MS Risk Blog

What the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan means to neighbouring countries in the region

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The takeover of the Taliban in Afghanistan has shaken and caused security concerns all over the world, yet it’s already impacting its neighbouring countries in the region. The Pakistan government has expressed positive views over the news and this is arguably not surprising considering the two countries past relationship with regards to the Taliban. In addition, China has expressed its concerns with regards to fears of the Taliban and extremism trickling into its own country and causing a rise in terrorism in its own nation. This analysis will further delve into these ongoing security risks.

Afghanistan and Pakistan have had a unique and complex relationship in the past. The two countries share a 2,500 km border, which has now recently become 90% fenced off. Arguably, due to security reasons from the growth of the Taliban. Pakistan up until now has been playing a two faced game. The country has been trying to maintain good relationships with both Washington and the also the Taliban, yet the countries risky game might be over as it was never going to be sustainable long term. Pakistans Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and military have long shared similar ideology and religious views as the Afghanistan’s as opposed to its rival India. Additionally, the ISI is long believed to have helped the Taliban and provide refuge to the fighters. In fact, many Afghans are blaming Pakistan for the rise in the Taliban, due to the country providing refuge to the terrorists and fighters. Arguably, this is the case as in the recent events of the Taliban taking control of Afghanistan, the Pakistani government and Prime Minister, Imran Khan has said that the Taliban had broken the chains of mental slavery in Afghanistan. The leader of a key religious political party said the Taliban has freed their country from superpowers”. The praise from the Pakistani government to the Taliban demonstrates Khans loyalty.

The Taliban led to the inspiration for the Tehrik-i-Talbian Pakistan (TTP), which has already seen an increase in supporters. In fact, the country has already seen a slight increase in terrorist and violent acts. This week 12 people were killed and many others injured as a grenade went off on a truck carrying women and children in Karachi. Arguably, the control of Afghanistan by the Taliban will only embolden and empower the TTP and other extremists to emerge and grow in Pakistan and other neighbouring countries. Additionally, with the support from the countries Prime Minister extremism will only continue to grow. Pakistans security needs to increase as Afghan refugees will continue to spur into the country along its long border. This will only cause further strain on the countries economy and politics on a already shaky government. Pakistans government needs to try and continue maintain peaceful relations with both the Taliban and Washington in order for no more violence and terror to occur. At the same time, the government needs to up its security and show a more strong united front, in order for TTP to not continue to grow and feel empowered by the growth of the Taliban in its neighbouring country.

Beijing has also expressed its concerns with the rise of the Taliban. The communist government has announced in a press conference that it wants remain peaceful and continue its good relationship between the two nations. However, the country should arguably be wary and stay alert for the trickle or rise of the Taliban into the West of China. This region, whilst being the closest geographically to Afghanistan, also contains the vast majority of Muslims in the country. Additionally, the majority of which are known to be persecuted by the Chinese and thus could be more impressionable to turn to extremism and fundamentalism. In order for this not to occur, China needs to increase its security on its borders and stop its persecution of Muslims in its country, allowing for all people to feel safe and secure in their nation.

Overall, Pakistan needs to increase its security and strengthen its government so that the Taliban’s influence will not continue to grow in Pakistan. However, arguably this wont occur as the Prime Minister has positive relations with the Taliban, due to its past history in refuging and hiding terrorists and extremists in its country. The praise from Khan this week to the Taliban demonstrates this. On the other hand, China is concerned with the rise of the rise of the fighters, due to it causing a potential influence in its own country with the Muslim population. China will now strengthen its border controls to the West to try and reduce the chances of Taliban entering the country.