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Turmoil in Afghanistan and India’s Calibrated Steps

Cdr Sandeep Dhawan (Retd)
Tue, 31 Aug 2021   |  Reading Time: 8 minutes

As the dust settles on the erstwhile Kingdom of Gandhara, the attention shifts from the ongoing evacuation and the so-called American blunder, to ‘what next?’. Distant nations in the European Union and the Middle East are on guard as it falls in their circle of concern. However, India, Russia, Iran, China, and Pakistan know that it falls in their circle of influence. It is easy to delve into the past or talk about the present, but crystal gazing into the future is very tough, especially when one is dealing with an entity as unstable as the Taliban.

While the other nations’ strategists must be drawing up their roadmap for Afghanistan, what are India’s options, and what should be India’s objectives in the region?

To frame the future objectives, one must first examine the past and present objectives and see how relevant they are in today’s context. India has been heavily involved in Afghanistan’s nation-building and humanitarian assistance. India has invested over US $3 billion in more than 400 infrastructure projects in the past 20 years. Some of the important Indian undertakings are:

  • Afghan Parliament building: US $ 90 million
  • India-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement
    • Trade
    • Economic Assistance
    • Scientific Assistance
    • Technological Cooperation
    • Duty-free access to the Indian market
  • 218 km Zaranj-Delaram highway
  • Salma Dam
  • Power projects and power transmission lines
  • Indira Gandhi Institute, the largest pediatric hospital in Afghanistan
  • Healthcare centers in Badakhshan, Balkh, Kandahar, Khost, Kunar, Nangarhar, Nimruz, Nooristan, Paktia, and Paktika
  • 1000 civilian and military vehicles
  • Proposed membership of International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC)

From the foregoing, it is amply evident that India has lived up to its ancient connection with Afghanistan and provided the best possible assistance to the ravaged Bactrian province. Therefore, India should aim for the following objectives in Afghanistan:

  • Not to recognize the Taliban regime but keep the communication going
  • Connect with Northern Alliance and other stakeholders
  • Dialogue with Russia and Iran
  • Monitor Chinese, Pakistani, Terrorism and ISI’s drug money
  • Continue with infrastructure projects
  • Assist in healthcare projects
  • Prepare for an onslaught of propaganda warfare from China, Pakistan, and the Taliban
  • Activate Gissar and Farkhor bases in Tajikistan

The Taliban Regime

A lot of analysts expect India to recognize the new regime sooner than later. Their observation is that the Taliban has changed and the Taliban 2.0 is a different kind of regime. Funny thing is that the Taliban has not given any such undertaking or statement.

Geopolitics is a double-edged sword that demands a fine balance between principles and reality. The Taliban will form a government, that is a reality. The Taliban will not compromise on their principles, that is a foregone conclusion. India will have to walk that middle path, without recognizing the Taliban, and still being relevant.

Not recognizing the Taliban regime in a rush has its benefits. Psychologists call it ‘avoidant personality disorder’ or sometimes ‘dysphoria’. Now I do not say that the Taliban suffer from any of this but fear of rejection exists in every individual or the organization, so not rejecting them gives hope and not recognizing would keep them in check.

The Lion of Panjshir

India must explore other stakeholders in Afghanistan and utilize its experience in the region. The very first organization which comes to mind is the Northern Alliance. The first contact with Ahmad Shah Massoud, the Commander of Northern Alliance, was established in 1996 through the Indian ambassador in Tajikistan. He was fighting the Taliban directly and Pakistan indirectly. Therefore, it made sense to assist him. India supplied uniforms, ordnance, mortars, small armaments, refurbished Kalashnikovs, combat and winter clothes, packaged food, medicines, funds through his brother in London, and two Mi-8 helicopters.

Ahmad Shah Massoud was assassinated in 2001. Today his son Ahmad Massoud is giving resistance to the yet to be formed Taliban regime. Former Vice President of Afghanistan Amrullah Saleh is another influential person who is well known to India. He is currently waging the war against the Taliban from the Panjshir Valley. They are known players and India must engage with them on regular basis.

India needs to rethink its relationship with the ousted President Ashraf Ghani, and former President Hamid Karzai. They have played a huge part in the collapse of Afghanistan, and have lost all the credibility among the Afghan citizens. India may continue engaging former Chief Executive Officer of Afghanistan Abdullah Abdullah.

