Return of Taliban has implications for India

Source: Indian Express (Article 1)Article 2) and Times of India

Relevance: This article explains the recent developments in Afghanistan.

Synopsis:

Delhi must maintain vigil against a resurgence of cross-border terrorism that could quickly destabilize Kashmir and escalate the conflict between India and Pakistan.

Introduction

The rapid collapse of the Afghan government and the triumphant return of the Taliban will have a considerable impact around the world. The restoration of Taliban rule in Afghanistan with Pakistan’s support undoubtedly presents some very serious potential challenges for Indian security.

Read more: As Taliban makes a rapid military advance through Afghanistan, India too must brace itself for the consequences
How did the US and USSR intervention in Afghanistan shaped India’s history?

At the end of 1979, the Soviet Union launched a massive military invasion to protect a communist regime in Kabul. The US and Pakistan responded by unleashing a religious jihad. These Jihads compelled Russia to withdraw in 1989.

  1. The Pakistan army used the jihadi armies to gain control of Afghanistan and launched a proxy war against India, especially in the Punjab and Kashmir regions.
  2. The turbulence of the 1990s saw deepening conflicts between India and Pakistan. Both countries conducted nuclear weapon tests, and the Pak-backed Taliban rule was established in Afghanistan.

Al Qaeda, hosted by the Taliban, launched terror attacks against the US on September 11, 2001.

  1. The US retribution brought an end to Taliban rule and compelled Pakistan to reconsider its policies.
  2. Further, after 2001, there has also been a significant expansion of the India-US strategic partnership.

After the withdrawal of US forces under the Doha Agreement, Pakistan’s Afghan policy regained its prime.

The policy of the Taliban at present:

After capturing Kabul, the Taliban leaders are mentioning the following policy.

  • The foreigners will have all the right to leave.
  • Taliban will protect the lives and properties of Afghan people.
  • The Taliban have announced that there will be no witch hunt, and they will respect a peaceful transitional process of power.
  • Further, the Taliban will also respect the rights of women.
Read more: Afghan Peace Process and India – Explained, Pointwise
Challenges with Taliban in power:
  1. Taliban might renew the support for international terrorism.
  2. Pakistan might redirect the jihadi groups that fought with the Taliban towards India. Pakistan-based jihadi groups might turn their attention to Kashmir.
  3. Further, the Taliban will also face troubles in balancing their religious ideology with the imperatives of state interests.
Read more: India must directly engage with Taliban 2.0
Suggestions for India
Immediate initiatives
  1. India should securely evacuate Indian diplomatic personnel and other citizens from Afghanistan. This will require a major logistical effort.
  2. The government of India must also offer refuge to those Afghans who have worked with Indian initiatives and are desperate to avoid potential retribution from the Taliban
Diplomatic initiatives
  1. India must make all possible efforts to get the international community to hold the Taliban to its word on letting all foreigners leave with peace, protecting the lives of all Afghan citizens, and respecting international humanitarian law.
  2. India also chairs the Taliban Sanctions Committee of the UNSC. It will have an important role in framing the international response to the Taliban’s demands for the lifting of all sanctions against its leaders.
  3. Similarly, India should also make the international community provide humanitarian assistance to the large number of Afghan people displaced by fighting.
Domestic initiatives
  1. India must maintain vigil against a resurgence of cross-border terrorism that could quickly destabilize Kashmir and escalate the conflict between India and Pakistan.
Read more: India’s future Afghan policy – Explained, pointwise

Terms to know:

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