What is really happening in Afghanistan right now?

International Aug 18, 2021

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Prerequisite knowledge: A significant proportion of the remaining American troops in Afghanistan has recently been withdrawn. This withdrawal marks the end of nearly two decades of US military engagement in Afghanistan.

Biden’s Plan

  • It has advocated an UN-sponsored conference of delegates from Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, India, and the United States to discuss a coordinated approach to aiding peace in Afghanistan.
  • It wants the two parties to reach an agreement for Afghanistan's prosperous future.
  • It asks for a blueprint to a new "comprehensive government" and consensus on the terms of a "durable and comprehensive ceasefire."

Challenges to the stability

The complications are mostly political in nature. By force, the Taliban seek to reclaim authority, and Pakistan's assistance remains a huge source of support for them. In the interim, the arrangement of government set up to a great extent by the Bush organization in 2001 for a ‘post-Taliban Afghanistan’ has posed to be incompetent for satisfying the yearnings of the powerful society that has arisen in the country over the last twenty years. The president embraces totalitarian forces with only him at the centre of power. Past the official royal residence, the Afghan political scene offers a wide scope of perspectives, belief systems and voices clamouring for consideration which must not go unheard.

In the event of withdrawal, the Taliban is getting restless to gamble their future on the battle lines, not at the negotiating table or the polling booth. The dilemma now is whether the Afghan government – or perhaps another international actor – can prevent the Taliban from using bloodshed to hoard power.

Global political theatre

Russia: Russia is wading into the power vacuum created by the US army departure from Afghanistan, with President Vladimir Putin hoping to re-establish influence in central Asia and prevent Islamist extremism from spilling over the border.

Pakistan: Pakistan, along with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, was one of three countries to accept the Taliban rule after it took over Kabul in 1996. It has backed Taliban alliances to counter India's influence in the region and the threat of a Pashtun revolt across the Durand Line, a border between Afghanistan and Pakistan drawn up by British pioneers.

India: India's management of the Taliban is divided into three areas.

1)Securing billions of rupees in Afghan speculations.

2)Preventing a future Taliban system from becoming a pawn of the ISI.

3)Ensuring that Pakistan-sponsored psychological oppressor groups do not receive support from the Taliban.

The unfolding of events

Twenty years after being removed from power in U.S-directed missions, the Taliban rolled on the outskirts of Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, on Sunday, encountering minimal resistance from Afghan government powers. In no time, Afghanistan's Washington-sponsored president had fled the nation and the flag at the U.S. International embassy had been pulled down in the middle of a hasty departure of the politicians.

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani opted to depart to prevent a bloodbath. "Long live Afghanistan," he wrote as he signed off from his position. The Taliban then declared that they had entered the country and were attempting to rebuild peace, order and stability.

This article has been written by Apurva Kale for The Paradigm.

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