Taliban Takeover of Afghanistan 2021: Impact on India

avknight1408

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The author of this WSJ column is Afghan ambassador to UAE. Has some interesting information.

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How Pakistan Won in Afghanistan

For decades Islamabad played a double game, hosting the Taliban while posing as a U.S. partner.
The collapse of the Afghan republic was no accident. It was the culmination of many collective failures, but at the heart of the tragedy was the role played by one country: Pakistan.

Pakistan has long followed a dual-track approach in Afghanistan, hosting the Taliban on its soil while ostensibly working as a U.S. counterterrorism partner. When the Doha peace talks began in 2019, Islamabad vowed to facilitate a political deal between the Taliban and non-Taliban Afghans, yet its actual role was ambiguous. In Afghanistan, Pakistan’s spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI, shrewdly expanded the scale and scope of its covert campaign in support of the Taliban.


Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was convinced that the road to peace ran through Pakistan—specifically through Islamabad (the political capital), Quetta (the Taliban haven) and Rawalpindi (the military and intelligence center). Afghan leaders proceeded from the assumption that Pakistan would choose an imperfect settlement with the Taliban over state collapse. This assumption was initially borne out, but when Washington announced a complete troop withdrawal in April, Islamabad changed its tune. Pakistani leaders shifted from facilitating a broader political settlement to supporting a Taliban military victory. The consensus within Pakistani ranks was shaped by the debilitating political crisis of confidence in Kabul, the crippling leadership vacuum within Afghan forces, and the pressure from the Taliban hard-liners that a military solution was possible.
Afghan and Pakistani leadership held serious discussions in the months before Afghanistan’s collapse. As Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, I was privy to these talks. Two sets of specific requests were presented to the Afghan government by Pakistan’s army chief, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, and the intelligence chief, Gen. Faiz Hameed.

The first set of requests concerned the Taliban. During a visit to Kabul in May, the Pakistani generals proposed offering the Taliban every Pashtun-dominated seat in Mr. Ghani’s government. He preferred to hold early elections and snubbed the suggestion, as it would have required handing over control of the presidency, foreign and security ministries, provincial governorships, embassies and the offices of provincial security chiefs. Pakistan had first pitched this idea to some non-Pashtun Afghan leaders. The Pakistani generals also urged Mr. Ghani to release Taliban prisoners, cease special operations and airstrikes, give the Taliban a share in customs revenues, allow them to keep their weapons, and avoid publicly questioning the group’s religious legitimacy. The Pakistanis knew that Taliban sanctuaries inside Pakistan made them look bad, so they asked the Afghans to limit media reports about the havens.

The second set of Pakistani requests concerned bilateral issues such as India’s presence in Afghanistan. Gen. Bajwa wanted to place a Pakistani intelligence liaison team inside Afghanistan to monitor Indian activities. Mr. Ghani requested a reciprocal arrangement—an Afghan team inside Pakistan to watch over the Taliban—with the U.K. acting as a third-party verifier. Gen. Bajwa rejected this idea.

This summer, Pakistan completed construction of a fence along the Durand Line, the 19th-century partition running through the Pashtun heartland. Islamabad wanted a joint security commission to oversee the area. Gen. Bajwa asked the Afghans to secure their side and pay half of the fencing costs. Any bargain presented a risk of de facto recognition of the Durand Line as a border, which Afghanistan rejects. This time it was Mr. Ghani’s turn to say no.

Another sensitive issue involved the presence of the Pakistani Taliban—the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan—and Baloch nationalists in Afghanistan. The Pakistani generals solicited detailed information about support networks for the groups within the Afghan government. The Afghans asked to see Pakistani intelligence findings, but the generals refused. Gen. Bajwa also sought unhindered land access to Central Asia via Afghanistan for purposes of trade. Mr. Ghani, in return, asked for the right to conduct two-way trade with India via the Wagah-Attari border crossing. Gen. Bajwa scotched this request despite Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s 2019 agreement to allow it.

