When US entered in the Afghanistan post 9/11 attacks on its soil, it termed it as “The greatest war on terror”. In Apr 2021, this war has officially ended, by not defeating the Taliban, but by retreating from the Afghanistan. USA is abandoning its bases in the dead of the night putting the onus on its neighbors to clear the mess it created in the last 20 years of its misadventure, achieving nothing at all. Since the US exit, the Taliban is growing stronger in the region facing virtually no resistance from the Afghanistan armed forces, killing the soldiers and civilians on a free run with the blessings from the Pakistan. As of today, the Taliban controls the 85% of the Afghanistan. The assessment says that if it continues its spree the same way, within six months Taliban would be ruling Afghanistan. India’s investments, both financial and military, in Afghanistan are on the verge of destruction. It has invested more than 3 billion dollars with 400 projects across 34 provinces which includes roads, dams, schools, hospitals etc. and risks losing them all to the Taliban. The Indian consulates in Jalalabad, Herat, and Kandahar has been shut temporarily with only Kabul embassy functional as of now. Recently, an Indian photojournalist, Danish Siddiqui was killed by the Taliban. On 28 July 21, China invited Taliban delegation for talks and thus an alliance of China, Pakistan and Taliban is not a farfetched scenario creating more hurdles for India by cornering it from three sides. The threat for the India doesn’t lies inside Afghanistan only but it has implications within India too and most challenging of all would be the situation in Kashmir which is peaceful as of now. India must be wary of this new nexus and their subsequent implications in Kashmir. Pakistan has previously utilized Taliban for cross border terror activities in the Kashmir.
The churn in Afghanistan is a challenge for the Kashmir as well. The turbulence in this region is rarely contained and the Taliban resurgence simply means the day is not far when the battlefield shifts from interiors of Afghanistan and reaches the doorsteps of the Kashmir. Owing to the ceasefire agreement signed by both the armies in the month of February this year, the borders have been quiet with few odd reports of Cease Fire Violation and Zero Infiltration. But if things keep escalating in Afghanistan, it will change for sure in next few months. The Taliban has always acted as a force multiplier for the Pakistan on Kashmir. Taliban may not meddle into Kashmir directly but use their factions to peddle their agendas and support Pakistan by providing them militants. Pak terror groups are already joining forces with the Taliban. The only aim of these terror groups is the destabilization of peace process in the Kashmir valley. They already have number of Bellicose offshoots operating in the valley which has carried out a string of attacks in Kashmir. These will have some serious ramifications. Firstly, there will be a rise in religious nationalism boosting the morale of several terror outfits operating inside the valley. Secondly, the Taliban would use the media of all kinds to glorify its success stories of Afghanistan to indoctrinate and radicalize the youths of Kashmir, peddling its malicious propaganda of Ghajwa e Hind. Weapons invariably follow propaganda. Thirdly, the new generation weapons left by the US in Afghanistan is in the hands of Taliban and it will find its way into the Kashmir making the situation more explosive for security force to handle. Taliban is helmed as a legitimate stakeholder in Afghanistan by various countries and their opinion regarding Kashmir will add some weightage to the Pakistan’s claim. They even hold a diplomatic office in Qatar. The position of Taliban on Kashmir will be leveraged by the Pakistan.
India certainly needs to push the Afghan peace process at various levels. At military level, it needs to strengthen its existing security shield in Kashmir hitherto in terms of aerial attacks and therefore, the role of armed forces becomes crucial in this scenario. Along with the induction of modern technology to include attack by drones, it also needs to win the population of Kashmir which has a major role to play in stalling the Taliban efforts in derailing peace process in Kashmir. It needs to strengthen its info warfare process to stop the spread of Taliban ideology in Kashmir. It has to contain and keep a continuous check on the activities of the extremists and separatists willing to create troubles. The armed forces have done a remarkable job in containing the terrorism in the valley and at the same time win the hearts and mind of the population. It’s a continuous process for the armed forces. For India, peace in Kashmir is relative to the peace in Kabul. It doesn’t take much time for the turbulent waves of terrorism to swim across the borders creating wreckage in Kashmir. The escalating situation in Afghanistan has a direct bearing on the India’s security concerns and the first to get pulled in inevitably would be Kashmir.
Ideas, Opinions and Views expressed in articles are Writer’s own and may not be in accord with those of SUBAH KASHMIR