Speaking at a panel organized by Stanford University’s South Asia Initiative, Javid Ahmad who, until the fall of Kabul served as Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, placed the Taliban’s recent military effective on the “deluge” of Pakistani mentors and advisors attached to Taliban military units. He did not exaggerate; if anything, he is guilty of understatement.
The partnership of Pakistani officers with Taliban units was the tip of the iceberg. In the last weeks of the war, more than 4,000 foreign terrorists—mostly Pakistan-based—joined the Taliban in Afghanistan’s northern provinces where they sought to cut off any supply route between the former Soviet Republics and Afghanistan’s anti-Taliban forces.
They operated not only as fighters but also as commanders. Intelligence has confirmed that at least 1,200 were Pakistani terrorists; many others are confirmed foreigners but their names and places of residence remain unknown. Much can be confirmed open source: Pakistani terrorists or their sympathizers publicized the “martyrdom” of Pakistanis killed in Afghanistan and published photos or videos of those buried inside Pakistan after their body’s return.
For example, Bilal Arif, the son of Din Gul who is head of Jamiat-e Islami, an Islamist political party, in Pakistan’s Khyber district, was killed fighting in Afghanistan on June 29, 2021.