US, NATO bend back to nurse Pakistan

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, October 9: Pakistan is again being feted by the western world. The US warmly welcomed the Pakistani Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa, and Germany profusely commiserated with Bilawal Bhutto Zardari during his visit to Berlin over the ravaging super floods in the South Asian country.

The world is changing, and equations seem to take forms too quickly. Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan landed in Moscow to call on the Russian President Vladimir Putin on a day when Russia invaded Ukraine. During the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit in Samarkand, Tajikistan, the incumbent Pakistani PM Shebaz Sharif sat across for a bilateral.

Clearly, Russia and China sought to enlist Islamabad in their efforts to weed out all western influences in Afghanistan. The focus of the SCO Summit was also Afghanistan.

Pakistan sits at a geography that looks over the global strategic playground of Afghanistan. That advantage is again being exploited by the military-political rulers of Pakistan, by playing on both the eastern and the western flanks of the world power game.

Former diplomats who have served in key positions agree that the West, including the US and the other NATO members, are warming up to Pakistan again. Germany Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock was effusive in her praise for Pakistan in the presence of young Zardari, while recalling the help of Islamabad in helping the fleeing Afghans after the Taliban took over the rule in Kabul.

The US-led western alliance had literally run away from Kabul after becoming aware that they are caught into a losing game, and Afghanistan is proving to be a black hole for their capital. The domestic constituencies in their countries were left with no romance for the values such as freedom, democracy, human rights in Afghanistan. They just wanted to run away, and they ran quite fast, abandoning all behind to face the bullets and fury of the bearded Taliban.

But the US and its allies were soon jolted to the dire reality that Russia and China were rushing to fill the vacuum in Kabul, and Pakistan could again become a facilitator. That is the new twist in the power game, and India has reasons to be disappointed, for the US has been brazen to send its diplomat to the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and even subscribe to the usages such as ‘Azad Kashmir’, while Washington is seen walking extra miles to sell the spare parts of F16 which was used against India after the Balakote strike.

Pakistan springing to life on the strategic chessboard of the US for Afghanistan has come at a time when the External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has been globe-trotting with his plainspeak and hard talks.

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