Russia and Iran

Russia and Iran are two very important players in the region. Despite the fact that Russia shares no common border with Afghanistan, it is very sensitive to two issues. Firstly, it fears that the Taliban would assist Chechen rebels in Russia, and secondly, it abhors the idea of any third party destabilizing their hold over the Central Asian Region (CAR). Russia is already upset with the presence of Chinese paramilitary forces in Tajikistan, north of the Afghan Wakhan Corridor, bordering Baza’i Gonbad.

The second point is in India’s favour. India should prevail upon Russia and explain how China and Pakistan may diminish the Russian role in CAR. It seems some work in that direction is already underway. The Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoud Qureshi, who had gone to Tajikistan looking for support for the Taliban was snubbed and returned empty-handed.

Iran shares similar fears what Russia has. They fear for the Shia minority in Afghanistan. Even though the Taliban has assured them of cooperation, they fear that the Taliban regime would go soft on the rise of ISIS and anti-Iran activities from Afghan soil. India must ensure all assistance to Iran and in return demand cooperation in the region. The recent flurry of visits to Iran by the Indian Foreign Minister Dr S Jaishankar are the indicators that India is heading in the right direction.

China and Pakistan

It is a known fact that the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan is wholeheartedly behind the rise of the Taliban. It is fully cooperating and coordinating with China, while backstabbing the Americans. The meeting between the Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar with the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in July followed the unprecedented rise of the Taliban, confirming the conspiracy theory.

The unfortunate Kabul airport bombing on 26 August 2021 has brought a paradigm shift in the very fast-changing narrative. A full assessment of the incident would make it clear, if Pakistan and China were assisting forces inimical to the ongoing evacuation effort. It is amply clear that the bombing was to undermine the evacuation efforts and humiliate the United States and the western nations involved in the effort.

Under the thumb of Pakistan and China, how much soever the Taliban undermine India, the fact remains that India has a good standing among Afghan citizens. Despite recent threats and incidents, India must continue its infrastructure and healthcare projects. India’s twenty years of effort should not be undone just because conditions are not conducive as of today. India may go slow for the time being but should not pull out completely.

The Coming Propaganda War

All the countries invested in Afghanistan have to brace for an onslaught of a propaganda war not only from the Taliban, but from China and Pakistan too. The Taliban has been working on its social media image as well as disinformation tactics for over a decade. The Taliban 2.0 is certainly a changed entity, but only in its approach to engaging with the world. They have shed their medieval image and shows a willingness to use modern technology. In all probability, Pakistan’s ISI and Chinese agencies were mentoring them all this while.

The Taliban picked up many lessons from their arch-rival Islamic State’s highly effective propaganda techniques in Syria. They launched Telegram and WhatsApp channels. They studied the US-led coalition forces’ methods of tracking and killing ISIS fighters whose overuse of social media would give away their locations.

They understood the power of social media when they learned that around 40 percent of Afghans have access to the Internet and over 90 percent have a mobile device. The Taliban realized that if they have to rule Afghanistan in the years to come, they have to work on their image and prepare for a disinformation campaign. Soon after the 2019 anti-Muslim terror attack in New Zealand, while all the terrorist groups were demanding revenge, the Taliban called for an investigation and not jihad, boosting their image.

During the recent bloodless takeover of Kabul, they once again bombarded social media with propaganda videos. They were showcasing victories in places where the fight was still going on. Social media was also abuzz with the dreaded Badri 313 special forces units carrying out swift operations. Smartphone-wielding Taliban fighters defeated a national army that was preparing for this day for the past 20 years.

Despite all the celebrations, the road to China would not be easy. They are clueless and don’t know who would rule the country in the coming days. However, China would utilize every opportunity to embarrass the western world and especially the United States. They have already dived into a mega propaganda war, churning out videos and paid articles to showcase the decline of the United States, and how unsafe those countries are who depend upon the American help.

The biggest propaganda war would come from the ISI. More than for outsiders, this propaganda would be for the consumption of the Pakistani citizens. To justify such a huge military budget for a small country, they would gloat how they have defeated two superpowers. The terrorist haven would not find the going easy. Samuel Johnson once rightly said, “the chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken”. The noose is tightening around Pakistan. Sooner or later the country would be exposed, more so after their role in Afghanistan, pushing them closer to the FATF’s blacklist.

