The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation has been focused on resolving the Afghan crisis. But divergent views of members and the influence of China and Pakistan have eluded a solution. This has been further impeded by the ongoing sanctions and humanitarian issues which are beyond the organisation's scope.
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A shift is taking place in the business of global dominance and hegemony, from the model of expressing force through troop presence to financial sanctions. But China and Russia, in concert, may provide a way out of the sanctions regime.
Islamabad recently lifted a ban on the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, a violent Islamist group in Pakistan, and released its leader from jail. This is worrisome, with serious implications for India and counterterrorism efforts as a whole, for the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan has emboldened the Pakistani Army to activate its proxies like the Tehreek-e-Labbaik, to advance its domestic political ambitions and openly support extremist organisations.
The Taliban's resurgence since 2001 has been largely funded by the creation of an opium economy and extortion. Now, with the withdrawal of U.S. troops, legitimate aid from Afghanistan and the freezing of Afghan funds abroad, the Taliban will revive its informal sources of finance to stay afloat. A look at the financing that brought the Taliban back to Kabul.
Cyberattacks from Pakistan-based hacker groups targeting India have increased. The stepped-up cyber activity comes in the backdrop of Islamabad's new cyber security policy and expanded digital cooperation with China. India must bolster its existing abilities in cyber forensics and regulations to counter the enhanced Pakistani threat.
China has followed Sun Tzu’s strategy of focussing on alliances - building its own and weakening those of its adversaries. Beijing’s carefully nurtured formations in West and Central Asia are part of this global power projection, especially with Pakistan, Iran and now, the Taliban, through projects like the Belt and Road Initiative. India must recalibrate its China policy and push for concerted regional responses to emerge as a balancing force against it.
This Gandhi Jayanti we talk about Gandhi’s greatest follower - Khan Saheb Abdul Ghaffar Khan, popularly called Badshah Khan or Frontier Gandhi. His inclusive and humanistic interpretation of Islamic Jihad is important, especially in the context of the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan.
After 9/11, the threats to America are right where they were 20 years ago: still in Afghanistan, and now backed by the strength of a state. What happened to America, that “shining city on a hill” that beckoned brightness to its shores and won allies? Some self-delusion, a belief that it was still the global monarch after World War II and the inability to distinguish between friends and foes.
With the Taliban now ensconced in Kabul and being given legitimacy to represent Afghanistan, the worry for New Delhi is the Taliban-affiliated terrorist groups which are already looking eastward to India. This graphic shows the relationship between the terrorist groups in Afghanistan and their anti-India cousins.
The Taliban’s rapid advance towards Kabul shows clear signs of learning from previous failures. The chances of a revival of the old Northern Alliance are minimal. Regional powers are left with the option of maintaining diplomatic contact with the Taliban whilst not taking any assurances on trust.