In the contemporary Afghan scenario; Pakistan has only two relevancies. The first being that they share a long border; the controversial Durand line. Whereas the second is that Pakistan has influence on the most powerful opposition of Afghan government and American Interests. From geographical point of view; power balance mechanism is not vital anymore the way it was at the time of the Soviet Afghan war or early years of American invasion of Afghanistan. However, it has not completely faded yet; as we can see mainly this corridor is available to the Afghan Taliban leaders’ mobilization.
The Americans and Afghans are more interested in controlling the Taliban element within Afghanistan, via dialogue. Therefore, from Qatar Peace talks to the Murree Peace process; they look towards Pakistan.
Conventionally, till Mullah Omer Afghans & Americans were very clear about the influence of Pakistan on Talibans. However after Mullah Omer, the new Ameer of Taliban; Mullah Akhter Masour opposed the Pakistani Sway.
Therefore as we saw in the past few months; the Americans have changed their policies regarding Pakistan.
Inside Pakistani agencies they’ve kept up their backdoor diplomacy with Afghan Taliban. Yet Afghan Taliban remained reluctant, as they began to believe that Pakistan is acting as a double agent.
Mullah Akhter was the main hurdle for Pakistan as he was disinclined towards Pakistan’s role in the Peace Process. He also had no wish to bend to the Americans’ will, so he turned into the combined enemy against Pakistani Influence & Americans’ will.
Even among the Taliban there is a group, who was against Mullah Akhter’s policy of no dialogue & this group is commanded by Mullah Omer’s son; Mullah Muhammad Yaqoub. He is also the one whom Pakistan would prefer as the next Ameer. The Taliban leadership, on the other hand, seem disputed on the issue, and want hardliner Mullah Shaikh Haibat Ullah Akhonzada to be next Ameer.
Nomination of the next chief of Taliban is very significant for Pakistan’s role in South Asian ever-revolving dynamics, as Pakistan need to loosen the hold of indian lobby in Afghanistan. The American role seems suspicious, as it appears as if they wish to channelize Afghan Taliban’s Anti American anger towards Pakistan. For this the only comprehensible reason could be the Chinese access of warm waters via Pakistan.
Mullah Akhter Mansour’s connections with Iran seem to be a new development, most likely following the footsteps of this region’s legend; Tipu Sultan.
It seems a very unnatural alliance, the only likeness between the two being Anti-Americanism sentiments.
Conclusively, appointment of the new Ameer of Afghan Taliban will determine Pakistan’s standing in the region. Either once again the Americans would tilt their policy in favor of Pakistan or a line will emerge clearly between the Pakistan-China block and the American-Indian block. However on a ground level; suffering would only be, as always, for the Afghanis.