Fierce gunfight reported between Pakistan forces and Afghan Taliban border guards at the Kunar-Bajaur border

This comes after Tehran struck militant bases in Baluchistan and Pakistan’s retaliatory strikes inside Iran. No casualties reported in border clashes between Pakistan and Afghan Taliban but firing was on at the time of filing of this report.

Pakistan supported the Afghan Taliban to gain influence in South Asia and a better negotiating position with the Pakistani Taliban. Now, the strategy has backfired, and Pakistan has not only lost its influence in Afghanistan but risks losing control over its own territories as well.

The Taliban administration's Defence Minister Maulvi Muhammad Yaqub Mujahid had said last year that the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, called the Durand Line, is merely a 'line'.

The grand scheme of Pakistani despot General Zia-ul-Haq, architect of Pakistan’s insurgent strategy, that Pakistan achieve geopolitical dominance in South Asia by facilitating domestic and international jihadist groups never seemed more in focus, writes Bilal Rahmani.

Now using its newfound ally’s resources, Pakistan could set its security problems to rest. The Taliban had adept combat capabilities and resilient pipeline of fighters from madrasas. They also carried the credibility based on their status as a Pashtun and Islamic group.

Pakistan placed its hopes in the ability of the Afghan Taliban to broker peace between Pakistan and the Tehreek-e-Taliban-e-Pakistan (TTP), or Pakistani Taliban. The Taliban could further assist in fighting Islamic State — Khorasan Province and militant groups in Baluchistan and, ultimately, continue its “Global Jihad” in Jammu and Kashmir.

Yet, the dream has been cut short by a rude awakening.

The Taliban haven’t been Pakistan’s geopolitical silver bullet; they may become one of its greatest existential challenges. Not only does Taliban-controlled Afghanistan pose new challenges to Pakistan’s security establishment, but it directly challenges Pakistan’s territorial integrity by igniting clashes at its border, inspiring insurgency in border provinces and sheltering new security vacuums Pakistan must fill or combat.

Further, the drumbeat of attacks by Baloch militant groups like the Baloch Liberation Army, the Baluchistan Liberation Front and the Baloch Nationalist Army has only increased. These groups have also become emboldened by the Taliban’s advances and now conduct gruesome attacks specifically targeting Chinese nationals, like in the Karachi University bombing, and broader regional critical infrastructure.

Pakistan’s territorial integrity is facing its first true challenge: The Taliban are increasing their influence and violence at an alarming rate, and insurgents are inching ever closer to nuclear capabilities, all as we peer from over the horizon.