There is No End to the Misery

“We must remember, the marks powerful nations leave on history are too often scars”

The precarious situation in Afghanistan would compel the Indian government and security forces to be on high alert for a long time to come. With the Taliban firmly installed in the seat, ISI would be the biggest drug lord in the world. Over US $30 billion worth of heroin passes through Pakistan annually. ISI’s margin in the trade is over 90 percent. With the illicit drug money, which is three times Pakistan’s defence budget, ISI could create havoc in the region.

The Indian states bordering Pakistan and China would face the brunt of the terror activities, and the propaganda onslaught. After a lull, terrorism has once again picked up in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. North-Eastern states have also seen a rise in terrorist activities along with disinformation campaigns from China.

Gissar Airbase, Farkkhor Base, and Chinese deployment in Tajikistan

In addition to securing the country from within, India would need to expand its footprint in other regions. Tajikistan is wary of the ISI and the Taliban’s activities in the region. They are also under pressure from Russia. They would be more than willing to allow India to activate Gissar Military Aerodrome (GMA) and Farkhor Base along with the hospital facilities. Both these bases would give India a very strong foothold in CAR. The location gives India a chance to keep an eye on the activities in Wakhan Corridor & Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK). These locations would also be most suitable to provide any assistance to the Northern Alliance, as and when required.

Looking at the present fragile situation in the region, in the hindsight, it was a great decision by the successive Indian governments not to get involved in Afghanistan militarily. Indian government’s stand shall remain so. India should calmly wait for the day when conditions will compel China to push Pakistan to put boots on the ground. That is the day India would remember Napoleon Bonaparte’s words, “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”

Despite the evacuation debacle in Afghanistan, the United States is neither down nor out. A lot of narratives would be pushed towards India in the wake of the United States mismanagement, from within and from outside India. India must stick to the original plan. As the region heads for another painful phase of uncertainty and a multipolar world, India would need allies like never before.

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Author

A veteran of the Indian Navy, Cdr Sandeep Dhawan served in the Navy from 1988 to 2009. He was a Maritime Reconnaissance Pilot and a Flying Instructor. He is a geopolitical analyst and writes for the various online websites and organizations. His Twitter handle is @InsightGL.

*************

References:

  • breakingdefense.com/2021/08/afghan-aftermath-will-pacific-states-see-weakened-us
  • thediplomat.com/2021/08/chinas-political-calculations-and-potential-options-in-afghanistan
  • indiatoday.in/business/story/decoding-india-investments-in-afghanistan-return-of-taliban-impact-1841897-2021-08-17
  • firstpost.com/india/from-afghan-parliament-to-salma-dam-a-look-at-indian-infrastructure-development-initiatives-in-afghanistan-9890341.html
  • thehindu.com/news/national/how-india-secretly-armed-ahmad-shah-massouds-northern-alliance/article29310513.ece
  • brookings.edu/opinions/americans-never-understood-afghanistan-like-the-taliban-did
  • brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2021/08/24/pakistans-problematic-victory-in-afghanistan
  • atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/before-the-taliban-took-afghanistan-it-took-the-internet
  • dawn.com/news/731994
  • Afghanistan: Graveyard of Empires by David Isby
  • Pakistan, the Taliban, Al Qaeda and the rise of terrorism by William J Topich
  • Directorate S by Steve Coll

 

 


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POST COMMENTS (49)

H K Rana

Sep 08, 2021
Partner..... very well written article, an eye opener. ' Wait n watch' is the only option for the time being for India.

