by Brig Arun Bajpai

With second conference held with Taliban representatives in Qatar capital of Doha recently, within three months of first meaningful conference in July, American President Trump has given full indication that he is back to Ex American president Obama's policy of negotiating with Pakistan supported Afghan Taliban, in order to get out of Afghanistan. These developments should be enough hint for India that it should not place all eggs in American Basket and work on its own national interest as US is doing for itself.

It was in 2013, that Americans had embarked on a policy of direct negotiations with Pakistani Protege, Taliban, whose top leaders Pakistani Army houses in its safe houses in Quetta and whose Haqqani network operating in Afghanistan, with their bases in Pakistan, have caused maximum damage to Afghan security forces. For this Americans had chosen Qatar and its capital Doha. already Taliban boasts of a consulate in Doha. Afghan war which commenced in 2001, after bombing out of Taliban government from Afghanistan by Americans, has already lasted 17 long years with heavy loses to American forces. It still continues. In 2014 Americans handed over the conduct of this war responsibility to Afghan security forces, with just keeping 10,000 American troops in Afghanistan in support of afghan forces. However this policy has not succeeded. Afghan forces have suffered tremendous loses against Taliban and both Americans and Afghans have come to the conclusion that these types of losses afghan forces will not be able to sustain for long. Now they have advised Afghan Forces to leave the far flung countryside and concentrate on towns. Matter has been further complicated because both Russia and Iran are helping Taliban in terms of arms and monetary help, to keep pressure on America against sanctions imposed by America on Iran and Russia.

China is a different ball game all together, it is in good books with Taliban, thanks to Pakistan. China has been able to obtain from Taliban a promise that they will not attack Chinese involved in their 3 billion dollar project of copper mining from Afghanistan. china has also offered Taliban as being interlocutor in their talks. china is reportedly also helping Taliban with money, weapons and other resources. Meanwhile American President Trump is trying to side line China with Trade war. He is trying his best to side line Russia by imposing CATSAA sanctions on it, in that any nation getting arms and ammunition from Russia will face this American sanction. India is already in a fix because getting spares of the Russian equipment bought from Russia is very different from India and Russia finalising a 5 billion dollars deal recently with Russia, to import Russian Anti-Ballistic missile system S-400 Triumph. similarly trump has targeted Iran, the third largest oil supplier to India, that any country after November 4, importing oil from Iran will face American sanctions.

All said and done situation is very complicated in Afghanistan. With Afghanistan as epicentre, one will not be wrong in saying that cold war has again started in the world. China, Russia and Iran are helping Taliban to put pressure on America. America is hell bent on isolating China, Russia and Iran. This is bringing them together against America. this is also true that it is most unlikely that American efforts of Taliban conceding sharing power with Afghan Government will succeed. both Pakistan and Taliban does not want this to happen. Pakistan the guardian of Taliban does not want this because it wants Taliban to have three fourth control of Afghan Government, which means within no time it will oust Afghan government to have full control of Afghanistan, through Taliban. As for Taliban with so many victories in Afghanistan against Afghan security forces, it knows that it has an upper hand in Afghanistan, so why should it agree to any thing less. Taliban also knows that America after 17 year of this war in Afghanistan is a tired force and wants to get out of it honourably, it is very important for the Americans to show to their countrymen that this loss of American lives in Afghanistan and money was worth it. Taliban does not want Americans to get this satisfaction.

As for India is concerned it has been all along against Taliban because it does not want a regime next door, who wants to take back Afghanistan to medieval era 1,400 years back, where women were to be killed by stoning. If Taliban again comes to Afghanistan, it will be a disaster for India, having a Radical Islam nation next door aligned to Pakistan. Like US is looking after its national interest, India must look after its must align with Iran and Russia to once again revive Northern Alliance composed of Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara tribes who are located in Northern Afghanistan and constitute 48% of Afghanistan population. It just cannot afford to allow Taliban free run in Afghanistan.

Brig Arun Bajpai (Retd) is a distinguished Defence and Strategic Analyst. Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of IDN. IDN does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same