The Afghanistan Conundrum

By the Editor: Siddharth Sehgal

Community is not created by Force

                                                                 ~ Afghan Proverb

 Afghanistan is again in chaos. After two decades of conflict, it looks like and highly likely in the coming months that we are back at the point where it all started. Taliban is in virtual if not in full control of the country and seems like the time, men, and money that countries have spent in Afghanistan have come to naught. Afghanistan has lived up to its reputation as a graveyard of Empires but being a graveyard has its downside too, there is no hope for the future for ordinary Afghans who want a better life for their children.

From New Delhi to Islamabad, from Tehran to Beijing, every player in the region is weighing its options. Though Americans were the biggest contributors, every major country in the region has invested in Afghanistan and like the rest of the countries, India too has poured billions of Indian taxpayer’s rupees into Afganistan and these investments, now, are as good as forfeited. It’s not like the Taliban has gained lost ground in a year, it has been a gradual process over the years and as the Afghan government failed to deliver on its promises of development, transparency, and representation, it should have been clear to all involved that this day will come sooner or later.

Though the Taliban coming to power does not bode well for India and Kashmir region as terror groups will have complete freedom to recruit and train extremists and plan operations against India but it’s Pakistan who should be most worried about the Taliban’s return. With the Taliban’s return, Pakistan can expect a massive uptick of refugees and more empowered and embolden Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which will further deteriorate the security situation in that country. Perhaps that is an end result of growing a poisonous tree of terrorism that will bear its fruit for Islamabad or perhaps the Pakistani establishment has thought they can control these rogue elements and use them against India. Whatever may be their reasoning but sooner or later they will see for themselves, the perils of being neighbors with a government that will attract extremists from far and wide. The likes of Zawahiri and his Al Qaeda minions will find a safe haven in Afghanistan again and sooner or later they will restart their terror bases. Iran and China should be worried too, Iran’s security and China’s one road and belt initiative can be in jeopardy if the Taliban rescind its promise to safeguard China’s investments. One cannot expect safe bets with the Taliban.

In all this power play, the people of Afghans will lose their country and future. They will have no say in their country’s direction and will have to depend on the generosity of other nations. They are the biggest casualty of this war and yet ironically, in all of this chaos and misery, they themselves are responsible for the current state of their country.

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