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In Afghanistan in two separate attacks more than sixty people have died. The major attack took place in Kabul at a voter registration centre which has claimed lives of more than fifty people. Kabul attack was made by a bomber on foot at electoral registration centre. Elections in Afghanistan are due in October and the registration process for the voters have been opened. The attacks have become a kind of routine affairs in the landlocked state but are also a symbol of threats which have emerged for the South Asian region including India.

Amaq news agency of IS have claimed for the attacks. The Afghan President has exhorted that such attacks can not deter the country from moving towards the path of the democracy, and ‘cannot divert us from our aims or weaken this national democratic process’ but a deep fissure in the social structure of the country is being exploited by IS which have lost much share in Middle Eastern areas but have now infiltrated in the Afghanistan.

IS is bent upon exploiting the religious divide in the country though at the ground level the sectarian forces are operative but are not as lethal as IS has attempted to make these recent time. IS do not accept the existence of Shi’ite minority community and treats this group as their major adversary; attacks on this community are therefore made in order to decimate them in complete manner. The recent Kabul attack is show of this mental approach.

Afghanistan is hub of global terrorism as al Qaeda was instrumental in targeting the world from is soil causing much damage to global peace. Taliban emerged with the support of Pakistan in the country mainly after 1993 and captured the political power and were dislodged only in the wake of WTC attack. IS particularly after its inception in 2006 in feeble form started to dominate the Middle East in due course; its aim to establish a caliphate led it to move into Afghanistan where local conditions favoured it. Uzbek terrorists and local disgruntled people from Taliban started to align with the organization. Now its hold has increased as it has expanded almost in several parts of the country and has caused threats to Shi’ite population but has larger aim is to destabilize the elected government in Afghanistan thereafter to expand in other states of South Asia where states as Pakistan offer a fertile ground due to prevalence of a culture of terrorism which is state supported; which proves a sort of advantage to it. Afghanistan government has raised this issue with Pakistan that its role in spread of terrorism in Afghanistan is a cause of alarm and concern. Sadly it is pushed by the political governance of Pakistan. Taliban has real support from Pakistan and in recent times it has bolstered its power again.

In this background the conflict prone scenario has been cast. IS attack therefore needs to be taken a warning for establishment of terrorism in Afghanistan and thereafter its spread for whole of the South Asian region. The conflict between Taliban and IS will emerge in years to come and ethnic violence will increase in the country as IS has targeted a particular community. Pakistan will get involved due to its domestic compulsions and its policy of supporting the terrorism at wider scale Kashmir and other areas including in its own land where terrorist groups have benefactor in the form of army and political leadership. China is another player which has developed close contacts with local groups in Afghanistan and has got its involvement in different fields but its alignment with Pakistan’s terrorism policy is cause of concern for the region including India. Chinese support to Pakistan on this count is illegitimate with respect to global norms and peaceful coexistence with neighbouring state; it is also a well founded cause of concern as it directly brings China in a new role in Afghanistan. The terrorism in Afghanistan will get strength if China keeps on supporting Pakistan on this issue.

This will be a happy state for IS which wants more turmoil in the country. Afghanistan is already a weak state in terms of governance and institutional strength. The hub is faced with new challenges and South Asian region too. India has taken note of this development and MEA has issued a statement on the attacks by IS that ‘India strongly condemns the cowardly and barbaric terrorist attack in Kabul and Baghlan today.

What makes this attack particularly reprehensible is the fact that the terrorists and their backers chose to attack a voters’ registration centre for the upcoming parliamentary and district council elections. The attack has resulted in the death of Afghans who firmly support and believe in the democratic process to empower themselves and make their voice heard. This is not only an attack on innocent civilians but also an attack on the democratic rights of the Afghan people.’

The need is to go for a collective efforts by South Asian states to check the expanding role of IS in Afghanistan. Role of China is crucial on this issue as it can exercise its strong check leverage on Pakistan. China is itself playing important role in Afghanistan by its aid diplomacy. It is also infected with problem of terrorism in its one state. Therefore it needs to play a constructive role in stopping the spread of terrorism in Afghanistan and it must redraft its policy of support to Pakistan on this issue. Indian Prime Minister is to visit China soon. He must raise this issue by taking stock of emergence of new terror force in Afghanistan and its likely impact on India and South Asia.

Dr. Vivek Kumar Srivastava is associated with CSJM Kanpur University and CSSP,email-vpy1000@yahoo.co.in

One Comment

  1. K SHESHU BABU says:

    Terrorist attacks are cause of concern to whole south Asian region. Hence, there is a need to support Afghanistan in controlling terrorism