Pakistan and US Relations after the NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan By Zahid Anwar

Prof Dr Hu Xiaowen, the Director and Prof Dr Lei Liu, The Deputy Director of the Institute of International and Regional Studies, Yunnan University Kunming, China have invited Prof Dr Zahid Anwar, Pro Vice-Chancellor ®, University of Peshawar and Chairman PEDF (Peace, Education and Development Foundation) to deliver a lecture to the research scholars of the institute on, “Pakistan and US Relations after the NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan” on 6th December 2023. Professor Zahid Anwar has taught International Relations for 35 years to graduate and postgraduate students and has delivered more than 100 International conference papers. He remained the editor of “Central Asia” and “The Journal of Pakistan and China Studies” and currently he is the chief editor of the journal of higher education and development.

Prof Dr Zahid Anwar thanked the prestigious Institute for the invitation and said that International relations are the interactions among sovereign states. The scientific study of those interactions is also referred to as international studies, international politics, or international affairs. Foreign policy is the general objectives that guide the activities and relationships of one state in its interactions with other states.

He explained that there are some factors that by and large, shape the foreign policy of a country. For instance, geographical location, population, history, economic resources, ideology, the efficiency of government and nature of political leadership, quality of diplomacy, crisis and Immediate events, technological advancements, the global environment, great power structure, alliances, international organizations, world public opinion, other states’ reactions, International Law and Institutions.

Pakistan and US relations have passed through several ups and downs since the US recognition of Pakistan on 15th August 1947.  He said that it is a long story but let us focus on the developments in the aftermath of the Doha Accord. In Doha, the capital of Qatar, the USA signed a deal with the Taliban on 29th February 2020 to bring to an end the war (2001-2021) in Afghanistan. In the wake of the Doha Accord, the US and the NATO troops left Afghanistan and the Taliban again got power in Afghanistan and became the De-Facto rulers of Afghanistan.

This new development considerably changed the dynamics of Pakistan and US Relations.  Despite the NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan, Pakistan is still important for Us because It has the 10th largest Armed forces in the world, it is the 7th Nuclear Power in the world, especially the only one in the Muslim World. It is located at the crossroads of South Asia, Central Asia, West Asia and East Asia. Pakistan shares borders with China and this is important keeping in view China`s BRI and the US and her allies` B3W, EUCS, PQI, BDN, IMEEEC, AUKUS and other such initiatives. Pakistan shares borders with India. Pakistan shares borders with Iran and the US relations with Iran are not friendly since 1979. Pakistan also has a long border with Afghanistan and the US has recently fought the longest war in its history against global terrorism in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has the fastest-growing population, its 64 % population is comprised of youth The 50% population of Pakistan is under 22 years of age. India under the BJP Government is pursuing fundamentalist, extremist and hegemonic policies, which may give rise to radicalism in Pakistan, this is also an area of attention for the US. Abandoning and bringing to an end its cooperation with Pakistan will deprive the US of its intelligence capabilities.  Pakistan’s armed forces are playing an active role in UN peacekeeping and peace-building operations. It is said that there are more than 5 lacs Pakistani diaspora in the US and there are more than fifty thousand Americans in Pakistan. The two countries have strong economic relations

Pakistan is an important member of the OIC with a significant niche among the Muslim World.  Pakistan has an excellent strategic partnership with China. Afghanistan will remain a key issue in Pakistan`s security paradigm. Pakistan wants good relations with all regional countries. The world has become multipolar and the recent developments in Ukraine and Ghaza highlight that even great powers require the support of developing countries. The bilateral relationship between Pakistan and the US is very complex and has experienced periods of cooperation and tension.

US policy towards Pakistan has been multifaceted with important military, economic and diplomatic dimensions. US Policy towards Pakistan often reflects a balance between pursuing common interests and addressing areas of divergence. Pakistan`s Policy towards the US is characterized by a mix of strategic partnership and occasional challenges. Dialogue, diplomacy and addressing shared concerns are essential elements in shaping Pakistan`s policy towards the US. The US will maintain diplomatic relations with Pakistan for regional stability and counterterrorism. It will be the US’s key concern that Afghanistan does not become a haven of terrorism. The US may also seek cooperation from Pakistan to cope with regional challenges, fostering economic ties and promoting stability in South Asia. While concluding his presentation Prof Zahid Anwar said that the US will continue diplomatic engagement and collaboration on shared interests with Pakistan in the aftermath of its withdrawal from Afghanistan. The presentation was followed by a lengthy question-answer session. In the end Prof Liu lei thanked Prof Zahid Anwar for his informative lecture to the students.

By Prof. Dr. Zahid Anwar


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