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Opinion | Pakistan’s puppet government in Kabul

Pakistan’s ISI had been sheltering and aiding Taliban leaders and fighters, when they were hiding for the last 20 years. The cat is now out of the bag. 

Rajat Sharma Rajat Sharma @RajatSharmaLive
New Delhi Published on: September 11, 2021 13:27 IST
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Opinion | Pakistan’s puppet government in Kabul

The Taliban government in Afghanistan, packed with terrorists declared as ‘most wanted’ by the US and UN, may have Afghan faces as ministers, but the government will actually be run by Pakistani advisers. Pakistan will be handholding the new Taliban government by sending its bureaucrats to help in governance.

This was revealed by none other than Pakistan finance minister Shaukat Tarin, while addressing the Senate Standing Committee. Tarin said, “people could be sent from Pakistan to run various affairs in Afghanistan”. Tarin also said that Pakistan will trade with Afghanistan in Pakistani rupees, as there is a severe crunch of US dollars under the Taliban regime. During the previous Afghan regime, the Afghani currency was stronger than the Pakistani rupee, but after the US troops left, the Afghani currency has hit a new low, and Pakistan will try to take advantage of the economic crisis.

Asked about Shaukat Tarin’s comments, Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said, we cannot leave Taliban ‘tanha’ (alone), while Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said, Taliban are our friends. “Why should we hide this fact?”, he added.  

Already, there are media reports that Pakistan’s spy agency ISI has taken away most of the confidential data that were collected by the previous Afghan regime. Three C-130 army transport aircraft that delivered humanitarian aid from Pakistan in Kabul, left carrying bag loads of secret, classified Afghan documents, particularly from the National Directorate of Security. These were in the form of printed secret documents, hard disks and digital data. Indian security sources say the ISI will decipher these classified documents and use it for its own ends. These valuable data can put several intelligence sources who had worked in Afghanistan at risk. The entire operation, according to media reports, was coordinated by the Pakistan ambassador in Kabul Mansoor Ahmed.

Pakistan’s ISI had been sheltering and aiding Taliban leaders and fighters when they were hiding for the last 20 years. The cat is now out of the bag. Pakistan ISI D-G Faiz Hameed suddenly visited Kabul to bring different Taliban groups on a single page, for forming a government. Pakistani air force planes strafed Ahmed Massoud’s position inside Panjshir valley and helped Taliban fighters to enter. Now that the Taliban government has been formed, Pakistani leaders and ministers are openly saying that their country would help the Taliban in governance by sending Pakistanis to run departments.

Already, Pakistani military aircraft are landing in Kandahar, Khost and Kabul frequently, ostensibly in the guise of providing humanitarian assistance. But the real objective is different. Pakistani military advisers are helping the Taliban to set up a full-fledged well-armed army. Taliban fighters are now taking orders directly from Pakistani army officials.

The distance from the Chaman border outpost in Pakistan to Kandahar is hardly 115 km, and humanitarian aid can easily be sent through trucks by road in roughly two hours. Then why are Pakistani army aircraft being used to cover a distance of 115 km? Similarly, the distance between the Pakistan border and Khost in Afghanistan is hardly 33 km. Yet, military aircraft are being used to airlift humanitarian aid like food and medicines.

There are reports that US-made weapons, and other ultra-modern accessories are being smuggled to Pakistan in these military aircraft. On Thursday night, in ‘Aaj Ki Baat’ show, I had shown how shopkeepers in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Gujranwala are openly selling US-made weapons and accessories as “maal-e-ganimat” (war booty). Pakistan army and ISI are well aware of the smuggling of US weapons captured by the Taliban.

Meanwhile, bad news has come from Panjshir valley, where lakhs of people are starving after all food supply routes have been closed by the Taliban. The Afghan national resistance force claims it still controls 60 per cent of the valley. Pakistan air force aircraft are still being used to bomb Ahmed Massoud’s positions inside the valley, in order to give the Taliban an upper hand.

There are long queues of vehicles, with families carrying their belongings, waiting to flee from the valley, but Taliban fighters have stopped their exit routes. On Friday, news came about the brutal assassination of resistance leader Amrullah Saleh’s brother Rohullah Saleh, who was tortured before he was shot dead by Taliban fighters.

The common man in Afghanistan is facing a severe shortage of food, medicines and other essential commodities. Banks are closed and people are unable to withdraw cash from ATMs. Shops have run out of groceries, medicines and other essentials. The man on the street in Kabul and other Afghan cities is penniless. People fear to step out of their homes lest they face brutalities from the Taliban.

On the other hand, the leaders of Pakistan are shedding crocodile tears over the state of Afghanistan’s economy. But what is the state of Pakistan’s economy? Pakistani leaders are living in a world of make-believe. There is a proverb: ‘If wishes were horses, beggars would ride’. In Hindi, it is “ghar me nahin daane, amma chali bhunaane”.  Pakistan’s own economy is in a precarious state and it is planning to improve the Afghan economy.

Already Pakistan has managed to install the Taliban as the new rulers of Afghanistan. Its air force helped the Taliban to march into Panjshir valley. Its ISI chief managed to install the chief of the Haqqani terror network as the home minister. Taliban has failed to implement its promise made in Doha for ensuring human rights and equal rights for women. The world is watching all these developments. It is now upon the United States and its NATO allies, what next steps they intend to take.

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