Former US envoy urges Joe Biden to engage with Pakistan
NEW YORK: Former US envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Ryan Crocker urged the Biden administration to engage with Pakistan on ways to assess and deal with the unfolding situation in Afghanistan, saying that the ‘American disaster’ in the war-torn country is due to the incumbent American president’s impatience.
In an opinion piece for The New York Times Crocker said that Biden’s “strategic impatience” has given a huge boost to the Taliban.
“I recall the comment attributed to a captured Taliban fighter from a number of years ago: You Americans have the watches, but we have the time. Sadly that view proved accurate — the Taliban outlasted us and our impatience,” Crocker said in his opinion piece.
In his opinion piece, the veteran diplomat said that Pakistan would also face the implications of the Taliban’s control in Afghanistan as the TTP has been engaged in attacking targets inside Pakistan.
The former envoy recalled that after the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan the US decided that it was done with the country despite seeing a civil war on the cards.
He also recalled that while leaving Washington cut off “security and economic assistance” to Pakistan over its nuclear weapons programme even though Washington has ignored such actions before.
“So Pakistan, in its own narrative, went from being the most allied of allies to the most sanctioned of adversaries. That is why Pakistan threw its support to the Taliban when they started gaining ground in the 1990s: It could end a dangerous conflict along Pakistan’s own unstable borders,” explained Crocker. He also said that it was the same aid assistance that led Pakistan to welcome the US back to Afghanistan after 9/11.
“But we soon learned that the Taliban were a sticky matter. I was ambassador to Pakistan from 2004 to 2007. I pushed Pakistani officials repeatedly on the need to deny the Taliban safe-havens. The answer I got back over time went like this: “We know you. We know you don’t have patience for the long fight. We know the day will come when you just get tired and go home — it’s what you do. But we aren’t going anywhere — this is where we live. So if you think we are going to turn the Taliban into a mortal enemy, you are completely crazy. We have again validated their scepticism,” said the former diplomat in his opinion piece.
The former envoy urged that Washington needs to engage with Pakistan “on ways to assess and deal with this enhanced threat” coming from the Afghan Taliban.
Earlier this month, Voice of America, quoting sources, had reported that a high-powered commission has been set up by the Afghan Taliban to look into Pakistan’s concerns.
The three-member commission was set up by Taliban chief Hibatullah Akhundzada, after receiving complaints from Islamabad that the outlawed TTP is using Afghan soil to plot cross-border attacks.
The assurance that militants will not be allowed to use Afghan soil to launch cross border attacks has also been given by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.
Mujahid told the media in Kabul that no terrorist group will be allowed to use the Afghan soil against any country.
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