Dr Rajan Kotru
As the Talibans took over Afghanistan Post Doha Agreement with the USA in a cakewalk entry and seized Kabul, a rejigged battle-hard group of erstwhile warlords and terrorists have stitched together an interim government. With this the well-fed and well-oiled fighters having exiled for two decades in a homely atmosphere of Pakistan are back at the helm of power of sheer terror. China and Russia have already shown willingness to nurture Taliban Government with investments and humanitarian aid. Pakistan has prepared especially the grand entry of China with a masterly craftsmanship of not only creating but also playing the dice of geopolitics that has clear message to India on Jammu and Kashmir. Overtly fuelling dissidence and violence in Kashmir for decades and yet nowhere is the cherished dream of annexation our land.The last resort for its secret service ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan) and military now is to covertly instigate and use selected groups within the Taliban stoking fire in Kashmir yet again.Whether the dodgy and mixed statements given by the Taliban have real or unreal meaning, India should expect that the scope of ancient Gandhar’s Naresh “Shakuni of Mahabharata Epic” revisiting us with the sense of revenge that will be hidden in its crafty and devious methods playing the religious card. So-called inclusive government has the blessing of Al Quaeda and Islamic State under a “Pledge of Allegiance” going back to Osama Bin Laden’s era as BBC reported recently in one of its analysis on whether the Taliban will be ruling with terror and torture. Mama Shakuni could not fulfil his aim of destroying Hastinapur. In other words, Bharatvarsha could not be messed up with by Pakistan despite inflicting serious wounds on our secular and peaceful fabric. In today’s context, we are being told that the Taliban have changed though almost half the nominated members of their Interim Government facilitated by the ISI of Pakistan- as clearly reported by world press, have a feisty record of blasting and hanging innocents to death, whipping women in public, smuggling drugs, and cutting hands against petty crimes etc.
But let us give the benefit of doubt for now, as we say, ‘Every Saint has a past and Every Sinner has a future”. To emerge saintly in times to come though appears to be massively doubtful, as early analysis clearly shows the steering power of ISI in shaping the interim government having even UN-listed terrorists as its integral members.
Having elements within the Taliban, who see China as “Brother in Arms” and want to carve the terroristic route to Kashmir in stealth need only to draw inference from Uyghurs situation in Xinjiang Province. It is where China has been accused of committing crimes against humanity and possibly genocide against the Uyghur population and other mostly-Muslim ethnic groups. A UN human rights committee in 2018 said it had credible reports that China was holding up to a million people in “counter-extremism centres” in Xinjiang (BBC June 2021). Neither Pakistan and nor most of the Islamic world had guts to question China on its wrongdoing. It is obvious that China does not want a spill-over of Taliban-ism to Uyghur province and has to declare big early financial support to Afghanistan. USA might have left Afghanistan in a “Sudden Death Goal” like situation hurriedly hoping that the next group of Taliban will become an ‘Achilles heal’ for the region and especially China, but we are also aware that China does not invest in dead assets. It makes you economically dependent, uses your resources and then makes you indebted so that political control on the dependent nation is complete. As an instance, Bangladesh was openly threatened by China on its hobnobbing with “QUAD”(Four Democratic Countries Coalition in Indo-Pacific: India, Australia, Japan, USA sharing a vision of an open and free Indo-Pacific).
On the contrary, while using its Belt and Road Initiative as a “Trojanic Horse” it might want to convert Afghanistan into yet another “North Korea under Totalitarian Dictatorship” that has similarities with Character of Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus of the 1976 Movie “Pink Panther Strikes Again”. The villain organizes an elaborate criminal plot to threaten the countries of the world with annihilation by a massive laser weapon if they do not assassinate Inspector Clouseau, who all along rides on his luck despite his imbecile acts. Nevertheless, as a further counter measure to neutralise “QUAD Influence” along its disputed borders, Afghanistan can provide a ready reckoner. However, China’s economic interests are supreme as that is the key for its silent rise to Supreme Power that has now asserted its more than open willingness to dominate this world, economically and militarily.
India’s plain message to Taliban should be that under brutal Afghan rule of early 19th Century, all Jammu and Kashmir has suffered and yet through our resilience we maintained secular fabric of our society, strengthened religious harmony, preserved Sufi Islam, and we evolved intellectually and culturally as one of the prime societies of India and the whole South Asia. We would be happy keeping ourselves distanced from the forces that preach hatred, terror and discrimination. We would not like to compromise on the dignity and freedom of our women, we would not compromise on the intellectual future of our children, and we would not shun the path of communal brotherhood and social amity. Finally, we would like to remain pious with our quest for more knowledge, skillfulness of our youth, free of arms and ammunition that kills and disables, and prime society that does not discriminate on the basis of religion.
Hence,I request the so-called rejigged Taliban to take care of its poor, discriminated women and minorities, hugely degraded natural ecosystems, drug addicts and suppliers, disabled people, and many more. Common man in Afghanistan and Pakistan as I have seen in my several visits wants peace and prosperity and loves India due to our culture of secularism, refuge for tortured humans across the globe, and well-established democratic system. You must take your own decisions rather than that of neighbouring manipulators, as we all need peace and prosperity, and freedom of expression which only great nations like India provides in this region.
(The author is Lead Strategist: Redefined Sustainability Thinking)
Dr Rajan Kotru