Ajay Maini

Sep 06, 2021
I am viewing this entire issue from a different lens. Turmoil in Afghanistan: 1) Biden's conduct of his Presidentship (including his medical condition), and of Kamala Devi Harris's of her Vice-Presidentship, makes one wonder if US strategy is being remote controlled by some other team. I would think Obama & Hillary (maybe some others too) are the ones controlling it. They wanted a new kind of US relationship with the Islamic world (Obama is half Muslim & Hillary had many with fundamentalist links on her personal staff); they did go all out to have one; Arab spring initiation in Egypt; Tunisia; Libya; Syria; Palestine; Iran are proofs of that. Pulling out this way from Afghanistan too looks like their plan. This was all deliberately done. Trump has been quick to point out this way of withdrawal wasn't part of his plan and openly shared what he wanted to do. 2) Also consider the fact that an unsettled CAR and Middle East benefits the US mil-industrial complex so essential for its economy. Strategically, a disturbed Afghanistan, will likely interfere with China's BRI in the region. Knowing China's need for resources and another route to Arabian Sea, it is bound to get involved with Afghanistan. With Afghanistan's internal factionalism, it isn't going to be easy for China to obtain these assets irrespective of the amount of money it puts into Taliban's hands. Maybe, China will bleed here financially. 3) Biden admin has a soft corner for Pakistan; still wants to use its bases and facilities; knows its bankrupt and needs money; knows Pakistan is behind whatever Taliban is doing; hence the gift of weapons to them. I would assume it was Pakistani pilots flying the chopper with a dead man hanging from below. 4) US's withdrawal, and China's involvement in a restless Afghanistan, will help focus its complete attention and resources on the Pacific; becomes easier to counter China there. India's Steps: 1) Biggest interest is to take POK; hence the bases in Tajikistan. Improved relations with CAR nations will help in this objective and may also help in engaging China in that area in times of need in future; may also prevent China's BRI access to Europe through CAR nations. 2) Support Northern Alliance to seek land-based assistance from North in facilitating takeover of POK; this support will likely continue and may increase in times to come. 3) Unlikely to recognize Taliban till the time its conduct is controlled by Pakistan; it remains to be seen if Taliban can unshackle itself from Paki control; as of now it doesn't look easy. 4) Indian assistance has been in terms of hard assets for Afghanis; Taliban wouldn't want to destroy them; India already enjoys local support; hard for warlords also to go against India; Afghanis born after 9/11 have seen India give them things that they need for a good life. Indian govt will use all this goodwill sometime in future when time comes to engage Pakistan/taking over POK. 5) India would also want TTP to engage Pakistan; unlikely to allow Chinese to operate freely in Afghanistan. It's hard to say which way the Talibani factions will go and what they will do; most of us are making our own assumptions. Also, Islamic Fundamentalism will likely work in the background of all their actions whatever one may assume about them. Under the current volatile scenario, the best option is to wait and watch closely how the overall situation develops in the next 12 months. Indian Govt is doing well by following this approach.

P K Misra

Sep 04, 2021
Recent developments in Afghanistan have created undesirable shift in balance of power in the region. Taliban can't be taken lightly and India has to be cautious. A long haul for Indian armed forces as PoK may remain an area of enhanced activities. Dhawan has explained the scenario very nicely. His thoughts on future developments need endorsements.

Rajeev Mishra

Sep 03, 2021
A thoughtful analysis of the prevailing situation and way ahead in the neighborhood. For India, wait and watch is the only option available while understanding that prolonged period of inactivity in the region will definitely make you irrelevant. Continuing with development work without recognising the govt of the day is going to be a difficult walk. A worthwhile option would be to hard bargain so that inimical elements are kept in check and not allowed to interfere in internal affairs of India. India has to be appreciative of the fact that getting involved in societal system of Afghanistan will be detrimental to its security and overall peace in the region.

Bryan

Sep 02, 2021
As an American I realized a long time ago we needed to leave Afghanistan. The Romans fought in Afghanistan, the Russians, etc. The poppy trade has been the prize in that area for a long time and will continue to be so as things evolve. The players involved are way beyond simple politicians. The fight for control will continue for the opiates and the transportation routes. I was glad to hear of India's commitment to the area and hope it continues. Great article, as always. Thanks

Mishika Raj

Sep 02, 2021
Such a great article, uncle! Highly informative. The Taliban of today is misusing social media and technology to sell their propaganda videos to gain attention & legitimacy from the rest of the world whereas creating pure chaos in their own backyard.

Madhu TP

Sep 02, 2021
Sandeep, while your article has covered a vast canvas extensively, there are a few points where I differ. Let me list down - - Not to recognize the Taliban may not be an option of India is to remain engaged in Afghanistan or if it expects Taliban to hold off Pakistan and discourage anti-India activities. - Recognition of the Taliban regime should be based on India s medium and long term interests. - For India to work with the Taliban, an element of mutual trust is involved. India cannot hunt with the hounds and run with the hares. No trust can be built up if India maintains contact or actively assists the Northern Alliance. - Engagement should be based on mutually agreed conditions and milestones. - India cannot back off from the Taliban on the premise that it is not a democratic Govt as past history with other nations has suggested otherwise(Dictatorship in Pakistan, the party in China and the military in Myanmar). - Consulates should be allowed to function with a future proviso of reopening am embassy. - For the nation to function, India should work with the UN to defreeze part of the financial assets of Afghanistan held in foreign banks. The Afghanistan situation is a work in progress and will evolve. The Taliban may finally evolve into a regime with features common to Iran and Saudi Arabia as far as women s rights are concerned.

