Pakistani and Afghan leaders to meet

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will today meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul. In today’s meeting, Ghani and

PM Imran Khan

Photo: Seth Wenig/ AP

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will today meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul.

In today’s meeting, Ghani and Khan will look to define Afghanistan-Pakistan relations. With a growing power vacuum in Afghanistan brought about by the withdrawal of US troops, Islamabad is now aiming to influence the direction Kabul will take with the Taliban. Although significant progress has been made, the Afghan government and the Taliban have not yet reached a full agreement through intra-Afghan talks.

Currently, it is in Pakistan’s interest that the intra-Afghan talks result in the Taliban gaining significant control over Kabul. Pakistan has long supported the Taliban through the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to rebuff US influence in Afghanistan. Although speculators question the current role the ISI plays in the Taliban’s operations, Islamabad’s connections to the organisation continue to complicate relations.

Expect today’s meeting to yield a heated discussion over Islamabad’s role in determining the future of Kabul. Pakistan will likely look to exert pressure on Afghanistan to comply with Taliban terms to transform Afghanistan into a religious emirate. In the long run, diplomatic relations between the neighbouring Islamic republics are liable to deteriorate if Ghani manages to prevent the Taliban from politically capturing Kabul.

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