The author is a research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Singapore.
Factional rift and competing interests to move up the power ladder are among the key factors pushing the former insurgent group to the brink of implosion.
Islamabad is hoping to rebuild bilateral relations around trade and the economy. But for Washington, Pakistan might remain just a cog in the wheel in its efforts to counter Beijing in South Asia and beyond.
Far from being a strategic win for Pakistan, the Taliban’s comeback has created security, political and economic challenges for Islamabad.
A culture of conspiracy theories have always existed within extremist groups of all hues and stripes, but it exploded during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The more the US asked Pakistan to do, the further Pakistan moved from addressing the root causes of terrorism - and convincing its public that it was worth doing.
The existing terrorist threat is likely to evolve in a far different way from the one witnessed after the 9/11 attacks.
The Taliban doesn't have the capacity or capabilities to retain the territories it captures. However, Afghanistan could be headed towards a military impasse that will either force the parties to find a political solution or drag it to a civil war.
Only a negotiated extension of the withdrawal timeframe with the Taliban and an expedited peace process inclusive of regional countries can help the US achieve a settlement.
Any settlement the Taliban achieves in Afghanistan will have a ripple effect on 'jihadist' groups everywhere.
As the Taliban regains influence in Afghanistan it will look to shake its tag as a proxy force.
The group has modified its aims to try and pose a new challenge to the Pakistani state which has so far succeeded in pushing it underground.
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