Tensions Escalate Between Taliban and Pakistan Over Cross-Border Terrorism and Migrant Expulsions

Tensions escalate between Taliban-led Afghanistan and Pakistan, as cross-border terrorism and expulsion of Afghan migrants strain regional stability.

Trim Correspondents
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Tensions Escalate Between Taliban and Pakistan Over Cross-Border Terrorism and Migrant Expulsions

Tensions Escalate Between Taliban and Pakistan Over Cross-Border Terrorism and Migrant Expulsions

Relations between the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan and Pakistan have become increasingly strained since the Taliban's takeover of Kabul in August 2021. The tensions are largely driven by an increase in cross-border terrorism originating from Afghanistan, as well as Pakistan's actions, including trade restrictions, the expulsion of Afghan migrants, and airstrikes targeting militant hideouts in Afghanistan.

Pakistan had initially hoped to capitalize on its history of cooperation with the Taliban, expecting them to move against the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other Pakistani militant groups. However, these hopes have not materialized, and Pakistan has instead experienced an increase in terrorism as the Taliban's return to power has emboldened the TTP. "Violence against Pakistani security forces and civilians has surged since the Taliban takeover, with most attacks claimed by the Pakistani Taliban, a close ally of the Afghan Taliban," according to the summaries.

The Taliban are now asserting their independence and refusing to comply with Pakistan's demands, while forging new partnerships with other regional players like China, Russia, Iran, and India. Despite the cooling of ties with Pakistan, the Taliban administration is generating significant revenue from foreign investments, particularly from China, and is taking advantage of international humanitarian aid.

Pakistan has tightened document requirements for Afghans entering the country and launched a massive operation against undocumented Afghans living in Pakistan. This has led to tensions and border closures, with both sides blaming the other for the latest shutdowns. Pakistan has opened three new border crossings to expedite the deportation of Afghan migrants, with nearly 300,000 Afghans leaving Pakistan in recent weeks due to the crackdown.

Why this matters: The strained relations between the Taliban and Pakistan have far-reaching implications for regional stability and security. The escalation of cross-border terrorism and the expulsion of Afghan migrants not only impact the two countries but also have the potential to destabilize the broader region, as neighboring countries grapple with the consequences of these developments.

The expulsions have drawn criticism from Taliban government and human rights organizations, as the majority of the deportees are Afghans. "The returning families have been connected with international organizations to receive assistance, and the Afghan government has provided financial support of 10,000 Afghanis to each affected family," according to the summaries. However, Afghan refugees in Pakistan continue to face challenges such as lack of shelter, limited access to essential services, and vulnerability to exploitation and discrimination.

Key Takeaways

  • Taliban-Pakistan relations strained by cross-border terrorism, trade restrictions, and deportations.
  • Taliban's return has emboldened Pakistani Taliban, leading to surge in attacks on Pakistani forces.
  • Taliban asserting independence, forging new partnerships with China, Russia, Iran, and India.
  • Pakistan tightening border controls, deporting nearly 300,000 Afghan migrants in recent weeks.
  • Deportations drawing criticism, leaving Afghan refugees in Pakistan facing lack of shelter and services.