Foreign hands: Pakistan and Taliban


The challenge for the global brotherhood, including India, would be to wean the Taliban from their dependence on Pakistan

The editorial office


Published 09.09.21, 02:04

The Taliban claimed their “independence” after the hasty withdrawal of US troops and their allies from Afghanistan. But, is this really the truth? It seems that the regime has failed to cut the umbilical cord that connects it to its patron – Pakistan. With the announcement of the formation of a transitional government in Kabul, the “strings-attached theory” has gained further credibility. A cursory glance at the composition of this dispensation would reveal Rawalpindi’s invisible but firm imprint. For example, New Delhi has noted a disproportionate presence in the power hierarchy of elements from the Haqqani network and the Taliban faction based in Kandahar, headed by hardliner Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund. The segment that negotiated the peace treaty in Doha and with which New Delhi had some contacts at the end has been worryingly marginalized in the course of this power struggle. The implications are obvious and threatening. The relative insignificance of those sections of the Taliban that appeared ready to engage with the international brotherhood increases the chances of a return to medieval theocratic rule in Afghanistan. This step backwards would deal cruel blows to such concerns as the empowerment of women and civil rights. No wonder, then, that Kabul has seen courageous demonstrations by women against both the Taliban and Pakistan.

Islamabad’s tighter grip on Afghanistan would deepen the frowns in New Delhi. India has notable development projects in Afghanistan; their future could be uncertain. The greater challenge would be the security front. The Taliban have already made disturbing noises in Kashmir, and there is a possibility that the Taliban’s henchmen are encouraging the government in Afghanistan to send non-state actors to heat the border with India. The challenge for the global brotherhood, including India, would be to wean the Taliban from their dependence on Pakistan. In this context, the carrot and stick policy could be applied. Afghanistan’s survival depends on aid – food, medical care, finance, reconstruction. The world must loosen its pockets and provide humanitarian aid, but these measures must be made conditional on the Taliban’s ability to keep Afghanistan from becoming an epicenter of the global Jihad. But international pressure can only work if the world powers are on the
same side. China has taken a more soothing position. Beijing should be made to line up so that Pakistan and, in turn, the Taliban elsewhere, should refrain from adventure.


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