Capt(IN) Sanjay Jaiswal

Sep 02, 2021
An excellent compilation of thoughts and analysis done on the subject by the author. Good job done👍👋👋👋

Shaunak

Sep 02, 2021
Excellent insight. And with my little understanding I too feel the best option for India is to ‘wait and watch’ with a strategy of improving our presence with other Afghanistan neighbouring countries like Russia, Tajakistan etc. Also, probably take a gamble by trying to carry out humanitarian work in Afghanistan so as to be in good books with the common man in Afghanistan. Such money spent is well spent. 🙏🏻

Air Cmde Harish Nayani

Sep 02, 2021
An excellent and eye opening analysis Sandy. As unpredictable and unconventional as they are, the Taliban have crafted a very uncertain but disastrous future for that ravaged country. China and the pariah state of Pak no doubt have much to do with this. That the former have already given an approving nod means that very soon they'll pounce upon the rich natural resources and strategic value of Af. At the end of it all, what is undigestable is that an army that was specially and specifically trained and equipped by the US over 20 long years for just this kind of a debacle turned heel in the face of a ragtag army, albeit ruthless and hardened. And every one of those soldiers comes from the same stock as the Taliban! I agree with you that India is treading the right path in the midst of this morass.

Judithann Campbell

Sep 02, 2021
"Despite the evacuation debacle in Afghanistan, the United States is neither down nor out." From your lips to God's ears. Thank you, Commander, for another great article.

c.a.post

Sep 02, 2021
Please allow me, an American citizen to chime in here: Our president is almost senile and cannot be trusted with international affairs. That said, because of his mental deterioration, much of “his actions” are orchestrated by anti-Semitic members of his party, such as his vice-president (who more than any before her earns the title VICE president). The democratic party has a very short view of history and is trying to move the US toward socialism, so any unrest globally will play into their agenda. Though the Commander thinks the US is not down and out, I expect that we are closer to the demise of American leadership than ever before. The US is in decline and may be beyond recovery. India and China will be the leaders of the next generation’s ideals. I pray that India, whose ideals are better than China’s exaltation of the State, will lead better than China does.

Rominad

Sep 01, 2021
Well researched and an eye opener article . Well done .

Sanjay Kumar

Sep 01, 2021
Yes I agree with you. Let’s not get involved militarily. Keep supporting the Afghan people with developmental projects and build on the equity in the hearts of Afghan people that India only brought non military development that helped civilians lead a better life.

Capt Rakesh kapahi

Sep 01, 2021
A very well written article. A peep in future Cristal gazing is carried out with utmost clarity. No doubt that India has to keep it‘s channel of communication open. Good show.

Abhay Mittal

Sep 01, 2021
Well the most scary thing is that the ISI will now have huge resources at their disposal which can cause havoc in kashmir and north east which people commenting have taken notice in article. Communication open or not with Taliban, kashmir and northeast will definately going to face the heat. RAW need to be more active along with our security forces. Indian leadership have to be proactive rather then reactionary for any security situation. Open communication channel with Taliban and keep isolating pakistan will be good strategy. FATF is good tool for that.

derrick knight

Sep 01, 2021
An enlightening analysis. In particular I had no idea how much help India had given.

Dnyaneshwar Katkar

Sep 01, 2021
Excellent article.

Ajay Sreedhar

Sep 01, 2021
Very well written article. If I am allowed to crystal gaze, I believe that Taliban in its present form is not likely to be around for long. People's movement maybe led by the Northern Alliance would restore some semblance of democracy. As far as India is concerned, we have acted with maturity all along and since our intent has been good, we will remain relevant.

Cdr Mathews

Sep 01, 2021
A truly impressive article .

Rakesh P

Sep 01, 2021
Fear of going wrong makes people write about the past and the present. You have dared to peep into the future, and I salute you for that. Well done Cdr Sandeep.

