The latest terror attacks in Kabul this week show once again how the Taliban remains Afghanistan’s greatest security threat and the issue figured prominently when foreign secretary S Jaishankar met new US national security adviser H R McMaster in Washington on Wednesday. Condemning the attacks, India had said, “We reiterate our resolve to work with Afghanistan to bring the perpetrators of terrorist violence to the justice they deserve wherever they may be.”
Last week in Beijing, Jaishankar also found the Chinese eager to talk about Afghanistan and the security situation there. Afghanistan has returned to the centrestage of India’s foreign and security policy, as two key crises rear their heads — a tottering government of Ashraf Ghani beset by numerous political problems and secondly, a renewed threat by Taliban which has found fresh oxygen from apparent political endorsement by a new regional bloc, led by Russia and China.
Ghani’s government is in deep trouble and there is talk in Kabul of a “jirga” (tribal council meeting) that could look for a political alternative, though destabilising the dispensation in the current precarious scenario could be a recipe for disaster. However, political pundits, both within and outside Afghanistan, are looking at former president Hamid Karzai, who has taken a growing political space in Kabul.What is of greater concern to New Delhi is the new apparent re-alignment of powers in the region which would adversely impact India and Afghanistan, while giving an upper hand to the Taliban and their sponsors in Pakistan. While the US has been absorbed in domestic politics, Russia, China, Iran, Turkey and Pakistan have made common cause by raising the spectre of Daesh/IS in Afghanistan, trying to create an opening to begin political negotiations with the Taliban as a “friendly force” to keep out Daesh.
Credit- The Times of India