WVU expert says traditional enemies in the Middle East may seek to create norms that will limit violence
As harrowing images of the aftermath of the school massacre that occurred this week in Peshawar, Pakistan, by Pakistani Taliban shock the world, Pakistan’s military is reaching out to Afghan and United States government officials, a West Virginia University expert says.
There is debate between Pakistan and Afghanistan about the Taliban’s use of land on both sides of the nations’ shared border, which has created tension between them as well as with U.S. officials.
Scott Crichlow, chair of the WVU Department of Political Science in the John D. Rockefeller IV School of Policy and Politics, specializes in U.S. foreign policy and Middle Eastern politics. He says the general public may have forgotten about the turmoil in the Afghan-Pakistan region, but it is not going away.
“This event is a gruesome reminder that much of that region is dangerous and unstable, and will remain that way for the foreseeable future,” he says.
Despite this, Crichlow believes there are signs that relations are progressing. Yesterday, Pakistan’s army chief, Gen. Raheel Sharif, traveled to Afghanistan to meet with Afghan and U.S. officials to discuss security and ways to combat the Taliban.
“If there’s anything positive to be taken from this tragedy it’s that, at least for a moment, traditional enemies are offering condolences and denouncing the brutality of this assault,” Crichlow says. “While a certain level of violence can be expected to continue in the future, the Pakistan and Afghanistan may seek to create norms that keep the bloodshed within certain boundaries.”
The relationships between all parties are tenuous and complex, as actions by both the Afghanistan and Pakistani Taliban can upend the balance between the two countries before any progress is made. But Crichlow acknowledges that the talks between the neighboring nations are early steps for the region in the fight against a common enemy.
Crichlow is available to offer commentary to the media. He can be reached at Scott.Crichlow@mail.wvu.edu.
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