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India Needs To Reach Out To Regional Partners To Tackle The Taliban Issue

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“You can’t keep snakes in your backyard and expect them to bite only your neighbours.”

This line aptly justifies the tacit and unhindered support of the Taliban by Lahore, Moscow and Beijing in Afghanistan. It is believed that the Taliban would dance on their tunes once they fully control the throne and they would be spared by the wrath of this poisonous snake (Taliban), but it is their fallacy as its plinth is soaked in human blood since its birth. So, it is impossible to bifurcate them from violence.

Representative Image.

Moreover, the main aim of its creation was to oust the Soviet Union from Afghanistan during the cold war era (1979). Therefore, to accomplish this mission, America, with the help of Pakistan, funded and trained the Mujahideen excessively with money and high-tech arms and ammunitions in order to deal with the Soviet Union.

In this fight, a small group called the Taliban also accompanied the Mujahideen. Consequently, they ousted the Soviets successfully in 1989. However, this withdrawal resulted in two things. Firstly, the Taliban occupied the throne of Afghanistan and formed a theocratic government. Secondly, America established its hegemony across the world by using them as bait.

And gradually, when the objectives of the U.S.A. were met, it tried to destroy the Taliban and Mujahideen by cutting off its oxygen like funds, arms and all the necessary items. Meanwhile, the U.S.A. developed some differences with Al-Qaida. As a result of which Al-Qaeda destroyed the gigantic World trade centre and Pentagon.

This resulted in a huge loss of 3,000 lives and a plethora of properties. After this attack, Al-Qaeda sought refuge in Afghanistan with the help of the Taliban. Moreover, instead of getting killed, it became Frankenstein’s monster and started devouring its master.

This step of the Taliban to give shelter to Al-Qaeda annoyed the Americans a lot. Eventually, they started a full-fledged war against the Taliban with the motive to annihilate them completely. So, they came to Afghanistan in 2001 to take revenge. Gradually it started eliminating terrorist and their organisations and established normalcy to a great extent in 2 decades of its rule in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, it also replaced the theocratic rule of the Taliban and established a functional Democracy. The U.S.A. also killed one of the dreaded terrorists Osama Bin Laden. However, they were not able to wipe out the Taliban completely because they crossed the Durand line where Pakistan and ISI sheltered and nurtured them.

Moreover, they supplied an arsenal of arms and ammunition to launch their clandestine operations. As a result, the Taliban resurrected. The motive of Pakistan behind this is to use the Taliban against India. Eventually, this helped them to gain the lost territories of Afghanistan with the gradual withdrawal of American and NATO forces from Afghanistan.

Taliban fighters
Representative Image.

Finally, on 15 August, 2021, the Taliban took control of the whole nation, including Kabul, from the Afghan army. This happened within a week after the complete withdrawal of the American and NATO forces.

On the one hand, India celebrated its independence and freedom, but on the other hand, the people of Afghanistan lost their freedom and liberty. This was an ironic and bizarre coincidence as it happened on the same day.

The contemporary situation is very disastrous as the people are going through pandemonium and chaos. Though power transition was peaceful as there was no such major confrontation between Afghan forces and the Taliban. But this transition was egregious.

The arrival of the Taliban reminded us of the callous rule of the Taliban before the 2000s. The brutality inflicted by them upon female and marginalised sections of society was beyond our comprehension. Unfortunately, the era of the same regime is now back with more stringent, unscientific and obsolete rules and laws to snatch away even the bare minimum human rights of the people of that country.

The scenes, footage and videos coming from Afghanistan are really very disturbing and debilitating. Again, women would not be allowed to go outside (for education and sports) and cherish their dreams of hope and prosperity. Similarly, the minorities would be persecuted in the name of blasphemy.

There would be constant and consistent violations of human rights. Undoubtedly, the interplay of all these factors would increase poverty and unemployment at jet-propelled speed.

Representative Image. (Source: flickr)

Against this backdrop, India’s role becomes very important to save the people from the biggest humanitarian crisis and its interests there. Furthermore, it has made a $3 billion investment in different projects of Afghanistan in 20 years under the shield of the U.S.A.

Approximately 400 projects are present, which are distributed across 34 of its provinces. The major projects are Salma Dam, Zaranj-Delaram highway and the Afghan parliament. Now, these projects are in a state of jeopardy with the arrival of the Taliban along with their theocratic and obsolete rule.

Now, it is high time for the world to realise that the Taliban is a terrorist organisation that killed thousands of people worldwide, so it will remain the same irrespective of the power they occupy. It will support the terrorist organisations across the world more conspicuously and meticulously, including the separatist Uighur.

In addition to this, China and other countries are planning to invest in infrastructure to widen their horizon of business and connectivity, but in these circumstances, it is impossible to make such attempts there as it can ruin their diligent efforts.

Seeing the contemporary situation in Afghanistan, it is indispensable to protect Indian investment and long endured relations, so India should bring the Taliban for talks by any hook or crook. But this is a herculean task as it is backed and supported by Pakistan and ISI. They never want a prosperous and enriching relation of Afghanistan with India.

To achieve the same, India should bring Russia, China, Pakistan and other Asian countries for a comprehensive talk through RCEP (Regional comprehensive economic partnership). In this process, China and Russia can play a major role by flexing their muscles so that the hostilities in Afghanistan can be pacified and a peaceful transition of power can take place and a fair government could be established.

Moreover, this will increase the accountability towards the innocent citizens of Afghanistan.

As we know, Afghanistan is known as the graveyard of the empires. Previously, Britain and the Soviet Union lost the battle. Now the U.S.A. lost this fight against the Taliban in spite of the mammoth expenditure. In the same way, Pakistan and China will lose this battle as the precedent is crystal clear.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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