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Afghanistan: Russia, Pakistan, Iran stand for Taliban as legitimate actor

Before India objects to the inclusion of Taliban in the political process of Afghanistan, the ground realities  and actual Geo politics should be studied   and analyzed carefully  prior preparing a comprehensive strategy for India’s influence in the region.

ISIS and Taliban

First of all,Taliban and Islamic State ideologies are different as Taliban  believes in enforcing  a strict interpretation of Sharia or Islamic Law based on Deobandi fundamentalism and are anti-modern ie against Western Education. while Ideology of Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant is based on jihadi-Salafism  focused on the restoration of the caliphate of early Islam and all Muslims  are required  to pledge allegiance to  it and will expand the influence globally  and wants the world with no borders. Abu Bakr al Baghdadi pledged to reconstitute the historical Wilayat khorasan (region comprising  AFghanistan, Pakistan and parts of neighbouring countries) starting  with uprooting the Taliban and the government of President Ashraf Ghani.

As Taliban had been much part of Afghanistan’s history therfore it is impossible to visualize stable Afghanistan without Taliban (Talibans cover more than 60% of Afghanistan’s territory) therefore Russia, Pakistan and Iran are reaching out to the Taliban  and holding secret talks with them.Islamic State or Daesh  has emerged as a grave threat  to Pakistan  and war-ravaged country  of Afghanistan which enables Taliban as an indispensable force in fighting ISIS or ISIL.

Russia is concerned about his backyard as many Central Asian jihadist groups like Jund al-Khilafah joined ISIS, some outfits like Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), Uighur-led Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) and Islamic jihad Union   are associated with  Al-Qaeda  and Taliban .

To secure a place for India  at the Russia led consultations on Afghanistan  is quite different from India watching its own interests viz a viz Afghanistan.For the first time India has been included in the six- nation meeting comprising Russia,China ,Pakistan, Afghanistan,Iran and India for peaceful and stable Afghanistan in which all countries accept New Delhi agreed to recognize Taliban as a legitimate political actor .

The outcome of the Moscow summit is that the Tripartite Partnership between Moscow, Beijing and Islamabad emerged to expand its conflict resolutions functions  to incorporate Tehran and New Delhi for stabilizing Afghanistan.With China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan negotiating with Taliban but US has blundered by bringing Central Asia including Afghanistan on the same desk as India  and Pakistan in the White HOuse National Security Council.

US President Donald Trump seems to be over burdened  with the 17-year military  operation in Afghanistan  also goes by the opinion that ISIS is the global threat and America alone should not take the entire expenditure of combating the brutal and jihadist outfit.

What should be India’s strategy

India is better advised to fine tune its foreign and strategic policy so as to secure its borders especially when the peaceful Kashmir has been totally transformed into a conflict zone  and  a cautious approach should be applied  not to invite more problems or players from the third country .The interests of India with respect to Afghanistan are totally different in view of the threats emanating from Afghanistan and Pakistan to India

If  Prime Minister Narendra Modi desires to become a leader or an influencing person in the region  than India should  become an economic and military power(Naval,Air and ground forces) with  strong Foreign Policy  and convincing Diplomacy .Far from being expert in matters regarding strategic  and ground realities that are threatening India’s security interests he lacks understanding in such matters of administration  with experience of hardly two and a half years in power.

arti bali

By : Arti Bali

Senior Journalist

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