Talibans are back

There are perhaps many factors that led to the unexpected and express capitulation of Afghanistan’s U.S.-trained forces, who appeared more intent on avoiding any confrontation with the rag tag Talibans. One of the factors that led to rapid collapse of the three to four lakh strong Afghan military against hardly seventy thousand rag tag Talibans, is the lack of will and purpose to fight and the absence of ground and air support from the US military. After US president Joe Biden ordered total withdrawal of all US personnel, the Afghan army was deprived of ground support, the most vital fighting component. The Afghan army was trained, armed and funded by the US. The Aghan army personnel even begun to adopt the American fighting –style that is most unsuited in Afghanistan. Also, those who joined the Afghan army were motivated by the handsome salary earned while Afghans who joined the Talibans were driven by a sense of nationalism to drive the foreign invaders out. The majority of Afghans, who have been beneficiaries of twenty years of American and western aid and development, are the biggest losers and will have to live on hopes that their fates under the Taliban will not be as terrible as in the past. The Taliban have gained a reputation for brutality and enforcement of a harsh brand of Islamic justice in the five years they ruled until being toppled by invading U.S.-led forces in 2001. Of all, the Taliban of the past were infamous for denying education to women, carrying out public executions of their opponents, abduction of teenage girls for forced marriages with Taliban fighters, persecuting minorities, such as the Shiite Hazaras, and destroying priceless ancient giant stone Buddhas at Bamiyan. Even though the Talibans now are trying to project themselves as slightly more restrained; yet in the areas of the country where they have regained control, they have been executing people summarily, lashing women, shutting down schools and blowing up hospitals and infrastructure. The Talibans are worst face of conservative Islam; they are blood thirsty terrorists who have no human compunction to carry out atrocities in the name of their religion. Therefore, there’s no guarantee that Afghanistan wouldn’t once again become a safe haven for terrorists- either those intent on doing harm to the U.S. or other foreign powers even including India. With the Talibans now in control of Afghanistan, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI- the country’s equivalent of the CIA-will be very much in the thick of things. ISI is widely believed to have helped the Taliban by deputing senior Pakistani army officers to command Taliban units or provide guidance for the takeover in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s military, in particular, has long viewed an ideologically and religiously like-minded Afghanistan as a necessary bulwark against its traditional rival, India. Afghanistan under the Talibans this time could be different because both Russia and China are more than willing to do deals for trade. China in particular, has reportedly promised big investments in energy and infrastructure projects, including the building of a road network in Afghanistan and is also eyeing the country’s vast, untapped, rare-earth mineral deposits. Also Beijing was already reportedly preparing to formally recognize the Taliban before the group seized control of the country. India should be concerned about the Pakistan-China nexus in Afghanistan since it will have a global impact on geo-politics in the region.