New Delhi’s Af-Pak: Old friends versus old foes: Should India accept Taliban, betray Afghans or support resistance movements like Saleh’s?

Source: Times of India (Article 1, Article 2)

Syllabus: GS – 2:  India and its neighbourhood- relations.

Relevance: This article explains the recent developments in Afghanistan.


About the development of the Taliban 1.0 and Taliban 2.0


Please read the following two articles for a better understanding.

  1. The script of the new endgame in Afghanistan
  2. Return of Taliban has implications for India

Taliban 1.0

  1. The original Taliban was the ultimate creation of Pakistan, which was focused on having its own Islamic rule over the mountains of Hindukush.
  2. The Taliban rely heavily on Pakistan to gain and retain power. Many Pakistan army regulars were part of the Taliban offensive strategy to train inexperienced students who were fighting for the first time.
  3. All Taliban operations were planned in Pakistani garrisons and their field commanders were reporting to ISI officials.

Taliban 2.0

  1. Although Taliban 2.0 still gets a lot of support from Pakistan, they kept Pakistan at bay from their decision-making process. This was visible during various peace talks in Doha-Qatar.
  2. They have not only set up new training grounds, bought sophisticated weaponry and gained experience in warfare, but also became stronger financially. They have now become an over $2 bn outfit
Read more: India must directly engage with Taliban 2.0
Options before India:

There are 4 options before India.

  1. Initiate dialogue with the Taliban and accept them.
    • This will not be an easy choice as Taliban 2.0 has proximity with China, Turkey and Pakistan.
    • Further, this option is detrimental to Indian interests and Afghan people who trust India
  2. Wait, watch and engage with other democracies to take a unanimous call on Taliban 2.0.
    • Canada has already announced that it will not recognise the Taliban, most others are undecided.
    • India can make a similar announcement and unite global players.
    • But, the move might make India’s western frontiers vulnerable. As the Taliban along with Pakistani jihadists might plan covet attacks on Indian soil.
  3. Imposing UN sanctions on Taliban and later sending a peacekeeping force.
    • India is in the chair of the United Nations Security Council. So India can initiate proceedings to impose sanctions on the Taliban. But China and Russia might block India’s move.
  4. Grant legitimacy to the resistance movement of Northern Alliance.
    • The ‘Northern Alliance’ was a united military front that came to formation in late 1996 after the Taliban took over Kabul. They fought a war with the Taliban in 2001 and ended the Taliban’s rule over Afghanistan.
    • This move can help India, but only time can tell how successful the Northern Alliance can fight the Taliban 2.0
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