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Trump-Taliban fallout: Kashmir can relax as Pak faces civil war

  • Failure of Trump-Taliban talks good for Kashmir
  • Pakistan may shift troops from J&K to Afghan border and Balochistan
  • With the Opposition heading a march to Islamabad in October, Pakistan may plunge into a civil war.

New Delhi: With US President Donald Trump’s attempt to thrash out a peace plan with the Taliban falling apart, Pakistan is likely to ease pressure on Jammu and Kashmir and, instead, focus more on restive Balochistan sooner than expected. In other words, J&K might return to ‘normalcy’ soon.

American peacemaker Presidents who failed in Afghanistan.

And a new wave of terrorism may now shift from the Radcliffe Line between India and Pakistan towards the Durand Line between Pakistan and Afghanistan, spilling over within Pakistan throwing it into a civil war.

Afghanistan goes to presidential election on September 28. Amid increased needs of troops on the 2,200-km-long Durand Line with Afghanistan, popular unrest in Balochistan and Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK), a group of Opposition parties, led by Maulana Fazlur Rehman, have already announced a March on Islamabad next month to unseat the Imran Khan Government. Clearly, Pakistan will have to shift its armed forces to its own restive provinces rather than J&K.

This sudden change in South Asia’s geopolitical scenario has come about due to the unpredictability of the Taliban, seeded, nurtured, nursed and funded by Islamabad for the last three decades.

Sections of intensely faction-ridden Taliban were not happy with their in-house rivals walking away with peace after nine rounds of US-Taliban talks. So, they did what best they do: they sabotaged the Trump-Taliban peace talks simply by launching a couple of terror attacks and killing a few American soldiers. A successful Trump-Taliban treaty would have enabled America to gradually withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. Trump, who faces US Presidential elections next year, wanted to showcase this success as a feather in his cap in a bid to win a second term.

Since 2001, America has spent close to USD 110 billions on the Afghan War. Trump had declared to discontinue this expensive engagement of American troops in a distant land and that he would bring those soldiers back.

But many in his own Administration did not trust Trump nor the efficacy of this flimsy diplomacy. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was said to have declined to sign the ad hoc treaty, cobbled together by US’s ex-Afghan envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. Clearly, with Trump calling off his efforts, the Deep State in Washington would be happy; they should thank the unpredictable Taliban for sabotaging the Trump plot!

Why, Trump even planned to host the Taliban at Camp David on the eve of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks and possibly emerge as a peace-hawker like some of his predecessors who sold war merchandise to chosen dictators and still won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Any possible peace in Afghanistan would have freed more Pakistani soldiers deployed on the Afghan border to shift to the eastern border with India, particularly in J&K. Expecting a breakthrough in the US-Taliban talks, Pakistan was already flexing its muscles in the state bordering India where it wanted to foment trouble.

But the mercurial Taliban, adopted child of Islamabad, have put paid to these fond hopes of both America and Pakistan. The uncontrollable Taliban have not even cared to protect Pakistan’s interests in J&K. War is in their blood: as the phrase goes, the Afghans are at peace only when they are at war!

Indeed, the Taliban had recently said that Kashmir was not on their agenda and that they would not spare their Mujahideens to the Valley. That was why Pakistan was able to recruit only a few intrepid Afghan Mujahideen for possible infiltration into J&K, along with members of Pakistan-based terror gangs like Jaish-e-Muhammed etc.

With Trump’s failure in Afghanistan diplomacy, even Afghan President Ashraf Ghani would be relaxed the way New Delhi and Washington DC do. Not only did Trump want to leave Kabul in the lurch, he had also not made Ghani part of negotiations for future of his own war-torn country.

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