1) Hemmed in on all sides

GS2: India & Its Neigbhourhood


  • The author talks about the future of Afghanistan & its Neigbhourhood.

Editorial Insights:

What’s the issue?

  • The fall of Kabul into the hands of the Taliban has raised many concerns.
  • Eventually, those concerns are becoming a reality.
  • What’s happening in Afghanistan?
    • No Stable Leadership,
    • Highly confused signals & guidelines,
    •  Highly decentralized governance in lower levels resulted in each group following its own set of rules.
    • Governance is more focused on policing & punishments.
    • Evolved protection of human rights is missing.
  • At this juncture, Kabul led by the Taliban is under pressure from 4 Directions.
    • Pakistan for security & past links,
    • China for investment,
    • Russia for intelligence,
    • West for the ability to conduct finance globally.

Pakistan & its role in Kabul’s Pandora’s Box:

  • Though Pakistan has claimed victory in the Kabul negotiations but for Pakistan to physically intervene in a leadership crisis indicates its lack of control over the Doha & Haqqani factions.
  • Also, Pakistan still has to persuade the Kabul regime to cater to the Western demands to include ethnic minorities in govt.
  • Further, Pakistan has to deal with an enormous refugee crisis.
    • Because of the Afghan faltering fiscal situation, it expects key assistance from Pakistan.
    • However, Pakistan itself is in dire economic straits due to restrictive IMF conditions & it will be exceedingly difficult to send supplies to Afghan on uncertain terms of payment.
  • Additionally, Pak establishment worried about weak Helmandi Pashtun heading clergy would become strong in the govt & will come under the Indian & Western influence.
  • Pakistan has to be careful in the Afghan crisis due to the following worries about its future:
    • USA’s control of Afghan’s forex & remittances,
    • UN & us Treasury possible sanctions,
    • Potential CAATSA sanctions for any Russian investment,
    • FATF for financial strangulation.
  • At this juncture, the strategic-economic alliance that Pakistan established with China to bind India down to hard borders along its entire boundary just have mitigated by the Taliban victory.
    • However, India now will use its only leftover option that is encouraging Pashtun separatism within Pakistan.
  • Trouble making Haqqanis:
    • Pakistan has lost control over the sudden emergence of Anas Haqqani.
    • The presence of Pakistani asset, ISI groomed Sirajuddin Haqqani is inconvenient to the US.
      • His presence is a danger to the stability of the new Taliban regime.
      • Therefore Pakistan is trying hard to bring Haqqanis on board with the Taliban regime even if the move reduces the chance of recognition & survival of the regime.
        • Because Pakistan believes that if Haqqanis are left out from the equation, it would lead to destabilizing the nascent regime & will be forced to house a dissenting or warring Haqqani faction within Pakistan.

Concluding Remarks:

  • Pakistan’s political obsession to destabilize its neighbours has made its economy fall well behind that of Bangladesh. Pakistan’s victory in Afghanistan might make it a bigger nuisance for India & the region but it is unlikely to reverse the steady relative decline of Pak’s comprehensive national power.


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