One year of Taliban 2.0
2nd Sep, 2022
As a year after the Taliban returned to power in Kabul, India is concerned about its relations with Afghanistan.
- Due to Afghanistan’s geographic location and influence on Central Asia, it becomes important for India to maintain relations with it.
- In the year 1996, it was the first time when Taliban took over Kabul. Back then, Afghanistan was in ruins, with much of its infrastructure destroyed by raging civil war.
- Over the last two decades, foreign powers including India helped rebuild roads, dams, government offices, hospitals, rural infrastructure, the economy, and education.
- In 2021, the Taliban took over a readymade country. However, the international community has not yet recognised the regime formally, and sanctions, including travel bans on many Taliban, remain in place.
So, let us assess the journey of the Taliban and its policy for the new Afghanistan.
- The Taliban or the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is a Deobandi Islamic fundamentalist, militant Islamist, and jihadist political movement in Afghanistan.
- It ruled approximately three-quarters of the country from 1996–2001, before being overthrown following the United States
It recaptured Kabul on 15 August 2021 after years of insurgency, and currently controls all of the countries.
What is the Taliban’s view on India?
- The Taliban have welcomed India’s return to the land and also expressed the hope that the embassy, which is now headed by a mid-ranking IFS officer, would be upgraded to the ambassadorial level soon.
What is India’s stand on the Taliban?
India is critical to the terror activities of the Taliban, but has due endurances to the fact that it has to maintain ties with Afghanistan due to the following reasons:
- Road to Central Asia: India’s strategic interests in the region, including access to Central Asia, and ensuring that Pakistan is not able to relocate India-focussed terror groups to Afghanistan.
- Geographic significance: Afghanistan enjoys a strategic location in South Asia and is particularly relevant to India as a geographical neighbour.
- The country has the Central Asian Republics to the North, Pakistan to its East, and through Iran and Pakistan the Indian Ocean deeper south.
- Trade partnerships: Afghanistan has been an important trading and craft centre for over 2000 years connecting the civilizations of Persia, and Central Asia with India.
Developments in Taliban during the last one year:
- Taliban introduced or supported punishments in line with their strict interpretation of Sharia law.
- Banned television, music, and cinema, and disapproved of girls aged 10 and over going to school.
- Decimated the rights of women and children" in Afghanistan.
- Civilian casualties, and an increase in human rights violations.
- The unpredictable security environment.
- Threatened the gains made in the standard of living of Afghanistan's people over the two decades after the U.S. invasion.
- Afghan economy had contracted by an estimated 30%-40% since the Taliban takeover in August last year.
- Suspension of most international aid and the freezing of access to Afghanistan's foreign exchange reserves.