PR Editorials

COAS to Visit Afghanistan

Photo: The Express Tribune

Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Bajwa is visiting Kabul on 01 October 2017. According to a news report, he is expected to discuss border relations including border fencing, and militancy.

While the above issues have assumed a perennial nature in Pak-Afghan relations, the real reason behind Gen Bajwa’s visit seems to be preparing the ground for the next Pak-US discussion. Following Trump’s hard-hitting statement on Pakistan, as a part of his new surge in Afghanistan, he has also welcomed India to play an increasing role. Both the positions of the American President, if pursued seriously by the US would seriously jeopardize Pakistan’s preeminent position in the region, and thereby Islamabad’s international status. A reduced status will undermine Pakistan’s bargaining position vis-à-vis the US.

To restart its discussions with the US, and build a working relationship with the Trump administration, Pakistan will have to start from the ground. In this context – Afghanistan. The visit of Foreign Minister’s to the US recently was a part of this strategy - to find the American pulse on what is expected and what would be acceptable. 

Gen Bajwa is expected to break new grounds in Afghanistan, primarily for the sake of repairing Pak-US relations. A positive joint statement, or an announcement by the Afghan President on Af-Pak relations would help Pakistan at this juncture. Though Pakistan would prefer to claim, this is a part of larger interaction with Afghanistan, the timing and the chronology of events since Trumps’ Afghan speech, Khawaja’s US visit, the NSC meeting in Islamabad would prove otherwise.


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