by Brig Arun Bajpai

THIS Friday, the 25 June 2021, US president Joe Biden had a one to one meeting with Ashraf Ghani the President of Afghanistan and Mr Abdulla Abdulla the CEO of Afghanistan, in Oval office in Washington. In this meeting he made it clear to the Afghanistan delegation that his announcement of withdrawal of all American troops from Afghanistan by 11 Sep this year stands unchanged. He however will not abandon Afghanistan and will continue US monitory support of 3.3 billion dollars as also Afghanistan’s security. Now how he will ensure Afghanistan security, despite US troops leaving Afghanistan only he knows. Afghan delegation is also reconciled to US leaving Afghanistan after 20 years of turmoil.

Defence experts feel that Taliban which had till recently in control of 69 districts of Afghanistan out of its 370 districts, have been relentless in their aggression and today have captured 142 districts of Afghanistan. At this rate they feel Taliban will be in full control of Afghanistan in about six month’s time including capital Kabul. Though now the reports are coming in that Government security forces and militias are enhancing their resistance and security forces have recaptured six of their districts from Taliban. There are also reports that even local people are picking up arms against Taliban. Reason is that total control by Taliban means going back to medieval times where women will be denied any education and will be considered as child producing machine as Taliban follows medieval Islam and Sharia laws written 1400 years back. Recent attack of Taliban on a girl’s school of Afghanistan where large number of girls died is case in point

There is just no doubt that it was Pakistan and its Army which created Taliban from the Pashtun recruits which numbered about 3 million and came to Pakistan from Afghanistan due to Soviet invasion there in eighties. Pakistan trained them and Pakistani Army fought with them to capture entire Afghanistan by 1995. Till date Pakistan has been denying presence of Taliban in Pakistan including its top leaders living in Baluchistan town of Quetta. However very recently Pakistan interior minister Sheikh Rashid said that Taliban families are living even in Islamabad and that they are being given medical aid by Pakistani Hospitals. While Pakistani foreign office spokesperson Zahid Hafiz Chudhri has made a recent statement that 5,000 Tehrik-i-Taliban-Pakistan (TPP) fighters are located in Afghanistan which Afghanistan has denied. Truth is that while both Taliban and TPP are made of Pashtuns, officially they are poised against each other. However how much of this is truth is not known because Taliban is a loose alliance which keeps on changing its grouping.

India which during Atal Bihari Bajpai times had said it will not talk to Taliban has very recently opened up talks with Taliban who have already conveyed to India that it wants cordial relations with India. It must be understood that TPP is now pro Afghanistan and Pakistanis say pro India also. As both Taliban and TPP are made of Pashtuns and with greater Pashtun movement going on in Pakistan where Pashtuns want a large area of Pakistan included in Afghanistan, one does not know who is with whom yet. It will be clear after America leaves Afghanistan. India must play it role in full; they should not only talk to Taliban but should also encourage greater Pashtunistan movement in Pakistan so that earlier NW province of Pakistan now renamed as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa should be ceded from Pakistan to join Afghanistan. India should leave no stone un turned to break Pakistan while enjoying tremendous good will in Afghanistan where India has invested 3 billion dollars in infrastructure projects.

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