India fears for Afghanistan after NATO pullout

By AFP
Published: May 31, 2012

Pakistan may encourage Taliban to take over Afghanistan again for its own geopolitical reasons: BJP lawmaker. PHOTO: FILE

WASHINGTON: India called Wednesday for greater coordination with the United States on Afghanistan, voicing fear that militants would gain strength once Western forces pull out.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) leaders in a May 21 summit in Chicago committed to pulling combat troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014 as Western nations grow tired of more than a decade of war and pessimistic on the chances of further progress.

India is one of the most vocal supporters of continued engagement and has given Afghanistan more than $2 billion since the US-led invasion in 2001 overthrew the Taliban regime, which sheltered virulently anti-Indian militants.

Ahead of high-level annual talks between India and the United States on June 13, Nirupama Rao, New Delhi’s ambassador to Washington, said the two nations have been holding talks on building “a stable, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan.”

“These consultations must be strengthened,” Rao said at the Atlantic Council, a think tank.

“We understand that after 10 long years of war there is a manifest and genuine desire to seek an end to conflict. But equally, we must ensure that the enormous sacrifices and efforts of the past decade have not been in vain,” she said.

“Given the history of the last few decades in Afghanistan and the tide of extremism and radicalism that has swept across that country to the great detriment of its men, women and children, one cannot but help be concerned about what the future holds for that country” after the Nato pullout, she said.

India’s involvement in Afghanistan has enraged neighboring Pakistan, which helped create the Taliban regime and accuses its historic rival of seeking to encircle it.

The United States partnered with Pakistan after the September 11, 2001 attacks. But relations have plummeted, with US concerns about Pakistan’s orientation soaring after US forces found and killed Osama bin Laden near the country’s main military academy last year.

The United States has welcomed India’s contributions in Afghanistan but some US policymakers believe that Pakistani intelligence has maintained links to Islamic extremists due to a fixation on New Delhi’s influence.

Yashwant Sinha, a lawmaker from India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, was blunter about fears on Afghanistan during a separate appearance in Washington at the Brookings Institution.

“I have great fears that Pakistan, for its own geopolitical reasons, might want to encourage Taliban to again take over Afghanistan,” said Sinha, who served as foreign and finance minister when his right-leaning party was in power from 1998 to 2004.

Sinha said Afghanistan lacked a sufficient military – or an anti-Taliban force, such as the Northern Alliance which enjoyed Indian, Iranian and Russian support before the war – to withstand an assault.

“I don’t see any local resistance building up immediately if the Taliban were to attempt to overrun Afghanistan,” Sinha said.

“NATO has to stay the course in Afghanistan until we are absolutely confident that the Afghan army and the armed forces of Afghanistan are in a position to meet the Taliban threat,” he said.

But opinion polls show that a majority of Americans want to end their country’s longest war, with many US policymakers concluding that it is unrealistic to eliminate the Taliban through force.

US President Barack Obama and other Western leaders have vowed to support Afghanistan through military training and other assistance after the pullout of combat troops.

Indian Foreign Minister SM Krishna will travel to Washington for the June 13 annual dialogue, which is part of efforts by the world’s two largest democracies to build closer relations.

India and the United States recently had a rift as Washington urged the import-dependent emerging economy to cut oil imports from Iran as a way to pressure Tehran over its contested nuclear program.

Despite initial unease, India has reduced Iranian imports. The United States is expected to announce in the coming weeks that it will exempt New Delhi from sanctions under a new law that punishes countries that do business with Iran.

Separately, Rao said India had “increasing concern” over stringent US visa regulations for IT workers. Citing industry figures, Rao said India’s software industry directly or indirectly supports 300,000 jobs in the United States.

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Reader Comments (18)

  • A Peshawary
    May 31, 2012 - 11:06AM

    An eye opener for Pakistan policy makers. Every body knew the stituation from the outset, yet do not have the teeth to combatit.

    A Peshawary

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  • ijazmir
    May 31, 2012 - 11:21AM

    Real game will be starting now. Who are Taliban (good taliban) .Pushtu speaking locals.
    In Afghanistan 52% population are Taliban.In democratic governments majority rules. If they are denied major role in the government, Karzai is in trouble, Clouds of civil war are gathering.India is a regional power, must help Karzai with Indian army. I would love to see grave yard of Indian army.situation is getting more interested, China is looking in to built biggest air force base in Northern area of Pakistan.

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  • RSS
    May 31, 2012 - 12:13PM

    Yeshwant sinha is 100% correct. Pakistan’s intension are not good.
    Pakistan has to respect other’s soveirnity then only others can respect Pakistan’s soveirnity. Still Pakistan has to realise that is has no external threats but internal threat is more by radical elements which are becoming big threat to neighbours.

