MEA’s statement Aug 31 said Indian envoy Deepak Mittal met Sher Mohd Abbas Stanekzai, Head of Taliban’s Political Office, in Doha that day, in the first formal exchange. India’s concerns were raised that “Aghanistan’s soil should not be used for anti-Indian activities and terrorism in any manner.” And he “assured that these issues would be positively addressed.”

It is high time to review and re-orient India’s Afghan policy.  

***

This is a review, in two parts, of some aspects of the All-Party Meeting on Afghanistan August 26, convened by the Modi-led Indian govt.

The All-Party Meeting, India’s Subservient Afghan Policy: A Review, Part-1, mainly dealt with aspects of India’s foreign policy on the Afghan question.

https://countercurrents.org/2021/08/the-all-party-meeting-indias-subservient-afghan-policy-a-review/

Part 1 discussed how India’s Afghan Policy was not serving India and its people, was   subordinated to and served US interests, driven by its anti-China and ant-Pakistan prejudices, and was getting isolated in the near and distant neighborhood.

This Part-2 will discuss some other aspects, of evacuation, of India’s role in Afghan war, domestic politics etc.

It was stated by the Govt that evacuating Indian personnel from the country is the “top priority” as the situation remains “critical” since the Taliban takeover…“ We have undertaken evacuation operations in extremely difficult conditions especially at the airport…Our immediate concern and task is evacuation and long term interest is the friendship for the Afghan people.

— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) August 26, 2021

The 3.5 hours-long interaction, with 31 parties and 37 members, was a meeting full of inanities and half-truths, that concealed more than revealed what was going on:

***                    ***

Evacuating Indian personnel from the country is the “top priority” 

How did the govt tackle this “top priority”? Let us see.

It is an issue on which there should be unity, transparency, clarity, and no controversy, But what happened in the all Party meet?

CPI MP Binoy Viswam said Jaishankar “patiently heard and addressed every question”. How are the answers? “But the government’s policy seems to be not to divulge any details. To questions on how many Indians were left and how we are ensuring their protection, the minister did not have any answer. Many critical questions were unanswered,” he said.

“According to data shared by the government, 565 people have been evacuated so far: 175 embassy personnel, 263 other Indian nationals, 112 Afghan nationals including Hindus and Sikhs, and 15 third country nationals,” reported indianexpress.com. August 27. Asked how many Indians still remain in Afghanistan, the government said it did not have a specific number, sources said.

“ The Ministry of External Affairs Aug 27 evening said that the vast majority of Indians who wished to return have been evacuated from Afghanistan.

The numbers given to the meeting were dubious: the govt did not have a specific number as to how many still remained . And the data did not tally with earlier figures, official and non-official:

 “With Aug 22 Sunday’s evacuation, the number of people evacuated by India from Kabul reached around 590 since Aug 16 ( PTI 22nd August 2021); 626 people including 228 Indian citizens evacuated  till Aug 24, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said.   Around 600 people of Telangana alone reached Hyderabad, TOI reported on Aug 21, 2021.  565 persons were evacuated, the MPS were told on Aug 26. Note the dates and see the discrepancy. “Some more Indians are likely to be in Afghanistan,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, PTI, Aug 26, ten days after Kabul take-over.  “Many critical questions were unanswered,” as the CPI MP said about the All party meet.

“The MEA said the immediate priority for the government is to obtain accurate information about all Indian nationals currently staying in Afghanistan.” This is 10 days after Kabul takeover!

It was neither sudden nor unexpected: Jaishankar  explained the “pre-emptive measures”  taken by India, including temporary withdrawal of Indian personnel from its consulates in Herat and Jalalabad in April last year, and scaling down the strength of the embassy in Kabul in June this year.

India evacuated 565 persons, Germany 5,347, Sweden 1100, US 1.2 lakh plus

The Govt spoke of “extremely difficult conditions, especially at the airport.” It was an exaggeration, meant for the gullible back home: India’s numbers (565) are paltry when compared to those of others. India evacuated 565 persons, a paltry number when compared to those of others.

Germany’s task was bigger and complex. Its defense minister said they evacuated 5,347 people from at least 45 nations, including more than 4,000 Afghans by Aug 26.  Swedish Foreign Minister gave the numbers on Aug 27, “All in all some 1,100 people.”  Many more by other countries, all in about 10 days after the fall of Kabul.

More than 1.2 lakh plus persons were evacuated by US, the period (10 days plus) and the conditions being the same.

Not a single person was killed in the process, according to any of them.

What were the extremely difficult conditions, and who created that? To any lay man it was the “barbaric Taliban” that were responsible for that. The Govt agencies as well as the Big Media created such an impression. “Mayhem at the airport, 7 killed” was the kind of headlines given while reporting the first day of evacuation after Kabul takeover by Taliban. Visuals showed the armed “cruel Taliban”.

Scary stories about Taliban and silence about US that controlled the airport

What was the reality?  The airport until this day (Aug 31) has been under the control of more than 5000 American military and intelligence personnel, apart from some more foreign troops like German. Taliban never entered the airport. Nor they obstructed people from entering the airport. In fact, US official agencies publicly stated they sought and obtained Taliban support in sorting out any problems in local logistics.

CIA Director, William J. Burns, visited Kabul on Aug 23 and met Taliban chief, NYT Aug 24, 2021. CENTCOM Gen. Kenneth McKenzie disclosed on Aug 26  that the US was already sharing information on terror threats in Afghanistan with Taliban.

