US exit from Afghanistan may help Pakistan delist itself from FATF greylist

According to estimates by the Pakistani govt, the FATF grey-listing has caused damages to the tune of USD 10 billion annually to the country. 

US exit from Afghanistan may help Pakistan delist itself from FATF greylist

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is hopeful that its role in clinching the US-Taliban deal will help it get the US support for delisting itself from the anti-terror watchdog Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) grey list.  America has been insisting on verifiable action by Pakistan against key terror operatives under the Pak Anti-Money Laundering regime as a pre-condition for FATF delisting. 

These include the key conspirators of the Mumbai attack and also action against Masood Azhar of JeM and Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi of LeT. While Pakistan has proceeded against Lakhvi on charges not connected to the Mumbai attack, it has said that it is not aware of Masood Azhar’s whereabouts.

It has been 3 years since Islamabad has been on the anti-terror financing body's grey list. Being on the grey list is a signal that money in the country is being used for financing terrorism. This impacts foreign investment flow in the country impacting the economy.

China is fully backing Pakistan in the FATF grey listing matter. As China plays a key role in the Asia Pacific Group (APG), it has an important role.

”There has been anger within the US Strategic community over the perceived role of Pakistan in the ignominious exit of the US which will impact FATF proceedings.” said a source aware of these developments.

Pakistan leadership, especially its NSA Moeed Yusuf sensing increasing disquiet among US policymakers over Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan, has been reaching out to his US contacts and making right noises. 

The recent bomb attack on Kabul airport, claimed by ISKP, is being used as an opportunity by Moeed Yusuf to project that Pakistan along with Taliban is an indispensable partner for the US to tackle the emerging ISKP threat.

As most of the officials in the Joe Biden Administration are from the Obama era, they are well aware that in Afghanistan despite heavy deployment of US troops during the ‘surge’, Taliban could not be defeated due to its sanctuaries inside Pakistan. The extensive use of drone strikes to successfully eliminate Taliban leadership within Pakistan was the result of this realisation.

However, Pakistan's plans have not gone as expected. Taliban's move into capital Kabul on August 15 much before the agreed date resulted in the US losing completely on the optics and has put Biden on back foot both within the US and outside.

The decision to release Daniel Pearl's killers is seen as an action pushed by Pakistan's deep state and has created doubts about Pakistan’s sincerity to act against the terror infrastructure among US policymakers

“Pakistan has to show some progress, even cosmetic, before the forthcoming face-to-face meeting in September. This is necessary so that enough momentum is built in favour of Pakistan in the run-up to the FATF plenary in October.” said the source.

According to estimates by the Pakistani govt, the FATF grey-listing has caused damages to the tune of USD 10 billion annually to the country.  The country.  hosts one of the largest numbers of UN Listed international terrorists. Being on the UN terror list means Assets Freeze, Travel Ban and Arms Embargo.

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