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  • rafiq
    May 31, 2012 - 1:36PM

    all the investment from india to afghanistan is in trouble now well when master are loosing how can slaves get anything

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  • ijazmir
    May 31, 2012 - 1:43PM

    India wants to dominate in the region,because they are emerging supper power of Asia. That is the main reason they do not want to discuss Kashmir and claim Indian territory.. now situation will be reverse. If Chins succeed getting lease of Dosai planes. These planes are In Astore district of Skerdu. This Plato is 3000 SQ kilometer in area. Elevation is more than 4000 Meters.. As rummer goes Chines plan to build biggest air force base in Asia. this base will control and keep an eye on India and Indian ocean. Very commanding place in sub continent.It will be highest airport in this world. India has to leave Afghanistan and look after its own Back side. For their own good they should sort out Kashmir Issue with Pakistan rather getting into Afghanistan and trying to destabilise Pakistan,

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  • RSS
    May 31, 2012 - 3:02PM

    @Ijazmir
    India never tried to dominate over any country. Indian military is mainly focussing on how to defend when enemy attacks. But, china’s intension is to attack all neigbours one by one and chinese want to rule Asia.

    Indians are ready to talk on entire Kashmir. But, Pakistan want to talk only about Indian part.. what about POK? what about the part of Kashmir which Pakistan gifted to china?

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  • SaQiB
    May 31, 2012 - 3:24PM

    IN SHA ALLAH……. n once when the Taliban take over again….. its India’s turn to suffer the consequences for interference and negative role in Balochistan………….IN SHA ALLAH………

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  • krish
    May 31, 2012 - 3:52PM

    @ijazmir: You know that location is in tibet and Chinese are afraid of one word ” democracy”. I hope bells are ringing now… :)

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  • krish
    May 31, 2012 - 3:55PM

    Another aspect is Indian army will never enter in afghanistan not even under UN flagship. Do you know why? We know the 5000 years old history. :) We know what happen to hindushahi in kabul and in kandahar.

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  • Ali
    May 31, 2012 - 4:29PM

    Yeah they need to worry once the Taliban will start chasing their agents in Afghanistan… so what’s the new Bollywood flick coming on Afghan propaganda flick…?

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  • Ali
    May 31, 2012 - 4:32PM

    @RSS Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan… all have suffered from the hegemonic designs of India.

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  • superb
    May 31, 2012 - 5:20PM

    this is obvious!!!
    how long nato will stay in this region!!!!

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  • am i right
    May 31, 2012 - 5:34PM

    when master are loosing how can slaves get anything, India realised now they were digging their own graves in Afghanistan since last ten years. So sad.

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  • Zalmai
    May 31, 2012 - 7:14PM

    India bashing and doomsday predictions are en vogue among the Urdu medium Pakistanis, a biased and ill informed lot clueless about simple statistics. Afghanistan is made up of many ethnic groups and the Pashtuns are outnumbered by the non Pashtuns which makes them a minority.
    Let me put things in perspective for the uninitiated and ill informed. Afghans do not want to be ruled by semi-literate, misogynistic, xenophobic criminals.Recommend

  • Nand
    May 31, 2012 - 7:53PM

    @ijazmir:
    You talk of India’s graveyard and for it to look at its backside. Have you checked on your side or have forgotten.

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  • BlackJack
    May 31, 2012 - 8:52PM

    The largest collection of immature comments I have seen in a long time. India wants a stable and liberal Afghanistan. Pakistan, should logically want this too. Whether India has a non-commercial presence in Afghanistan after the ISAF exit is between India and Afghanistan. While the Taliban has the capability to destabilize Afghanistan and spread terror once again in the South and East, do not imagine that they will ever rule Afghanistan again.Recommend

  • gp65
    May 31, 2012 - 9:25PM

    @ijazmir: “Real game will be starting now. Who are Taliban (good taliban) .Pushtu speaking locals.
    In Afghanistan 52% population are Taliban.In democratic governments majority rules”

    In democracy, majority rules. But you are assuming that ordinary Pushtoons actually approve of Afghan Taliban. The earlier time they had ruled, their brutality had alienated Pushtoons as well. Remember 52% Pushtoons also includes Pushtoon women who absolutely hated their brutal regime.

    So yes – Afghanistan should be ruled by people that the majority of Afghans want. That may or may not be Afghan Taliban. Recommend

  • j. von hettlingen
    Jun 1, 2012 - 1:06AM

    The alternative to the former Northern Alliance, backed by India and Iran is the Afghan forces. Ahmed Massoud was the only notable political and military leader of the United Front recognised by members of all the different ethnic groups. He got killed a few days before the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. If India is keen on stability in Afghanistan, it should form allies with Russia and China, if it doesn’t trust Pakistan.

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