Establishing a good relationship with Pakistan is critical to President Ghani’s mission. The Taliban want to fight, not talk, so it is best that the governments start talking. The Taliban in Afghanistan control large swathes of Afghan territory and have sanctuaries in Pakistan along the Afghan border. It is true that Pakistan has in the pass has protected the Taliban, and kept them as leverage, to forestall India. Any efforts by the Afghan government and the US to break up the Afghan Taliban/Pakistan détente will fail, until the question of India is resolved for Pakistan. Either Afghanistan and the US do not realise this, or they do not want to acknowledge this. Else, would the US not have tried to get Pakistan and India at a table to sort out their decades old squabbles? Indian and Afghan support for the insurgency and separatist movements in Balochistan has further dampened any resolve that Pakistan might have to reign in the Taliban terror (if at all Pakistan could do this). But Pakistan will use the Taliban to hurt India. Dear Afghanistan, it’s not personal. In the international system it’s every state for itself. Pakistan’s refusal to help Afghanistan’s broken economy by the establishment of a trade corridor between Central Asia and India is also a direct result of its unresolved resentment towards India. India is only making the situation worse, and this is not only to our detriment but also damages Afghanistan’s economic future. India refuses to move forward on conflict resolution with Pakistan, even on small issues, what to take of the issue of Kashmir.

But we are not safe either. Our dance of death with the Taliban has caused us much more damage than it will ever do to India, and we are in the grip of a host of Taliban splinters that the army since August has not been able to get rid of. One of the strategies towards a peaceful region was to move towards better Pakistan-India relations, as a prelude to better relations with Afghanistan. But Modi’s government has destroyed any such hopes, with heat at the Line of Control. India’s moves to romance Afghanistan will further rub Pakistan the wrong way. So Ghani can come if he likes, and take a few photos with his Pakistani counterpart, but will there be any real talk on these issues? Will Pakistan really want to help Afghanistan with security matters, when Afghanistan has offered up its economy to India?