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Brigadier SK Chatterji (Retd)

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  1. Rabindra

    In the backdrop of this week’s SCO Foreign Minister’s meet , our FM very emphatically called for Taliban to end violence and to return to talks. He stated this when Taliban, in a blitzkrieg had gained control of over one third of the 421 district and started imposing harsh sharia laws. Our FM warned Taliban that the world will not recognise Taliban government in Afghanistan if it came to power by force.

    Taking heed from this warning from the longest standing friend of Afghan people, Taliban on 16 July declared cease fire in the Western provinces and willingness for talks . It appears that soon there will be a major power sharing talks with Afghan Government in Doha.

    China too is appearing as major player in Afghanistan . It has appealed to the Taliban to return to the mainstream of Afghan politics.

    Recently , China complimented the Afghan government for the national unity, social stability, and improvement of people’s livelihood it has achieved . China stated that it expects Afghanistan to put in place a broadly inclusive political arrangement, pursue what it calls a “solid Muslim policy”, combat terrorism and extremist ideologies, and be friendly with all neighbouring countries, pre-eminently the two nations on either side of the Radcliffe Line.
    China has spelt out the future contours of Afghanistan’s domestic and foreign policies, the seemingly intractable Uighur factor being decidedly most sensitive. Recently it also told Taliban to shun all contacts with Uighur Muslim militia group known as the ETIM that is fighting for the independence of the volatile Xinjiang province. Xingjian is becoming Beijing’s Achilles heel as both US and UK have warned importing companies to shun products made with Uyghur slave labour.

    China well understands the importance of Afghanistan in its Belt Road Initiative as a peaceful Afghanistan would usher in peace also in the neighbouring Central Asian Nations, Iran and Pakistan, all important cog in the wheels for in its BRI project . To take Afghanistan in the fold of its BRI, it has built an all weather road to Afghanistan through the scenic Wakhan Corridor.

    Pakistan has been the backbone of Taliban as it has provided it “safe havens’ after its overthrow by ISAF and has provided it wherewith all to wage its battle . Pakistan wants Taliban Government in Afghanistan, mainly to gain ” Strategic Space” against India . It means that it wants to use Afghan soil to hurt India’s interests as it did on 08 July 2008 by bombing Indian embassy in Kabul through one of its terrorist organisation.

    But Taliban well understands the Pak game plan and also understands that India possibly is the only true friend of Afghan people with deep historical ties, in S Asia . It has seen India’s intent in its $3 Bn investment in rebuilding war torn Afghanistan and the good it has done to people. It also understands that in future it needs India’s help to develop Afghanistan .

    Time and again ,during Doha talks , Taliban has talked of a progressive future for Afghanistan. In case it agrees to share power with the Afghan Government, it is hoped that it will adhere to the 2004 Constitution of Afghanistan. In case this happens , it will not need ” safe havens’ in Pakistan .

    With Iran linking the Western province of Afghanistan with rail. Afghan dependence on Pakistan too will reduce . This coupled with its power sharing will make Pakistan less relevant for Taliban .

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