In the end, no progress was made on these issues. By June, as the Taliban military offensive gained steam, none of it mattered. Pakistani intelligence expanded its tactical presence in the Taliban units, especially the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani Network, and a deluge of militant fighters entered Afghanistan. Afghan intelligence indicated that the ISI had galvanized its elaborate network of human informants in major cities, involving local travel agencies, commercial banks, restaurants, hotels, bakeries and taxi drivers. Haqqani Network units were also conducting extensive mapping of government installations and individuals. Elements inside Afghan institutions cultivated by the ISI delivered sensitive information about Afghan officials to Haqqani units. Publicly, this sprawling campaign was overshadowed by Pakistan’s spirited diplomacy. Pakistani officials made boilerplate statements, proclaiming that there could be no military solution to the Afghan problem.

Despite intelligence warnings that the U.S. withdrawal would be calamitous, Afghan leaders failed to make swift adjustments to their approach. Senior officials, who broadly perceived the American withdrawal as a bluff, were either in denial or blinded by subterranean rivalries. In July, as most U.S. operations ended, Kabul had become a political sand castle. The view within the Afghan palace was that Pakistan wanted Mr. Ghani’s head on a stick. In the end, Pakistan succeeded in enabling the Taliban takeover—a victory that Mr. Khan described as “breaking the chains of slavery.”

Pakistan has managed to turn Afghanistan into a puppet. Going forward, Islamabad expects to play the dominant role in managing the Taliban government. But Washington can’t afford to be distracted or politically absent. The U.S. should reassess its fundamental relationship with Pakistan and investigate Islamabad’s role in the Taliban takeover. Meanwhile, Washington should deploy an intelligence-led team to engage the Taliban directly on counterterrorism and avoid the temptation of enlisting Pakistan as a counterterrorism partner.

Mr. Ahmad is a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council. He served as Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, 2020-21.
 

avknight1408

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A repeat of what happened in Iraq.

WSJ - Left Behind After U.S. Withdrawal, Some Former Afghan Spies and Soldiers Turn to Islamic State

Hunted by the Taliban and lacking income, members of disbanded security forces provide recruits for extremist group

KABUL—Some former members of Afghanistan’s U.S.-trained intelligence service and elite military units—now abandoned by their American patrons and hunted by the Taliban—have enlisted in the only force currently challenging the country’s new rulers: Islamic State.

The number of defectors joining the terrorist group is relatively small, but growing, according to Taliban leaders, former Afghan republic security officials and people who know the defectors. Importantly, these new recruits bring to Islamic State critical expertise in intelligence-gathering and warfare techniques, potentially strengthening the extremist organization’s ability to contest Taliban supremacy.

An Afghan national army officer who commanded the military’s weapons and ammunition depot in Gardez, the capital of southeastern Paktia province, joined the extremist group’s regional affiliate, Islamic State-Khorasan Province, and was killed a week ago in a clash with Taliban fighters, according to a former Afghan official who knew him.
The former official said several other men he knew, all members of the former Afghan republic’s intelligence and military, also joined Islamic State after the Taliban searched their homes and demanded that they present themselves to the country’s new authorities.
A resident of Qarabagh district just north of Kabul said his cousin, a former senior member of Afghanistan’s special forces, disappeared in September and was now part of an Islamic State cell. Four other members of the Afghan national army that the man knew
have enlisted in the group, also known as ISIS-K, in recent weeks, he said.

“In some areas, ISIS has become very attractive” to former members of Afghan security and defense forces “who have been left behind,” said Rahmatullah Nabil, a former head of Afghanistan’s spy agency, the National Directorate of Security, who left the country shortly before the Taliban takeover. “If there were a resistance, they would have joined the resistance.” But, he said: “For the time being, ISIS is the only other armed group.”

Taliban forces in early September stamped out a nascent resistance movement in the Panjshir valley led by Ahmad Massoud, a son of anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Massoud who was assassinated by al Qaeda in 2001. Resistance leaders then fled abroad.

