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India’s role in Afghanistan


Dec 16, 2010
India’s role in Afghanistan

The Indian Foreign Minister, S M Krishna, concluded his two-day visit to Kabul on Sunday, January 9, 2011. During his stay in Kabul, he met his counterpart Rasool Zalmay and the President Hamid Karzai. The visits to Iran in December last and now the visit to Kabul indicates the anxiety that India is facing with regard to its future in Afghanistan post US withdrawal. When President Obama visited India in November last, he was requested by the Indian leadership to ensure a role for India in Afghanistan before the US withdraws which incidentally, the former promised to look into.

Being sure of the promises, India has started exploiting its own cards and hence the visit to Iran and Afghanistan. The visit to Afghanistan was to convey to the Afghan leadership Indian unease on its decision to seek Pakistan’s help in reconciling with the Taliban for peace in Afghanistan.

A delegation, led by former President of Afghanistan Burhanuddin Rabbani, the head of Afghan Peace Council, constituted for reconciliation with the Taliban was scheduled to visit Pakistan to seek the latter’s help for the same. The Indian foreign minister, while speaking at a joint press conference along with his Afghan counterpart on 9th January in Kabul, said, “Reconciliation efforts between the Taliban and the Afghan government must be led by Kabul”. India remains weary of the future of its billion dollar investment in Afghanistan, which it sees slipping away once the US withdraws from Afghanistan. India, in the name of investment and development in Afghanistan, has placed thousands of RAW agents and other military and paramilitary personnel to safeguard its investment and at the same time recruit persons to carry out terrorist activities in Pakistan from across the Afghan soil.

For the Americans, the last four to five months in Afghanistan were lethal as the number of their dead soared.

The Nato/Isaf forces are still trying to tame Qandahar considered to be the last bastion of Afghan insurgency. The ease with which the foreign forces entered Qandahar in the absence of any formidable resistance indicate that the Taliban have either dispersed or gone into sleep to resurface at the time of their own choosing. The Taliban meanwhile continue to take on the international and Afghan security forces in and around Kabul and elsewhere in the north.

As the time passes, Americans back home are becoming skeptical of the motives of its administration for staying in Afghanistan. They continue to revisit their plans and change strategic direction. For them, the formulations of policies and their subsequent readjustments have not brought them any relief as they have failed them time and again.

The peace situation in Afghanistan probably is at its worst in Afghanistan today as around 29 districts of the 121 key districts are under Kabul’s direct control. Only 23 per cent of the Afghan army and 12 per cent of the police are capable of operating independently. Desertion rates are still 12-17 per cent for the army and the police. Operation at Marjah was partly successful and the ongoing operation at Kandahar has not delivered the desired results either. This dicey security situation in Afghanistan has encouraged India to initiate its diplomatic assault to prevent Kabul government’ leaning on Pakistan for peace. Foreign Minister Krishna’s visit was a warning to the Kabul regime that India will go all out using all its available resources to safeguard its interests in Afghanistan.

India may be in the making of a regional power but with no shared borders with Afghanistan it does not have any legitimate interests therein except to stir instability in Pakistan, by exerting its influence amongst the likeminded Afghans.

India?s role in Afghanistan

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