Picking up the threads from the Afghan rubble ( GS-II, International Relations)

Picking up the threads from the Afghan rubble ( GS-II, International Relations)

BACKGROUND : All this was started when, in 2001, the US was responding to the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, where nearly 3,000 people were killed. Later on, Officials identified Islamist militant group al-Qaeda, and its leader Osama was found responsible. Laden was in Afghanistan, under the protection of the Taliban, who were in power since 1996. When the Taliban refused to hand him over Osama, the US intervened using its military, pledging to quickly remove the Taliban. Moreover it vowed to support democracy plus eliminating the terrorist threat and the rest is history.

Context- After the coming back of Taliban and taking the control of Afghanistan ,currently of all the countries involved in Afghanistan, India possibly has the best credentials to enable Kabul’s neutrality.

Result of taking over by Taliban-

Several thousands were displaced and forced to flee the country. The overweening threat remained including the presence of many new terrorist outfits, like Daesh, ISIS-K, al Qaeda, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), ETIM-K (a militant group from China’s Xinjiang), and the Fidayeen mahas among others, all of them are the enduring legacies of 20 years of foreign occupation there.

The Taliban have recently announced the setting up of an interim government, headed by Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund as the acting Prime Minister. Presently the Government is a Taliban construct, and Pashtun in character. Pakistan holds some important key cards given the prominent role assigned to its protégés, like Sirajuddin Haqqani and Mohammad Yaqoob, the son of Mullah Omar.

India’s engagement-

India’s efforts regarding the economic development of Afghanistan have been rendered as infructuous, additionally, its reputation has suffered lasting damage. More serious is the issue that India’s relations with the new leadership of Taliban remain strained due to its association with the Northern Alliance, and later with the Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani administrations. 

U.S.A.’s another error-

The decision of the Donald Trump Administration to have talks with the Taliban — and not the government headed by Mr. Ghani — to withdrawal U.S. troops which not only legitimised the Taliban and acknowledged their important role in Afghanistan affairs, the U.S. has committed one error after another.

Role of Pakistan and Qatar-

The Safe havens of the Taliban for the last 2 decades have been in Pakistan and these were well known to the ISI, who nurtured it. Even the U.S. knew that the Taliban’s Shura Council, located in Quetta (Balochistan).

In a bid to outflank Saudi Arabia (and emerge as the new fulcrum of West Asian politics), Qatar is known to play both sides. While being perceived as a U.S. ally,it is offering a shoulder for the Taliban to lean on. 

Different Global players w.r.t. Afghanistan-

  • Russia, is recently seeking to enlarge its influence in Eurasia.

  • China, looks at Afghanistan as a prize both from a geo-economic and geo-political standpoint. 

  • The U.A.E. and Qatar have already shown their hand.

  • Saudi Arabia is curious to involve, to prevent Iran from extending its influence into Afghanistan.

  • Iran is anxious to secure a hold in Afghanistan to ensure its own security.

  • Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, have a troubled relationship with Afghanistan, are not unwilling to maintain peace with a Taliban led Afghanistan.

The path for New Delhi-

India’s concerns regarding Afghanistan- regarding Geo-political positioning, as to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a crucible for pro-terror forces that could impact India’s security. India can take a mediating role among the different nations anxious to involve themselves in Afghanistan, and help maintain Afghanistan’s neutrality making it a buffer zone to prevent further Chinese expansionism towards South Asia.


Faculty of HISTORY(Optional) and G.S.

Plutus IAS Daily Current Affairs 18th September 2021

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