With Afghanistan having reverted back to Talibani rule under the cruellest form of Islamic Sharia law, the world community has been left befuddled. On Tuesday, the Taliban announced its interim government and cabinet makeup, which is to be led by “prime minister” Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund and “deputy prime minister” Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. There is nothing that can be done immediately to overturn the Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Resistance to the Taliban will also be long drawn. Until then, the world must cope with a bunch of gun-wielding monkeys ruling Afghanistan. India has now come to occupy a central position, as the only democracy and major power in Asia which has a clear mandate against the Taliban and its ideology.
So, the United States, Russia and the United Kingdom are all rushing to New Delhi in order to get a sense of what is going on at South Block. CIA Chief William Burns arrived in India on September 7 to have a discussion on key security issues with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. Chief of British intelligence agency MI6, Richard Moore also visited India in the past week to discuss the ongoing situation in Afghanistan. Most recently, Russia’s Secretary of the Security Council General Nikolai Patrushev held a meeting with NSA Ajit Doval on Wednesday, where the two had a comprehensive discussion related to Afghanistan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar were also slated to meet the Russian NSA.
The back-to-back visits to India by some of the world’s most powerful intelligence chiefs suggest the growing importance which the world community is attaching to New Delhi in order to deal with the new Afghan reality which has come to exist.
United States of America
India invested billions of dollars into Afghanistan’s development under the civilian government. India gave the Afghan people infrastructure which elevated the standard of their lives. Further, India views Afghanistan as its gateway to Central Asia. Above all, a stable Afghanistan is crucial for India’s plans of tackling the menace of terrorism in Kashmir. However, today, these interests stand in peril. The Biden administration’s shameful surrender to the Taliban and the United States running away from Afghanistan with its tail between its legs has infuriated India.
New Delhi might not be expressing its anger publicly, but that does not mean that India is in any case impressed with the U.S. and its allies’ evacuation out of Afghanistan, and handover to the Taliban. Perhaps to reassure India of Washington’s support, and to also tell the Modi government of how the U.S. was aware of India’s security and geopolitical concerns, CIA chief William J Burns was dispatched by Joe Biden. The meeting between William Burns and Ajit Doval took place as the Taliban announced the names of people who would run Afghanistan, among which are included, UN-designated terrorists.
The USA messed up big time in Afghanistan, and to calm India’s tempers, the CIA chief would have assured New Delhi of continued support in fighting terrorism and tackling all threats emanating out of Afghanistan. India, in turn, has made Washington know about the emergence of an emboldened Pakistan after the Biden administration’s Afghan debacle.
Russia and India have a lot in common when it comes to viewing the Afghanistan situation. Both countries are concerned about the effects which the emergence of a Taliban-ruled Afghanistan can have on their national security. Furthermore, while Russia fears jihadis trickling out of Afghanistan into Central Asia, and eventually finding their way to Russian borders, India is on an alert, now that Pakistan will most definitely divert a large number of terrorists towards Kashmir to stoke trouble in the valley.
Russia and India, during Nikolai Patrushev’s visit, must have definitely spoken at length about the way forward. Russia and India might just go all out in their support for an anti-Taliban front, and India’s Farkhor airbase in Tajikistan can be used for mounting a campaign against the Taliban. While the CIA chief flew to Delhi to calm tempers here, Russia and India are expected to have strategized on what is to be done next.
Read more: Russia’s good cop/bad cop game with the Taliban has left the terror outfit puzzled
The visit of MI6 chief Richard Moore has remained a top-secret. According to national security analyst Nitin Gokhale, “One more visitor to New Delhi may have gone unnoticed in the past week: the Chief of British MI6, Richard Moore. It is anybody’s guess what he wanted in India after the UK appears to have blatantly sided with Pakistan over the situation in Afghanistan.”
The UK shares in part, the blame for the Afghanistan debacle which has put countries in South and Central Asia in a spot. Richard Moore’s visit to India, therefore, would also have been on the lines of that of the CIA chief. Moore would have reassured New Delhi that the UK is standing shoulder to shoulder with India in its fight against terror and that the situation in Afghanistan should become grounds for enhanced cooperation between the two countries and their agencies.
India has come to form the centre of all new Afghanistan policies around the world. Dealing with a Taliban-ruled Afghanistan without first taking India into utmost confidence is simply impossible for any major world power, be it the USA, UK or even Russia. Given the fact that China and Pakistan have gotten straight into bed with the Taliban, not involving India in discussions pertaining to Afghanistan could now be suicidal for all countries of the world.