India is entangled in the Afghan Knot, as the ground situation is fast turning in favour of the Taliban in Afghanistan. The future course will be full of complexities and challenges post the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
- The United States Armed Forces are scheduled to be withdrawn from Afghanistan by August 31, 2021.
- The Taliban are on the brink of capturing Afghanistan. They remain in contact with al Qaeda, as documented by a UN report earlier this year.
- The chaos the US leaves behind in Afghanistan for the second time in 30 years poses a heightened risk of instability in the entire region.
Why is the US leaving?
- The withdrawal is the result of a bad deal made between the former US president (Donald Trump) and Taliban.
- The US had already spent millions of dollars but was unable to establish sustainable democracy in Afghanistan.
- The war is now unwinnable, it had been going on for too long and claimed too many American lives.
- The only success which the US can claim is elimination of Osama bin Laden (on Pakistani soil).
- Further, as per Joe Biden (current US president), nation-building was never an objective and this task should be undertaken by the Afghan people.
Future course of action for India:
- India now faces the prospects of dealing with the Taliban, largely a proxy of Pakistan, as a potentially powerful force in the neighborhood.
- Fellow travellers such as the Haqqani network, Laskhar e Toiba and Jaish e Mohammed are waiting in the wings.
- Delhi could either forget the collusion between Pakistan and Taliban, and incidents such as the IC 814 hijack and do business with the Taliban, or
- The country must be ready to face a potentially destabilising force. This would add a multiplier element to the two-front threat on the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh and the Line of Control in Kashmir.