NEW DELHI: The Pashtun ethnic faultline running through Pakistan has acquired a dangerous new dimension. Islamabad’s relations with the Taliban, a Pashtun force entrenched in Kabul since last year, has worsened with gun battles reported on their border. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan continues to attack the Pak army, exacting a grim toll and the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement agitating peacefully for human rights is gaining support.
In this conversation on The Gist, Tilak Devasher, member of the National Security Advisory Board, warns that it is only Pashtun disunity that has enabled Pakistan to exploit them in all these years. In his book The Pashtuns: A Contested History, he traces the roots of Islamabad’s Pashtun policy and how it used Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan to indoctrinate them with radical Islam.
But with the Taliban now in power in Kabul, Islamabad is facing a foe that has long memories of the many injuries it has inflicted. The Taliban is backing the TTP’s violent campaign in Pakistan while also refusing to accept the fence along the Durand Line.
Tune in for more in this conversation with Tilak Devasher.