MS Chahal

Sep 01, 2021
India must keep its communication channels open with Taliban at all times. Even the silence will not be in Indias favour. Our stance should be that let Taliban rise to the occasion by showing good and effective governance and India will recognize it. With this we remain positive with our outlook and attitude towards Taliban besides we also gain time to see how the complete scenario unveils. Assistance towards ongoing development projects should continue. Very well written, keep it up. Cheers

Col MS Chahal

Sep 01, 2021
India must keep its communication channels open with Taliban at all times. Even the silence will not be in Indias favour. Our stance should be that let Taliban rise to the occasion by showing good and effective governance and India will recognize it. With this we remain positive with our outlook and attitude towards Taliban besides we also gain time to see how the complete scenario unveils. Assistance towards ongoing development projects should continue. Very well written, keep it up. Cheers

Narendar kashib

Sep 01, 2021
Taliban 2.0 is the creation of ISI and 🇨🇳 with support beyond the ordinary..They'll work to ensure a managed anarchy by guiding the Taliban in governance... This will keep most other nations away from active indulgence in diplomacy...the entire playing field would belong to China and Pakistan with drug trade being a huge source of funds which can easily be blamed on Taliban... Very few nation's would engage diplomatically with Taliban government.... India should be firm and show no softness to the Taliban regime like others....Any concessions will hurt our geopolitical objectives....India will stand to lose a lot....The ISI China combine can continue to bother us...our value based diplomacy ought not to take a hit

Jerry Gill

Sep 01, 2021
Author has a deep understanding of regional politics . He’s brought out the facts in a very methodical manner and given a very practical insight into the turmoil the region is inflicted with and it’s repercussions across borders. Well done Sandeep.

Raman Gupta

Sep 01, 2021
A detailed analysis and a deep foresight. The road ahead for India is indeed a tight rope that needs intense planning. Thank you for sharing

Raghu Vir

Sep 01, 2021
Good analysis . My opinion , India must reach out to Taliban and recognise it with the riders. Its better to deal with a reality rather than wait out . Lets face the fact that they are there and will remain in control for years to come . Recognition does not mean that channels of communication with Iran , CAR , NA etc need to be snapped . Lets have pragmatic approach . Option of snapping of ties in case Taliban does not play ball will always be there with us . So, lets be pragmatic for once .

Sukhjit singh

Sep 01, 2021
A very well written articles which lives upto the standards set by the author Hard choices ahead for India

Wendell Bruges

Sep 01, 2021
A very fine article from Commander. Everyone is talking about the history of the Taliban or the present situation, but no one dare give future options. However, you have taken that challenge on and given us a glimpse of various options your country could explore. I loved reading this piece.

Rajesh Dhawan

Sep 01, 2021
Once again a very informative article with lots of facts and figures of current Geopolitical situation in the region and strategies India to follow to deal with it. India should not get engaged with Taliban on any other front than working as development activities in that country. Whatever happens ,happens for good. Now the most mischievous person of the class has been made monitor of the class. With added responsibility either he will mend his thinking or create further mess. One thing is sure. Pakistan being buffer country between India and Afganistan will suffer the most because if Taliban want to harm India they will have to cross Pakistan and to crush them under their Boot.

Julian

Sep 01, 2021
Very well written Cdr Sandeep Dawan. The Taliban at present does not have a particular hierarchy to take decisions. It is hundreds of factions who have united for a cause to topple the US led Government and the Afgan Army. There seems to be a tacit understanding between the afghan army and taliban for surrender of Kabul. Madoor Azad has already met a couple of leaders of Taliban to make POK their base and capture of Kashmir. India should closely watch movements in POK over the next year and keep monitoring their training camps and launch pads. Further RAW should strengthen it's ground Intel mechanism for Intel gathering especially in this region. As suggested open the Tajik air base options as suggested by the author and continue the humanitarian projects in Afganisthan to earn good will of the people.

Joseph Mathew

Sep 01, 2021
A good article that looks at possible options for India. Will Taliban change its way of functioning is the question that is in everyone's mind. The most important thing that he has highlighted is that the US is not a spent force. In fact this withdrawal from Afghanistan will help them stop the massive drain on their economy and reconsider their military options.

VeerD

Sep 01, 2021
Excellent, very well researched. Indepth analysis on the subject matter. Way to go , Sandeep.

