Exclusive: ‘Peace on India borders won’t last long if…’ – Ex-diplomat on New Delhi’s Kabul quagmire

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid speaks to Badri 313 military unit at Kabul airport in Afghanistan on August 31st. (Reuters photo)

Afghanistan once again became ‘graveyard of empires’ as the C-17 Globemaster flew out from Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport taking the very last American soldier during the midnight hours of August 30. This last flight ended America’s ‘Longest War’. With Afghanistan completely under the control of the Taliban, a lot is being discussed among the world power as to how the global forum must understand and tackle the Afghan crisis. India, one of the regional powers, has a lot at stake when it comes to the current situation in Kabul. Like others, India is also watching closely to see whether the ‘graveyard of empires’ would deteriorate into the top exporter of terrorists around the globe. Any change in the security equation in Kabul will directly impact New Delhi.

To look at the future roadmap and understand the Afghan puzzle, Financial Express Online’s Huma Siddiqui spoke with retired Ambassador Anil Trigunayat. An expert on West Asia, Trigunayat has been an Ambassador to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Libya and Malta.

Watch the full interview here

What happens after August 31st?

When asked about the immediate concern regarding the crisis in Kabul, the former diplomat said that “it will be more of the same.” The Ambassador also said that “the Americans have a left a complete limbo as far as the security environment is concerned. There was no Plan B except for the exit.”

What about Taliban 2.0?

Talking about the domestic atmosphere in Afghanistan, Ambassador Trigunayat said that the main problem will be between the Taliban, the al Qaeda and the ISIS-Khorasan. The key issue, according to the diplomat is about ‘philosophy.’ He says that while the Taliban is strictly looking at the situation within Afghanistan, “they are not looking to go outside.” Whereas, al Qaeda and the ISIS-K have ‘global ambition.’

Will dynamics in Kabul affect peace at Indian borders?

“We have a little bit of peace on our borders at the moment. But that won’t last too long if Pak-based groups that were sent across the border in Afghanistan are allowed to come back. Because these groups can used to create a problem on the Indian border.”

What should India do?

The wait and watch approach is fine. The covert approach is very good, the ex-diplomat said. He also added that India should work extensively on humanitarian aid to Afghanistan whenever the situation becomes more conducive.

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