Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Taliban rulers wary of Pakistan meddling at US behest

By Hamid Pakteen 

Pakistan’s persistent interference in governance issues in Afghanistan has been irking the Taliban government to no end during the past one year. The patience seems to have worn out recently when Pakistan Ambassador Mansoor Ahmad Khan began dictating to the media on how and what to report. 

As murmurs broke out among the Taliban leaders, Pakistan had to shunt out the Ambassador quickly and replace him with a new Ambassador in Ubaidur Rehman Nizamani.

Although Pakistan is claiming the sudden change as routine, there are enough indications of the growing impatience between the two allies about Pakistan’s increasing interference in Afghan government matters. The anger broke out into the open when a Deputy Minister of Culture and Information reportedly resigned over the continuous meddling in his departmental affairs by the Pakistan Ambassador. 

The resignation letter which became public for a brief time listed out three reasons for his resignation. The minister accused the Ambassador of interfering in Afghan affairs despite several discussions and instructions to sort out the grievance. The Cultural Attache at the Pakistan embassy has been managing Afghan media affairs and censoring news without the approval of the minister in charge of media. The minister also took objections to the celebration of the 103rd Afghanistan Independence Day at a time when the country was grappling with its image projection. 

The letter went viral on social media but was called out as `fake and frivolous` by the Afghan government.

Intriguingly, a day after the letter went viral, Pakistan Ambassador Mansoor Ahmad Khan declared that his mission in Afghanistan was over. He was in fact asked by the Pakistan government to return forthwith, a decision which betrays the gravity of the situation. To camouflage the hasty removal, the Ambassador immediately began a series of farewell meetings with political leaders like Hamid Karzai, Dr Abdullah Abdullah and Amir Khan Muttaqi. 

These events overshadow other more subtle conflicts between the two allies. The Afghan officials, for instance, suspect Pakistan hand behind the bomb blast in a Sunni mosque in Kabul. The officials believe that such actions were carried out by Pakistan at the behest of the US. 

The officials also suspect an increase in Pakistan’s meddlesome activities given the dramatic changes that have taken place within the Pakistan Army. The abrupt removal of former ISI DG, Lt. General Faiz Hamid from Peshawar to Bahawalpur pointed to hardening of positions within the army against the Taliban government. There is growing belief that General Javed Bajwa was keen on improving ties with the US and was dictating a tough line to take against the Taliban government, more so after the militant group, Tahrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), had refused to agree to a truce. 

Note:The contents of the article are of sole responsibility of the author. Afghan Diaspora Network will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the articles.

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