The export of jehad has worked for Pakistan, and India needs to be cognisant of the dangers ahead.
Zahir ud Din Muhammad, Babur to us in India, was born in February 1483. He became Ruler of Ferghana at 11 and of Samarkhand when he was 14. He lost both by the time he was 19 and then turned his attention to Kabul, capturing it in 1504. He went on to conquer Hindustan when he was 43 and could never go back to his beloved Ferghana. He died in Agra at 47 and lies buried in Kabul. A descendant of both Timur and Genghis Khan, he is a national hero in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.
In 1994, Taliban emerged as a force which sought to free Afghanistan of corrupt warlords and establish an Islamic form of government.
Initially, they were a force for the good, pushing out warlords and bringing in a semblance of justice. This created a halo around its leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, but what is less well-known is that Omar was trained by the ISI — and that his cadres were Pashtuns educated in Pakistani madrassas.
Moving to the present, the US engagement with Taliban has hit an impasse. There is nothing new emerging from the US stable but a re-tinkered Doha with an attempt to shift responsibility to the UN. Simply put, the US is fatigued and seeking the fastest exit, for which, contrary to their own doctrine, they are negotiating with terrorists — and in the process, undermining democracy.
The new formulation is said to give the Taliban a 50 percent share in governance, up from Trump’s formula which was said to be a third. Biden’s administration, however, seems to have focused on an inclusive interim administration, whereas Trump’s structure had Taliban heading an Iran style advisory council with the Republic looking after governance.
Why the US Has Itself to Blame
Side-stepping Biden’s much-talked-about focus on democracy, the US is calling for the Afghan government to quit to accommodate the Taliban.
President Ashraf Ghani has countered with a suggestion that he would go in for early elections, confident that the Taliban would fare poorly. Obviously, neither the Taliban nor the US would want that.
The US has itself to blame. The Trump administration, helmed by their Special Representative, Zalmay Khalilzad, behaved appallingly with the Afghan government.
The Afghan NSA was virtually declared persona non grata, decisions were taken without consultations, and the Republic was arm-twisted into making concessions such as releasing Taliban prisoners in the hope that it would lead to a reduction of violence. It did not.
Unfortunately, the US refuses to recognise, and continues not to acknowledge, that much of the violence and the Taliban’s position of strength is derived from Pakistani support.
It also tried to whitewash the image of some of those they were negotiating with. Despite a whole body of evidence dating back to the Salala skirmish in 2011, the US has not spoken out about LeT activity in Afghanistan or LeT’s involvement with the Islamic State and the Taliban.
It’s as if a virtual free pass has been given to Pakistan to use the LeT.
This article first appeared in The Quint.