The Taliban have long alleged that Islamic State-Khorasan Province was a creation of Afghanistan’s intelligence service and the U.S. that aimed to sow division within the Islamist insurgency, a claim denied by Washington and by Kabul’s former government.

Hundreds of thousands of former Afghan republic intelligence officers, soldiers and police personnel are unemployed and afraid for their lives despite pledges of amnesty from the Taliban. Only a fraction of them, mostly in the National Directorate of Security, have returned to work under Taliban supervision. Like nearly all other Afghan government employees, they haven’t been paid for months.

“It’s exactly how it started in Iraq—with disenchanted Saddam Hussein generals,” a senior Western official warned. “You have to be careful.” The U.S. disbanded Iraq’s security forces after the 2003 invasion of the country. Often with weapons stashed at home and with years of combat expertise, they provided a ready pool of recruits for militant groups, including al Qaeda and the precursor of Islamic State.

In addition to protection from the Taliban, Islamic State is offering significant amounts of cash to its new members in Afghanistan, security officials say. In recent Senate testimony, Colin Kahl, U.S. undersecretary of defense for policy, warned that Islamic State in Afghanistan could generate the capacity to attack the West and allies within six to 12 months.

While the Taliban are highly motivated to go after Islamic State, he added, “Their ability to do so, I think, is to be determined.”


Though the Taliban and Islamic State both say they want to impose a strict Islamic order in Afghanistan, the two groups have deep religious, ideological and political differences. The Taliban mostly follow the Hanafi school of Sunni Islam, believe in an Afghan nation-state and say they seek good relations with all countries, including the U.S. They view the country’s Shiite Hazara minority as fellow Muslims.

Islamic State follows the more rigid Salafi Islamic tradition, considers Shiites to be apostates who should be physically exterminated, and seeks to establish a world-wide Islamic caliphate through military conquest.

While influenced by Islamic State’s original leaders in Syria and Iraq, Islamic State-Khorasan Province was established in 2014 by Afghan and Pakistani Taliban militants who felt the Taliban leadership, by then seeking peace talks with the U.S., wasn’t radical enough. The group controlled several districts of eastern Afghanistan until a Taliban offensive in 2015 dramatically weakened the group.

Islamic State-Khorasan Province, however, has rebounded this year, taking advantage of the collapse of the Afghan republic and the withdrawal of the U.S. counterterrorism presence.


The group killed 200 Afghans and 13 members of the U.S. armed forces at Kabul airport in August, and has since then carried out a spate of attacks on the Taliban, mostly in the eastern province of Nangarhar, but now increasingly often in Kabul. The group also claimed responsibility for bombing Shiite mosques in the cities of Kunduz and Kandahar in October. Those attacks killed well over 100 worshipers.

While the U.S. has begun providing some intelligence on Islamic State to the Taliban, Taliban officials are loath to admit that cooperation and generally dismiss the severity of Islamic State’s challenge.

“We are not faced with a threat nor are we worried about them,” said Mawlawi Zubair, a senior Taliban commander whose 750 men oversee southwestern Kabul and who operates out of the capital’s third police district headquarters. “There is no need, not even a tiny need, for us to seek assistance from anyone against ISIS.”

The area under his supervision includes the Kabul zoo, where a man believed to be an Islamic State militant recently threw a hand grenade into a crowd of Taliban foot soldiers. Former members of the Afghan security forces are “100%” involved in such Islamic State attacks, Mr. Zubair said.

He said Islamic State is also feeding on growing resentment over the country’s economic meltdown that followed the Taliban’s Aug. 15 takeover.

“In the current situation, we are not dealing with a few difficulties, we are facing many,” Mr. Zubair said. “If we get rid of all our economic and administrative problems, ISIS will disappear in 15 days in all of Afghanistan.”
 

