Advantage Pakistan? US puts India in a tough spot by leaving Afghanistan in haste


Afghan Special Forces attend their graduation ceremony in Kabul

India has its embassy in Kabul along with the consulates in Kandahar and Mazar where it has over 500 staff deployed. Two consulates in Herat and Jalalabad had ceased operations earlier there

Our Bureau
Kabul/New Delhi

Due to the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan’s Kandahar, some staff of the Indian embassy has been evacuated, said diplomatic sources. Meanwhile, the emergency services of the consulate remain operational. However, diplomatic sources stated that reports of shutting of Indian Consulate in Kandahar, Afghanistan are incorrect. And the mission remains functional, they added.

India had earlier hinted that it will bring back its nationals and officials from Afghanistan if the security situation worsens as the Taliban is making advances and capturing more provinces. “With the Afghan security situation deteriorating, plans have been discussed for bringing back our citizens and officials present in different parts of that country and multiple agencies are in discussion for this purpose,” sources said.

India has its embassy in Kabul along with the consulates in Kandahar and Mazar where it has over 500 staff deployed. Two consulates in Herat and Jalalabad had ceased operations earlier there.

The country, which has had a big presence in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001 following the US invasion, has been helping the successive governments there including the members of the northern alliance who have been friends with India for a long time.

Describing the security situation in Afghanistan as fluid and deteriorating, the Afghan envoy to India Farid Mamundzay has said the Taliban need to cease violence and there should be an end to the bloodshed. “More than 200,000 Afghan civilians are displaced already. There is an active fight going on between Afghan forces and Taliban fighters in 200 districts out of a total of 375. There is also trouble in 18 border districts that share a border with several countries Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Iran,” the envoy said.

Considering that the complete withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan will end in August, the Taliban have been capturing newer districts and areas at a lightning speed and the Afghan government forces are also fleeing from a number of places there.

United States Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban group’s top political leader signing a peace agreement between Taliban and U.S., in Doha (ANI Photo)

India has worked immensely for the redevelopment of Afghanistan and helped it to construct Parliament building along with several roads connecting important cities of the war-torn country. But the sudden departure of the US forces from Afghanistan has created a big vacuum and the Taliban is trying to capture as much areas as they can. This has created a problem for India and other countries.

The withdrawal of the US forces from Afghanistan is too hasty as soldiers leave a lot of machinery and equipment behind, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday. “The Americans made a lot of things to understand over the 20 years of their presence in Afghanistan, starting with the declaration of the victory of democracy and ending with such a rather hasty withdrawal, abandoning a huge amount of equipment and other equipment,” Lavrov said during a press conference.

In a related development, the proposal made by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to US President Joe Biden last month on the sidelines of a NATO summit that Turkey could undertake the security of the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul after NATO’s withdrawal from Afghanistan could be a bargaining chip for improving Ankara’s relationship with Washington but given the resurgence of the Taliban it could turn into a nightmare in the long run, unless it is handled very skillfully and with the utmost caution.

Ankara’s proposal to secure Kabul’s airport, after the withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan by August 31, raises questions about the risks it is prepared to take, what logistical and other support is going to get from the US for the whole operation, what the Biden administration is prepared to do on the contentious issues between Ankara and Washington and what actual support Turkey may be given on the ground. Moreover, Turkey must take seriously into account the risks involved in the whole operation and the possibility of having to confront other regional players, like Pakistan, Russia, Iran, and China.

Meanwhile, amid the uncertainty surrounding the peace prospect in Afghanistan ahead of fast approaching deadline of US troop’s withdrawal, Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen has said Pakistan is welcome to help the group arrive at a negotiated settlement but it “cannot dictate to us or impose its views on us.”

During an interview with Pakistan’s Geo News on Sunday, Shaheen said, “They can help us in the peace process but can’t dictate to us or impose their views. And this is against international principles.” Over the Taliban’s demand for an Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the spokesperson said having an emirate is “a legitimate right of the people of Afghanistan”.

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