Imran Khan and Donald Trump are sometimes satirically likened for their identical personal and political traits about roasting their opponents by their flashy but engrossing public oratories. But it is true that the two unpredictable leaders have literally disrupted the orthodox politics in their respective countries. They also share similar thoughts on sidestepping their militaries to engage in overseas conflicts.

The two compatible characters fascinate each other so the two idiosyncratic talents could be able to fabricate a close rapprochement after they met in a summit-level showdown in White House on Monday. Given their unique nature, either of the two is abundant in inventive diplomatic gadgets that could help them to take bold steps in order to repair and ratchet up bilateral relations between Pakistan and the United States.

Khan could be Trump’s recipe to win the 2020 US presidential elections. This is because the pullback of the US troops from Afghanistan was one of Trump’s key promises with the Americans. Khan, at the same time, has been trying to persuade the world not to treat Afghan Taliban as social ‘pariahs’ while championing for peace negotiations with them – an initiative the US finally picked to ease down conflicts in Afghanistan. That is why Afghanistan unequivocally topped the agenda in the Khan-Trump breakthrough meeting.

The unpremeditated and grilling leaders repulsed the past Twitter stand-off in which Trump castigated Islamabad over Osama bin Laden despite ‘billions of dollars in aid’ and Khan lashed back at Trump’s ‘tirade against Pakistan’ that sought to make Pakistan a ‘scapegoat’ for the US ‘failures’ in Afghanistan. In its place, the ‘media predators’ showed a cohesive front and complimented each other in their televised talks.

While Khan and Trump would be easing down tensions politically, the Afghan solution would actually be framed out in the Pentagon where the military and intelligence leadership of Pakistan and the US would engage in extensive discussions on a potential peace agreement with the Taliban. These would be in fact the talks that would outline the future roadmap for a stable and peaceful Afghanistan.

The intense military talks would result in yet another close cooperation between American Central Investigation Agency (CIA) and Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to once again jointly work on Afghanistan. The prior intelligence cooperation between the two powerful covert organisations dates back to more than 30 years ago when they profoundly liaised to push back the former Soviet Union from Afghanistan. It was the effective CIA-ISI intelligence teamwork that helped the US to fix its Sputnik-era foe once and for all and Pakistan to protect its national sovereignty from rotten Russian security threats.

In an interview with Fox News earlier this month, Trump avowed if the US troops were to leave entirely “I would leave very strong intelligence there.” (Afghanistan). His annotations explicitly hint at the convergence of CIA and ISI afresh. The intelligence cooperation is also on the cards as Trump’s nominee for Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley recently asserted “Pakistan is a key partner in achieving US interests in South Asia” and that “we need to maintain a military-to-military ties based on our shared interests.”

The relations between the two spy agencies soured in 2011 after Islamabad outwardly refused to expand its military operations to North Waziristan and the affairs went in a trough following US killing of bin Laden in Pakistan. However lately, the bilateral connections are set to reestablish as the Trump administration and the Pentagon are quite relieved with Pakistan’s ‘positive contributions’ for Afghan peace process.

But due to extended snap-off in the Pak-US relations and suspension of US security assistance, Islamabad has winged towards Beijing and Moscow to meet its economic and security needs. For Washington and the Department of Defense (DOD), perhaps it won’t be a doable task to regain its cold war ally especially over US erstwhile pigheaded and distant behaviour of abandoning Pakistan after achieving its regional objectives. If China and other allies were not there to rescue Pakistan defence, the damage to Pakistan’s national sovereignty could have been irreversible.

Then there is the demographic time bomb – Kashmir – that has several times pushed India and Pakistan on the brink of a nuclear war. Trump asserted to have obtained Modi’s request for mediation over Kashmir dispute but Indian external affairs spokesperson was terribly quick to decline his claim. “No such request has been made by PM (Narendra Modi) to US President,” he said in a tweet. Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi trashed the foreign ministry edict and urged Modi to surface the truth.

Kashmir is the regional flashpoint that has consistently battered the Indo-Pak relations since their independence from the British Empire. Pakistan stresses to resolve Kashmir conflict through international mediation or arbitration and in accordance with UN resolution on Kashmir, a call that India denies. If the US could help the longstanding row, it would surely allow Pakistan to better focus on peace in Afghanistan, the nub of US national security interests abroad.

Peace in Afghanistan goes in Pakistan’s national interest so it is ardent to support and facilitate US-Taliban talks and the intra-Afghan dialogue. But the US and the international community must also recognise Islamabad’s contributions in the global war on terror that has cost it over 70,000 human casualties and more than $150 billion in economic losses.