- GS-2: India and its neighborhood- relations.
- GS-2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests
Rise of Taliban
Context: Pakistan PM Imran Khan has told western media that Pakistan’s leverage on Taliban has diminished after the US announced the date of withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan, resulting in a de-facto victory of Taliban (Pashtun insurgent group).
Should the above statement be taken at face value?
- PM Imran Khan’s virtual disavowing of past links with them is classic doublespeak which the West has been duped for the past two decades
- Every intelligence agency that has operated in the Af-Pak region knows that the Taliban leadership lives under protection of Pakistan’s deep state in cantonments of Quetta and Karachi
- The drug-funded weapon and cadre supply lines to Taliban run through Khyber and Spin Boldak pass on Afghan-Pakistan border.
- Pakistan-based India specific terrorist groups like Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba act as force multipliers for Pakistan’s influence on Taliban as well as provide terror training camps to the Punjabi groups in Afghanistan.
Concerns with Rise of Taliban
- Democracy under danger: Now that the US has begun withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan, the democratic institutions raised in the country in the past two decades will now be in peril as taliba’s objective is to establish emirate based on Sharia laws.
- Moral Boost for other Terror Groups: The return of the insurgent group Taliban in Kabul will be seen as victory of jihad by Islamists and have long standing ramifications on an already unstable world.
- Fault lines within Taliban: With the present Taliban leader being more of a cleric, the contest is between his deputies, which may lead to internal fighting that can spill over in public sphere causing several casualties.
- Not an easy road for Taliban: Neighbours of Kabul like India, Russia, Iran and Central Asia understand the security ramifications of emirate, as it will give rise to Sunni fundamentalism & have wider ramifications in the region. Their collective & individual responses can make false the prediction of imminent sweep of Afghanistan by the Taliban.
- Possibility of Civil War: The past experience of Taliban rule for the Afghan population particularly the women, Tajik, Hazara and other minorities will lead to a serious armed struggle and the country will again slip into civil war.
- Security Concerns for India: The Pakistani deep state will ensure that India will be impacted on the security front by the rise of Taliban at least in UT of Jammu and Kashmir with eastern Afghanistan providing strategic depth to terrorist groups like JeM and LeT.
Rather than putting all eggs in western basket, India will have to take pro-active steps to ensure that the present regime challenges the Taliban insurgents and the Afghan army does not give a walkover to the insurgent group.
Connecting the dots:
- March 2020: Donald Trump’s Doha Agreement