Pakistani PM to visit Afghanistan in a bid to strengthen troubled ties

Pakistani PM to visit Afghanistan in a bid to strengthen troubled ties

Pakistani PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi arrives in Afghanistan today for the start of talks with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Following

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Photo: ToloNews

Pakistani PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi arrives in Afghanistan today for the start of talks with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Following two major terror attacks in Kabul in February, Afghan anger towards Pakistan remains high; the latter has been accused of aiding the Taliban to provoke wider instability in Afghanistan. However, as US policy towards both countries has changed dramatically, primarily with Washington suspending security aid to Islamabad, the talks no doubt mark an effort to try to forge a new path without the backing of the US.

Accusations that Islamabad’s powerful military and intelligence services have considerable influence over the Taliban make it unlikely that Afghanistan will have much success in pushing for Pakistan to boost security and counter-terrorism operations along their shared border. Any success in this regard will require additional international pressure to be placed on Pakistan’s defence and intelligence establishment.

With the historical relationship between the two countries being fraught with controversy and suspicion, expectations for an immediate shift in the relationship are low. In the near-term, expect both countries to tentatively boost bilateral economic cooperation, particularly in regard to small-scale investments in Afghan infrastructure; however, no major investment initiatives are expected.

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