India has been tacitly supporting the US in its endeavour to install democracy in Afghanistan. With those efforts having failed, India is now faced with the prospect of dealing with the Taliban all on its own. India does not have significant ties or communication channels with the Taliban. In terms of security, the Taliban poses a challenge to India. It is no secret that Pakistan’s Haqqani Network and the Taliban are collaborators. With the Taliban growing even stronger, and Pakistan’s ISI having good ties with it, India expects Afghani jihadis to be directed towards Kashmir.
Not only does India expect the same to happen, Pakistan is actually counting on it. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan acted as a double agent for the United States of American and also Taliban for the past many years. The U.S. was of the opinion that Pakistan is helping it fight the Taliban. Instead, Pakistan was helping Taliban target American forces and assets in Afghanistan, while gulping down billions in aid from the White House. For helping the Taliban, Pakistan thinks it has earned a favour with the terror organisation.
However, it is in for a big surprise. It is true that the Taliban is indeed growing from strength to strength in Afghanistan. However, once in power, if at all, the Talibani government in Afghanistan will be much more calculated in its foreign policy approach, especially with India. A Talibani government is not an ideal situation for India, but it is absolutely not as if we are unprepared to handle the challenge. In fact, the time is now ripe to make Pakistan know how insignificant and comical it is.
Pakistan thinks that Taliban will aid it in getting hold of Kashmir. It genuinely believes that once the Taliban comes to power in Afghanistan, it will divert a significant chunk of its fighter force to “liberate” Kashmir from India. What Pakistan forgets is that the ISI and Pakistan’s own terror groups, which are well versed with Kashmir, are not finding the window to attack India in Kashmir. As such, for jihadis from Afghanistan to do so would be next to impossible.
After the abrogation of Article 370 and the bifurcation of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, the valley has now become a Union Territory, and the military has further strengthened its hold in the region. The Ministry of Home Affairs, led by Amit Shah is directly in control of Kashmir. The political leadership of Kashmir, which was explicitly anti-India and pro-China has been brought in line. The Hurriyat has been dismantled, and Pakistan’s assets in the valley are being located and exterminated on a daily basis.
Incidents of mob gatherings and subsequent stone pelting on security forces have been brought to a near standstill. The Talibani jihadis can in no manner infiltrate into India, not get identified, and carry out terror operations successfully. India is prepared to take on the Taliban challenge in Kashmir, if it ever emerges.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has a lot to worry for itself. The Taliban getting stronger with each passing day is no good news for Pakistan, as Afghanistan might very well grow expansionist. If Taliban grows land hungry, the first casualty will be Pakistani territories. To add to Islamabad’s woes, its persecution of the country’s Pashtun tribes has hardly been given a miss by the Taliban, and it will most likely come to these territories to liberate them of Pakistani occupation.
Ties are not very rosy between the Taliban and its Pakistani version, meanwhile. Certain factions within the two Talibans have major differences, further aggravating Pakistan’s worries. Pakistan is dreaming in futility of partnering with the Taliban to take over Kashmir, when it is entirely possible that the Afghan jihadi group comes gunning for Pakistan itself.