On March 17, 2022, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) voted to establish formal ties with the relevant authorities of Afghanistan, without extending to the ruling Taliban regime any diplomatic recognition. Out of 15, 14 members voted for the UNSC Resolution 2626 (2022), while Russia abstained from voting. In its wake, Pakistan’s UN envoy Munir Akram said that Pakistan might recognise the Taliban regime after seeking a regional consensus. Since August 15, 2021, when the Taliban took over the control of Kabul, Pakistan has been demanding flexibility in dealing with the Taliban-run Kabul regime, though Pakistan has not yet recognised the regime as the legitimate sovereign of Kabul. Pakistan separates the regional view from the international view. That is, Pakistan thinks that regional dimensions of any unresolved issue impacting the internal dynamics of Afghanistan would be devastating for Afghanistan’s neighbours, whether or not the Taliban regime addresses the international concerns first. The country foremost in seeing eye to eye with Pakistan is China. Next month, China will be hosting a meeting of Afghanistan’s immediate neighbours such as Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, while. Russia and the Taliban regime have also been invited to attend the occasion. China is concerned about Afghanistan’s economic instability, which may override political stability. Before a catastrophe hits Afghanistan, China wants to build a regional consensus to save the Kabul regime from political suffocation. Before the resolution, Pakistan had two concerns. First, Pakistan wanted that the de facto status of the Taliban regime could be acknowledged by the UNSC before the body could recognise the legitimacy of the regime fully. This could not happen. The world is wary of bequeathing any de facto status to the Taliban regime. Second, Pakistan wanted that Afghanistan’s financial aid could be restored. Nevertheless, the resolution reaffirmed the donor’s commitment to providing Afghanistan with unconditional humanitarian assistance. Pakistan is making efforts to get the regional countries involved to reach a consensus to get the Taliban regime recognised. The resolution obliquely classifies two main challenges posed to the international community. First, the Taliban regime is not representative of the Afghans. That is, the regime is a force, not a mass movement that has taken over the reins of Afghanistan. If the control is legitimised, it would be difficult to reject any case in which a militant group repeats the same in some other country and demands recognition. Second, the Taliban regime is not following the terms of the Doha agreement that took place between the United States (US) and the Taliban on February 29, 2020. That is, the Taliban regime has not yet established an inclusive and representative government; the regime has not yet ensured full, equal and meaningful participation of women in public life; and the regime has not yet upheld human rights, including rights for women, children and minorities. In September 2021, the UNSC had extended the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) for six months. To assist the Afghans, the UNAMA is a UN Special political mission that was established on March 28, 2002, by UNSC Resolution 1401. Now, the current resolution has given the UNAMA a one-year mandate to ensure human rights, offer humanitarian assistance and promote political inclusivity in Afghanistan. In a way, the resolution has given an extensive mandate to the UN mission in Afghanistan. The immediate challenge to the UNAMA is to save Afghanistan from economic meltdown, especially when the US has frozen the assets of the Afghan central bank amounting to the US $ 9.5 billion, besides imposing sanctions on the Taliban. Though under international hue and cry, some funds have been channelised to the Afghan people by bypassing the Taliban regime, much more is needed. In this regard, China has been playing its role. China’s UN mission has been asking American officials to release all the withheld funds from Afghanistan, instead of the half suggested by US President Joe Biden announced in February this year. Whereas the UNSC is struggling to deal with Afghanistan, Pakistan has been insisting to recognise the Taliban regime as a way to deal with the crisis in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s effort to get the Taliban regime recognised is fraught with three risks. First, the Taliban are not the representative movement and hence lack legitimacy to run their country. In the post-9/11 era, Afghanistan has experienced constitutional democracy from 2004 to 2019 at least. On October 9, 2004, Hamid Karzai won the first Presidential elections, whereas, on September 28, 2019, Ashraf Ghani won the Presidential elections for his second term. Pakistan has not been making efforts to convince the ruling Taliban regime to hold elections and run the country democratically. Second, on the one hand, Pakistan yearns for democracy within its own borders, whereas on the other hand, Pakistan longs for an undemocratic non-representative government run by the Taliban in Kabul. Pakistan has to drop its double standards. Third, in the post-Cold War era, on May 25, 1997, Pakistan officially recognised the Taliban government in Afghanistan. The following day, Saudi Arabia, and after a few days, the United Arab Emirates did the same. Pakistan’s pro-Taliban stance got reinforced. However, after the horrible incident of 9/11, only Pakistan had to bear the brunt of its choice. The reason was that Pakistan was considered to be the main supporter of the then Taliban regime. Pakistan was dragged into the war on terror, which made Pakistan suffer materially and monetarily. Pakistan probably thinks that it was singled out because the rest of the two countries were not regional and because no regional countries had endorsed its decision. Perhaps, this is why this time Pakistan is making efforts to get the regional countries involved to reach a consensus to get the Taliban regime recognised. Certainly, learning from the past, Pakistan has recalibrated its strategy. At this juncture, Pakistan ignores the fact that Pakistan remained the main proponent of the push of the then Taliban force to get its hold on Kabul in 1996, and then Pakistan spearheaded the legitimacy drive for the Kabul regime in 1997. After occupying Kabul, the then Taliban regime stopped listening to Pakistan. The same may happen again. The writer is an analyst on national security and counter-terrorism. She tweets @TA_Ranjha.