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Afghanistan: recruitment of Pakistani youths into Taliban recipe for violence

By Juan Carlos | June 2nd 2021

As the United States and its allies continues with the final phase of drawdown from Afghanistan, concerns have been growing that Pakistan youths could join the Afghan Taliban in large numbers.

After the US and its allies began to withdraw troops on May 1, clashes have surged dramatically in Afghanistan, with terror groups attempting to capture more territory as the September 11 deadline draws near.

Experts now warn that Afghanistan is at risk of sliding back into violence like in the 1990s when thousands of Pakistani militants helped the Taliban rise to power by fighting the Northern Alliance.

Although, the Taliban is banned in Pakistan, videos showing local clerics linked to the group soliciting support have emerged on Pakistani social media platforms.

The clerics are enticing youths into joining the Taliban as state authorities turn a blind eye, said Muhammed Sarfraz Khan, the former director of the Area Study Center of Peshawar University.

The withdrawal of foreign troops will have a severe impact on the northwestern and western provinces of Pakistan, he added.

Other exper have, however, say Pakistanis are unlikely to join Afghan Taliban forces in large numbers as they did during the Soviet War in Afghanistan.

"The situation is much different now because the government is watchful. It will not allow people to cross over into Afghanistan and fight for the Taliban," Political analyst Rahimullah Yusufzai told DW.

"However, in remote areas close to the Afghan border, people might still go to fight and collect donations," he said.

Afghanistan has seen a spike in the incidents of violence in recent weeks, since the start of the US drawdown from Afghanistan. US President Joe Biden last month announced to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by September 11 this year.  

The Afghan security forces are currently fighting the Taliban in over 100 provinces, TOLO news reported.

Ahmad Zia Saraj, the head of the Afghan intelligence agency -- the National Directorate of Security (NDS) said that the Taliban has launched over 3,500 attacks since the start of the year.

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