Afghanistan is a hard country and India has focussed more on soft power: Sushant Sareen

(Sushant Sareen is Senior Fellow at Observer Research Foundation. This column appeared in The Print on August 18, 2021)

  • The writing on the wall is clear. Afghanistan has been abandoned not only by the world powers that promised never to do it again, but also by the Afghan National Army that has simply disintegrated without even putting up a real fight. In time honoured fashion, leaders in provinces cut their side deals, bought their insurance policies, got bribed or convinced, and opened the gates of the cities and garrisons for the Pakistan-backed Taliban militia to takeover. It is now a matter of days before Kabul falls to the Taliban. The way things are heading, one of two outcomes is likely: First, the buzz is that the Americans are leaning upon President Ashraf Ghani to resign and leave. An interim government, probably led by the Taliban, will take over and throw some crumbs at people associated with the ancient regime to keep the fiction of power sharing alive. Perhaps there will be some agreement on giving safe passage to some of the current incumbents and to ensure that there is no large-scale massacre of either soldiers or civilians. Because the Taliban would not have captured Kabul by force but through a ‘negotiated settlement’, it will open doors for international recognition. The Chinese will probably be the first to recognise the Taliban regime, followed by the Pakistanis. The Russians, Central Asians, and perhaps Iran will follow suit…

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