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Could withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan impact India?

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Abhishek Parmar
Abhishek Parmar
Third Year Law student from JAGRAN LAKECITY UNIVERSITY, Bhopal

US after spending almost $ 2 trillion (Rs. 14,93,08,00,00,00,000) on their troops in Afghanistan in the last two decades finally decided to bring all of them back by 11 September 2021. Since a week after the 9/11 attack in America in which nearly 3,000 people killed, the US had airstrikes in Afghanistan and deployed their troops to kill the mastermind of 9/11 attack Osama Bin Laden and removal of radical Islamic terrorist organizations (Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-taiba). Along with US its NATO allies also deployed their troops.

The peace deal

Withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan was a priority of Trump administration. After lot many meetings and negotiation lately on 29 February 2020 an agreement signed between the United State and Taliban by special representative khalilzad signed a formal agreement in Doha with Taliban deputy political leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in front of a number of international observers (The Peace deal).

Accordingly US and its NATO allies would have to withdraw all their troops within 14 month from Afghanistan, removal of sanction on Taliban leaders and release of prisoners held by both the sides and ceasefire in Afghanistan And Taliban will not allow any of its members, other individual or groups including Al-Qaeda to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United State and it allies. However, the Afghanistan government was completely sideline during the talks between the US and the Taliban. Therefore the future for the people of Afghanistan is uncertain and will depend on how the Taliban honours it commitment. US President-elect Joe Biden’s new administration has given green signal to the deal after a halt due to the election in US. They have fixed 11 September 2021 dateline for the return of remaining troops from Afghanistan.

Threat to India

The first and the foremost risk is terrorism (Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed), while the US-Taliban agreement state that the Taliban will prevent terrorism outfits from operating on Afghan soil, there is a little clarity on how the agreement will be verified and enforced. The Taliban group is making money to the tunes of $1.5 billion through the drugs trade, As Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer of opium and most of opium puppies used for heroines are grown in Taliban held areas. This money they are using for jihadist terrorism and radical Islamic terrorism.

The second risk is that the good influences of Pakistan’s inter-services intelligence (ISI) which shares an undeniable link with the Taliban (especially the Haqqani group) and Pakistan also responsible for funding of money and weapons to Taliban. So Pakistan with or without the help of Taliban continue to be throw the Jihadis violence in Jammu and Kashmir, the fact of the matter is that India’s problem in Kashmir originate and emanate from Pakistan.

The third risk to India is that India has invested billions of dollar to the development of Afghanistan. About more than $ 3 billion aid to Afghanistan so far. Due to which Parliament house, roads and dams have been built in Afghanistan and still working on around 116 Community development project (this includes education, health agriculture, irrigation drinking water, renewable energy, sports and construction of administrative infrastructure). But there is a possibility that the peace agreement may result in part of the Taliban return to Kabul and control over Afghanistan which led to huge losses to India.

Defending strategy for India

Broader Diplomatic Engagement: India should consider appointing a special envoy dedicated to Afghan reconciliation. The envoy can ensure that Indian views are expressed at every meeting, broaden engagement with the Afghan government and other political actors, and reach out to certain Taliban representatives.

Continued Training and Investments: India should provide more military training to Afghan security forces and invest in longer-term capacity-building programs. It should actively support and invest in the National Directorate of Security (for example, by providing training and sharing intelligence). Finally, given the continued levels of violence and the impact of the coronavirus on the Afghan economy, India should expand its development assistance.

Working With and Through Others: India should look to broaden its engagements with Iran and Russia, explore opportunities for cooperation (as limited as they might be) with China, and find common ground with the United States on Afghanistan’s future. This does not mean forcing competing interests to align; it means investing in a wider diplomatic initiative with the view to carve out areas of convergence.


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Abhishek Parmar
Abhishek Parmar
Third Year Law student from JAGRAN LAKECITY UNIVERSITY, Bhopal
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