The symbol of India-Afghanistan friendship has yet again been targeted by the Taliban. Afghan reports say that a Pakistani spy has been caught by the Afghan forces. This spy was trying to destroy the Salma dam, India’s most expensive infrastructural project in Afghanistan in recent years. It was completed at an estimated cost of $290 million in 2016 in the western Herat province bordering Iran.
Until recently, at least 16 security personnel were killed in an attack by the Taliban on a security checkpoint at the Salma Dam in the western Herat province. Sources claimed that the checkpoint and its equipment had fallen into the hands of the Taliban. Witnessing a surge in violence as the Taliban has intensified its offensive against the government, the US forces are withdrawing from the war-torn country.
Afghan security forces have arrested a Pakistani national on charges of destroying India built Salma dam in Chish Sharif district of Herat province yesterday, according to Afghan media reports. Pak spy agencies trying to destroy India built infrastructure projects in Afghanistan.
— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) July 11, 2021
A Pakistani individual has been caught by Afghan Security forces trying to blow up Salma dam or 🇮🇳🇦🇫 friendship dam, India’s biggest project in Afg ($275 million). Taliban recently took a checkpoint here, killing 16. Pak is desperate to uproot strong Indian influence in Afg.
— Shubhangi Sharma (@ItsShubhangi) July 11, 2021
The construction of the dam began way back in 1976 as multiple roadblocks slowed down the process. Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar and his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar signed a memorandum of understanding on the implementation of the project. Since this project is funded and constructed by the Government of India as a part of the Indian aid project, the Afghan cabinet renamed the Salma Dam to the Afghan-India Friendship Dam as a gesture of appreciation to strengthen relations between the two countries, this dam has a lot of significance. Hailing India’s support for the reconstruction and development of the war-weary country, Ghani said a sovereign and united Afghanistan is essential to the prosperity, connectivity, and stability of the entire region. Expressing support for the “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned” peace process, Modi said, “Both India and Afghanistan want to see the region free from terrorism.”
The Dam was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on June 4, 2016.
As the Taliban have taken control of several districts across the country, US intelligence assessments have suggested the country’s civilian government could fall to the terror group within months after US forces withdraw completely. Pakistan seems excited about the Taliban’s rise and sees this as a window to destroy Indian projects in Afghanistan with an aim to diminish India’s ties and influence in the country. The Taliban is likely to be more concerned with the interests of its favourite neighbours with whom it has long borders like Iran, Pakistan, China. Now Pakistan is trying to eliminate India’s influence in Afghanistan.
Pakistan sees the rise of the Taliban as a sure shot way to diminish India’s influence in the region. The people of Afghanistan, along with its civilian government, has enjoyed a positive attitude emitting from India. The cultural ties between the two countries have been at a higher level as India has always extended its hand of friendship towards Afghanistan. But Pakistan, with its little influence over the Taliban, wants to target Indian infrastructure projects in Afghanistan in an attempt to somehow create barriers between the two countries.
All of India’s developmental projects undertaken in partnership with the Afghan government are spread across each and every of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, as reported by TFI. The Indian government has earned immense goodwill in Afghanistan with its humanitarian and development efforts serving as a healing touch to the war-torn- post 9/11 nation. India has focussed upon the all-around growth there. From the development of economic and social infrastructure, education sector and training of diplomats and security personnel, India has been committed to the cause of comprehensively supporting Afghanistan’s nation-building process. The Taliban threatens to control the majority of its territory. Meanwhile, the Taliban has given assurance to China that their projects will not be affected, India has not received any kind of assurance yet. India is the lone rescuer when it comes to the cause of the development and reconstruction of Afghanistan. Had it not been for India, the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan would have been far more severe than it presently is.