India's Taliban Problem
The Taliban’s victory over the United States in Afghanistan will not only greatly embolden their fellow jihadists, but also shake up the region’s geopolitics. In particular, an Afghanistan-Pakistan-China axis involving policy coordination would represent a major risk for India.
NEW DELHI – In the weeks since the Taliban’s theocratic terrorists returned to power in Kabul, the people of Afghanistan, particularly its women and girls, have been subjected to unimaginable suffering as the world’s attention turns to other issues. But many other countries, and especially India, have reason to worry.
The Taliban’s victory, following 20 years of unsuccessful American-led “nation-building” efforts in Afghanistan, will not only greatly embolden their fellow jihadists, but will also shake up the region’s geopolitics. For evidence of the destabilizing impact of Kabul’s fall, just look at the reactions of Afghanistan’s neighbors.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s response – notably his statement that the Taliban’s return to power was akin to throwing off “the shackles of slavery” – highlights what was already known: Taliban-run Afghanistan will be a creature of Pakistan. When the Taliban ruled the country from 1996 to 2001, their “Islamic Emirate” functioned as a wholly owned subsidiary of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency. This time, Pakistan’s control is supposedly a little less absolute, but that did not prevent ISI chief Faiz Hameed from traveling to Kabul soon after its fall to preside triumphantly over the formation of the new Taliban government.