21:28 GMT30 July 2021
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    The Taliban* said it has seized control of 85 percent of Afghanistan, a claim dismissed by the government. Taliban fighters, emboldened by the NATO and US pullout, have been advancing in new areas, and analysts fear the security situation may worsen as the present government in Kabul lacks the security apparatus to counter insurgents.

    Former Pakistani Interior Minister Abdul Rehman Malik has urged global powers to act immediately to prevent the "Afghan political bomb" from bursting, since it will have serious implications for the entire South Asia region. Malik, ex-chief of the nation's federal investigative agency, also accused the West of selecting South Asia as a target to "sort out its opponents and other world powers existing in the Asian region".

    "If the Afghan political bomb bursts, there will be splinters launched towards neighbouring countries and that will create a financial burden and border implications in the form of violence and forced attempts to cross the border, like in the early 80s to Pakistan, Iran, and Tajikistan. The bomb may affect the whole of South Asia which is already set on the volcano in terms of the China-US Cold War", Malik opined.

    Malik underscored that the American withdrawal without a strategy of peace is bound to bring about bloodshed in Afghanistan and push it to the brink of another civil war.

    Meanwhile, Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan has made a telephone call to former Afghan President Hamid Karzai inviting him and other Afghan leaders to an international conference to restore peace in the war-torn nation.

    Sources told Sputnik that a three-day conference will be held from 17 July, in which around 30 prominent Afghan leaders, including former President Hamid Karzai, former Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal, ethnic Hazara community leader Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq, former warlord-turned-politician Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, among others, may visit Islamabad.

    The intra-Afghanistan peace talk initiative by Khan came on the day when the Taliban purportedly took control of the crucial border crossing between Spin-Boldak and Chaman in Kandahar Province. Local media reported that hundreds of people, including women and children have been stranded in the border crossing known as the Friendship Gate as both sides decided to close the gate on Wednesday.

    Pakistan's Army has put thousands of troops deployed along the border with Afghanistan on high alert and immediately sent additional troops to the frontier region in an effort to avert untoward incidents, the Dawn reported on Thursday.

    Afghanistan Seeks Support from SCO

    Amid a rise in violence, Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar urged Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) members to provide assistance to ensure lasting peace and stability in the country.

    While highlighting the Taliban's violation of the Doha agreement, Atmar urged SCO member states to jointly fight the threat posed by terrorist groups.

    The Taliban has been making advances and clashing with Afghan forces across the country since the American-led NATO forces began their withdrawal on 1 May.

    *The Taliban is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.

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    Tags:
    Afghanistan War, Taliban, Pakistan, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Imran Khan, NATO
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