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India major loser in Taliban’s Afghanistan takeover, says leading South Asian strategic expert

Carol Christine Fair lauds New Delhi’s generosity in offering emergency and free visas to those stranded in Kabul, showing itself as a global leader, even as European nations have abdicated their responsibilities

August 18, 2021 / 12:17 PM IST

India is the worst loser in the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan with Pakistan and China as the principal gainers say a leading South Asian strategic expert.

"It is a kind of ghar wapsi for the Talibs (Islamic seminary students) to the Jaish e Mohammed (JeM) and the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP),’’ said C Christine Fair, American political scientist.

India will be left with the least favorable options as Russia and China are sure to recognize the Taliban soon, she told Moneycontrol.

For China it adds up: the resources of Afghanistan will be in close proximity to its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) infrastructure project, Fair said.

Look at it anyway, it is a win-win for China, while sadly, India is the big loser, she said.


There can be no doubt that Pakistan is the major force behind the Taliban. Without Pakistan’s intelligence and military establishment’s unstinting support for the Taliban, the group would be a nuisance rather than an effective fighting force, said Fair, also an associate professor in the Security Studies Program within the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

Nonetheless, India is the only responsible actor right now in Afghanistan, offering emergency and free visas to Afghans – and not just to Hindus and Sikhs who live there, she said.

Fair tweeted: `Good luck and Jai Hind. The world, I hope, will remember India's generosity. This is what global leaders do. They lead. Unfortunately, European countries view Afghans as a threat and not embracing these victims of a regime they helped install. ‘

During the last 20 years, Pakistan has continued to recruit, train, and mission numerous Islamist terror groups operating in India and Afghanistan.

It has feted terrorist leaders as national heroes, going so far as to request the United Nations permit Hafiz Saeed, leader of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and a United Nations Security Council-designated terrorist, to access his frozen accounts for basic expenses.

Highly critical of the US, Fair wrote in the Foreign Policy, the global American news publication, co-founded in 1970 by Samuel P Huntington: ``U.S. officials are busy offering sanctimonious repines that justify the U.S. exit.

They have announced to U.S. and international audiences that the time has come for Afghan National Security Forces to seize the reins of their nation’s defense, that Afghan leaders must unite and fight for their country—that the United States has done enough. This is rank nonsense, and Biden knows it. The United States did not do enough—and even enabled the current onslaught.”

She continues: "Biden did not come to this situation unawares. The Obama administration in which Biden served benefited from a raft of experts, including former CIA analyst Bruce Riedel and long-time South Asia watcher Peter Lavoy, who was the national intelligence officer for South Asia. Prior to the 2008 election, there were numerous assessments about the Afghanistan War and the myriad ways in which Pakistan was undermining U.S. efforts there.’’

Washington ignored Islamabad’s funding and supplies to the Taliban and now Afghans are paying the price, said Fair.

In her view, history appears to be repeating itself. The US walked out of Afghanistan in 1990 and made Pakistan the custodian of Afghanistan’s future. Today, Fair points out, it is repeating the same mistake.

The US has steadfastly refused to do the one thing it could have done long ago: targeted sanctions against those in Pakistan’s deep state who sponsor Islamist militants.

In return, she says, Pakistan has benefited enormously from US emoluments, while at the same time undermining Washington’s efforts in the region.
Ranjit Bhushan is an independent journalist and former Nehru Fellow at Jamia Millia University. In a career spanning more than three decades, he has worked with Outlook, The Times of India, The Indian Express, the Press Trust of India, Associated Press, Financial Chronicle, and DNA.
first published: Aug 18, 2021 12:17 pm

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