The 13 America soldiers killed in the suicide bombing at the Kabul airport were all aged between 20 and 30. President Biden warned that none of those who did this will be spared. True to his word, two of the terrorists who planned this suicide attack were killed by a US drone attack, almost immediately. But the damage by then has already been done. Tokenism cannot rectify the failure of a long-term plan.
Sami Sadat, a 3 star general in Afghan army wrote in the New York Times: “So why did the Afghan military collapse? The answer is threefold. First, former President Donald Trump’s February 2020 peace deal with the Taliban in Doha doomed us. It put an expiration date on American interest in the region. Second, we lost contractor logistics and maintenance support critical to our combat operations. Third, the corruption endemic in Mr. Ghani’s government that flowed to senior military leadership and long crippled our forces on the ground irreparably hobbled us.”
People now blame President Biden for the ‘sudden’ withdrawal of the American forces from Afghanistan and the resultant chaos and suffering. The move was certainly ill-timed, but not sudden. America was planning to withdraw for some time now, and the former President Trump’s deal with the Taliban was a clear indication. President was right when he said before the people of American, just after the announcement of the decision to withdraw forces, that the US had no business in trying to stop a civil war in
Afghanistan for eternity. In these trying times of Covid 19, the US had the right to save previous resources. But looking back, one can visualize the extent of the failure of American strategy – in 20 years; there has been involvement of four Presidents, death of thousands of young American soldiers and the expenditure of a few trillion dollars. Some say that this is worse than the Vietnam disaster.
Now one might ask what should be India’s stand. India had sent relief flight for the stranded Indians. The Talibans, who were merciless with the Mujahidins, were surprisingly lenient with the Indians and let them go. Some say, the Talibans have changed and that India might give recognition to the new occupants of Afghanistan.
The country is India’s neighbour, not America’s. So it needs a long term a political strategy. So far India has treated Afghanistan as a friendly neighbour and has made considerable amount of investments there. But will India now treat Taliban-ruled Afghanistan as a friend, when both China and Pakistan have welcomed the change? If we go back to history, Afghanistan is a country where armies have sunk. Earlier it were the Russians, now the Americans.
Afghanistan has been the corridor of all invasions to India in the past. Geo-politically, Afghanistan occupies a vital place for India. So long it has acted as a buffer in the Himalayan region against China and Pakistan. With the Taliban allegiance moving towards the ‘enemies’, the stranglehold on India grows.
India is an active partner in the global fight against terrorism. Though Osama bin Laden was finally killed in a hideout in Pakistan, the earlier suspicion was that he was hiding in Afghanistan. Some say that this Himalayan country is the cradle of world terrorism. India has to think deep before taking any decision on the changing scene in Afghanistan.
India’s presence in the ‘Quad’ needs to be strengthened. The beneficiary so far of all the happenings in the Himalayan region is the dragon country : China.