Srinivas_K

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That is a good possibility.
These days the forces supporting the Taliban seems spending money to do propaganda. So that their proxies will remain in power.

Taliban are barbarians, isis k and Pakistan are in collusion.
Afghan Army are trained by NATO and India. Their Army officers are a responsible people.

Seems the propaganda department supporting Taliban are planting fake news all over the globe.

Fact is resistance is spreading and hunting Taliban. Taliban government is a weak setup and will not survive the resistance.
 

sorcerer

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Fact is resistance is spreading and hunting Taliban. Taliban government is a weak setup and will not survive the resistance.

Taliban govt is an uneducated bunch who doesnt know how to run a COUNTRY.
pakistan with china is making them as puppets to do their bidding. china is there for natural resources, pakistan as usual is the scavenger.

ISIS K is another front that will give the legitimate color to taliban.
 

Srinivas_K

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Taliban govt is an uneducated bunch who doesnt know how to run a COUNTRY.
pakistan with china is making them as puppets to do their bidding. china is there for natural resources, pakistan as usual is the scavenger.

ISIS K is another front that will give the legitimate color to taliban.
Exactly !
 

avknight1408

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So no Paki rupee?

Taliban govt bans foreign currencies to keep Afghanistan economy afloat

The Taliban government has banned the use of foreign currencies in Afghanistan in a surprise move that could weigh on an economy struggling with a cash crunch and further isolate the country.

The move came as the Taliban were pushing for the release of billions of dollars of reserves overseas, which was frozen by the U.S. and its Western allies since the group swept into the power in August. Without these reserves, Afghanistan has been effectively shut out of the international financial system.

The militant group has ordered the public, including shopkeepers to businessmen, to conduct all trade in afghani currency for the sake of national interests and to help the economic situation, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said.

"The use of foreign currencies has negative effects on the country’s economy,” he said in a statement. “Violators will be dealt with legally.”

It is unclear how the Taliban will enforce this ruling given that Afghanistan’s economy has been propped by U.S. dollars for more than twenty years. Two-thirds of Afghan banks’ deposits and half of the country’s national loans are in U.S. dollars.

The greenback is preferred over the local afghani to pay for imported goods and services as well as big-ticket transactions such as buying a home or paying for private school tuition. The ban could also complicate humanitarian aid from overseas, which will be crucial for the country as a harsh winter approaches.
 

ezsasa

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So no Paki rupee?

Taliban govt bans foreign currencies to keep Afghanistan economy afloat

The Taliban government has banned the use of foreign currencies in Afghanistan in a surprise move that could weigh on an economy struggling with a cash crunch and further isolate the country.

The move came as the Taliban were pushing for the release of billions of dollars of reserves overseas, which was frozen by the U.S. and its Western allies since the group swept into the power in August. Without these reserves, Afghanistan has been effectively shut out of the international financial system.

The militant group has ordered the public, including shopkeepers to businessmen, to conduct all trade in afghani currency for the sake of national interests and to help the economic situation, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said.

"The use of foreign currencies has negative effects on the country’s economy,” he said in a statement. “Violators will be dealt with legally.”

It is unclear how the Taliban will enforce this ruling given that Afghanistan’s economy has been propped by U.S. dollars for more than twenty years. Two-thirds of Afghan banks’ deposits and half of the country’s national loans are in U.S. dollars.

The greenback is preferred over the local afghani to pay for imported goods and services as well as big-ticket transactions such as buying a home or paying for private school tuition. The ban could also complicate humanitarian aid from overseas, which will be crucial for the country as a harsh winter approaches.
there was a rumour in pakiland that taliban were sucking up dollars from paki market, the raids on forex sellers & $ hoarders last month was linked to this.
 

samsaptaka

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There is only one way this will go, the Talib dogs unleashed by the pigs (porkies) will turn on the pigs. We're already seeing this happening, TTP etc.. I predict in another decade talib dogs may overrun the pigs. Question is what will / should we do ?
 

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