ATUL D

Sep 01, 2021
As usual, an email unbiased and forthright article by Sandeep. A difficult situation still unfolding; too many players, too many infirmities and unknowns. A conundrum with religion, ethnicity, tribal factors laced with drugs, resources, geographical and historical baggage thrown in. Has larger ramifications for the world global order. Is this the last of US dominance in this region and emergence of China as a world player?? Or is it going to be China's blunder like what happened to Russia earlier and now USA? Interesting times at the cost of Aghan people's lives.

Rammohan Oka

Sep 01, 2021
Nice article, the ever changing situation needs changing or something altering our thought process, still not clear about way ahead, hope the country survive as one piece 👍

Chitta

Sep 01, 2021
When will the US political and military think tank learn from their mistakes. Will they ever? A very big lesson to the world comity. Crystal gazing of a volatile region like Afghanistan is mired with too many ifs and buts. You have made a very valid attempt to keep it simple for the reader

Sid Gupta

Sep 01, 2021
Great articulation. Splendid work Sandy. Keep up the good work. Proud of you. Thank you

Sid Gupta

Sep 01, 2021
Great articulation. Splendid work Sandy. Keep up the good work. Proud of you.

VeerD

Sep 01, 2021
Great article, superbly studied by the author and he placed the views in absolute logical manner in his post.... Kudos

Cdr Deepak Singh

Sep 01, 2021
Very nicely compiled. These facts are known to people who are following the situation in Afghanistan, but you assimilated and opined very well. I recollect a lot after reading your article. Keep going Sandeep. Keep Smiling and keep me posted. Keep going and smiling Sandeep. And keep me posted as usual.

Surendra Mohanty

Sep 01, 2021
Very nice analysis of the current situation in Afghanistan. We need to wait and watch. The recommendations by the author are worth consideration by our government. Well written article.

Sanjay Jha

Aug 31, 2021
Few of the Forecasting errors & some real lack of int failure..that they could not see Taliban coming to kabul in such a jiffy.... India was involved & invested for a long haul...however its all gone kaput too suddenly too soon... I would never like to be in such a situation as India finds itself vis a vis ..Afghanistan... Though all your suggestions do make sense...but..with Taliban being a rouge & extremists outfit...it makes little sense to delve in a hurry... May be another couple of months..we can wait & then make next move... Not much likely to change as Taliban will continue to solidify itself....Ughiyar issues will keep Taliban cold towards China & TTP will find favour in Afghanistan....So Both Paki & Chinese may start feeling Taliban to be a liability rather than asset...as the extreme form of Islamic law is unleashed in the state.... Interesting time ahead for you as a Globe stalker.... 😇🤓🍻👍🏻

ANUP GHOSH

Aug 31, 2021
Excellent Analysis.

Deovrat Pagay

Aug 31, 2021
The situation in Afghanistan today is a classic example of “groupthink”, a tendency to ignore evidence by way of shared self deception. The Invasion of Iraq based on imaginary WMDs by the Bush regime was an outcome of the above. The self- insulated group of US decision- makers failed to see the reality leading to this downward spiral. The history has repeated itself in Afghanistan. If it is not contained now, the fallout will be costly….

Amar Singh Rathore

Aug 31, 2021
The author has brought out pragmatic options for India. India has to live with the reality of having to deal with Taliban and also need to maintain its relationship with Northern Alliance. While there are many possibilities, the options with India are limited, as it emerges clearly from the article. Overall a balanced article with well reasoned views put out by author.

Dhirender Gaur

Aug 31, 2021
Indeed enriching insights. India way forward is well placed. Hope Indian leadership will be lucky to have have a glimpse of this article.

Rajeev

Aug 31, 2021
Well researched and covering all the angles. India's way forward is explained well. Tumultuous times ahead.

Ashish Popli

Aug 31, 2021
The author has put his neck out yet again to prophesies the Taliban takeover. It's not easy to do so in such tumultuous geopolitic events which bring forth awkward changes by the hour. All said, the assessment is forthright and makes some sense. Although how it will pan out for various countries and what call each nation will take will depend on real politic or strategic understanding or a roll of dice and await which side it falls on.... Well written though

UNMESH MISRA

Aug 31, 2021
Superbly analysed article. It is indeed a time to wait and watch and hold on to your nerves. The situation is fluid and we do not know the future trajectory.

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