With the Afghan Taliban ready to step into another month of its leadership in Afghanistan after takeover of Kabul, the regional situation is getting tensed. The West has still not recognised the regime owing to the lack of inclusivity in its interim cabinet announced last month and reports of human rights violations coming from some cities of the war-ravaged country. Videos on social media showing the Taliban fighters brutally beating women protesting for their rights and the recently-held public execution of kidnappers in Herat have sent alarm bells across the globe with the international community now fearing the possible return of the hardline regime of the past. The changing dynamics in South Asia is being seen through the Afghan prism and thus, posing a difficult situation for both Pakistan and China. As mentioned in a recently published column titled ‘Why is it essential for China, Pakistan to enhance coordination against terrorists, safeguard regional stability’ in Global Times, the all-weather strategic partners are vying for international status against their adversaries to appear on the top of the global chessboard. Competing with India who is benefitting with the increased American dependence on it, it is becoming increasingly paramount for Pakistan to enhance its national strength.
As for China, the so-called cold war it is engaged in with the US would only see its win if it is successful in ensuring regional stability in South Asia as it has heavily invested in the region. It is then in Pakistan and China’s interest to force the Taliban regime towards an open and inclusive democratic system to avoid a humanitarian crisis, which as Prime Minister Imran Khan has mentioned earlier would lead towards a civil unrest that could see a resurgence of insurgents owing to a security vacuum. What is even more important for the ‘iron brothers’ is the safety of its billion-dollar projects of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). In August, two attacks on Chinese nationals engaged in various CPEC projects countrywide were executed. It is thus, important for the two allies to not only increase its vigil and ensure regional security but also accelerate the building of the project. After all, non-state actors whose agenda is to sabotage and unwind the gigantic development that Pakistan is witnessing under China. For regional peace, Pakistan and China must engage with Russia and Iran to push the West to avoid the emanating humanitarian crisis in the war-torn country. A stable Afghanistan is of utmost important.