But in India Taliban was the devil, as media painted scary stories. It was the Indian media that indulged in calumny against Taliban, openly and tacitly.

***                                 ***

“Fake news”: The Indian media is so biased, prejudiced, against Taliban

 “Aug 17th press conference by Taliban  spokesman will put the ‘Taliban-baiters’ who are barely surviving on fake news about Taliban’s ‘excesses’ – largely based on hearsay and rumours – in some  distress and confusion…wrote MK Bhadra Kumar , a seasoned former diplomat, who also worked in Russia  Pakistan Afghanistan and Central Asia: “India’s policymakers couldn’t have been unaware that a cabal was ruling Afghanistan but deliberately chose to ignore it.”

See just two news items that were not focused by Indian media.

“Kabul Returnee Bengali Teacher Praises Taliban”  

That is the title of a news18.com report :

 Tamal Bhattacharya of Bengal, a school teacher in Kabul who arrived Aug 23, said that the Taliban did not harm him in any way; rather, they facilitated his safe passage to India in every way they could. He said that they treated him extremely well during his last few hours in Kabul, helping him with food and water. Tamal used to teach at the Kardan International School in Kabul, according to a Times of India report.

“You’ll never get to know the reality unless you go to Afghanistan,” says Tamal. “The Taliban never killed anyone,” he adds. According to him, the Taliban helped every foreign national to return to their respective countries, including those who did not have any passport.

Not just that, Tamal strongly denied the fundamentally misogynist character of the Taliban. “The Taliban follow the Sharia law and nowhere is it mentioned in Sharia that women cannot go to schools or cannot work. Female colleagues at my school are still working,” he said. “Even I had these misconceptions”.

https://www.news18.com/news/buzz/kabul-returnee-bengali-teacher-praises-taliban-but-also-contradicts-4120904.html

“All Afghans, irrespective of their religion, can apply for the ‘e-Emergency X-Misc Visa’ online and the applications will be processed in New Delhi.”  The announcement came two days after the Taliban captured power in Afghanistan.”The MHA reviews visa provisions in view of the current situation in Afghanistan. A new category of electronic visa called ‘e-Emergency X-Misc Visa’ introduced to fast-track visa applications for entry into India,” a home ministry spokesperson then said in a statement. But its practice was otherswise.

Rangina Kargar

Rangina Kargar, Afghan woman MP, was denied entry on Aug 20 when she arrived in Delhi with valid papers. I was friendly to India, but “ They deported me, I was treated as a criminal,” she said. It happened in Delhi at a time Taliban were being blamed for their unkind handling of women in particular. Govt., questioned in the all party meet on Aug 26, said it was a mistake, but has no answers how – with what mindset – such a mistake could happen at this time. Soon after her, two Afghan MPs, both Sikhs, were well received, reports added. 

Rangina Kargar, an Afghan woman MP, who arrived from Istanbul, for a medical appointment in Delhi, was denied entry on Aug 20, and summarily sent back by the same airline. She was holding a diplomatic passport and a return ticket ( for Aug 22 which she showed to airport authorities); she had travelled to Delhi earlier too. “ They deported me, I was treated as a criminal. We have strategic and friendly relations with India,” she told Indian Express. Just later two other MPs, Narinder Singh Khalsa, and Ms. Anarkali Kaur, both Sikhs were allowed, the report added. (Hindustan Times, Aug 26.)

The incident happened in Delhi at a time Taliban were being blamed for their unkind handling of  women in particular. When it was raised in the all party meet by Congress leader Kharge, Govt said it was a mistake. But it did not explain how – with what mindset –  it could happen when India from Aug 15-16 claimed its priority was to help was evacuation.

A few reports were more realistic, but were buried amid scary stories that are blown up:

Afghan MP, Abdul Qadir Zazai, said upon his arrival in Delhi: “There was a peace agreement between the Afghan government and the Taliban. It was just a handover process. Now, the situation is calm in Kabul. Pakistan is one of the close supporters of the Taliban. My family is still in Kabul.”

Another Afghan member of parliament from Paktia province, Sayed Hassan Paktiawal said, “I do not want to leave the country [Afghanistan]. I came here for a meeting. I will go back to Afghanistan. The situation is really bad there, especially tonight is really bad.” (India Today Web Desk , New Delhi, August 15, 2021)  

“In a fresh security advisory, the third since late June, the Indian embassy in Kabul also advised Indian firms operating in Afghanistan to immediately withdraw their Indian employees out of project sites before air travel services are discontinued…
About 1,500 Indians are currently living in Afghanistan,” reported timesofindia Aug 11. India evacuated 565 persons, the meeting was told on Aug 26. That means more people stayed back than those who returned. No harm was done to Indians evidently.

Normally in such a situation of chaos, when the Administration collapsed, particularly in backward countries, loot and rapes are quite common. But few such episodes if any were reported, even by the huge western media that was present. It was thanks to the culture of the Afghans and of Taliban who controlled the streets outside the airport.

India has been closely associated with the US and Ghani for long years, had a huge diplomatic-military intelligence presence in and beyond Kabul with several Consulates. It has no reason to be stunned.

People fleeing Afghanistan has been going on for years; it did not begin with Taliban capturing Kabul. According to Associated Press, UNHCR estimates that up to 515,000 new refugees may flee in the present wave.

The UNHCR said that would add to the 2.2 million Afghans who already are registered as refugees abroad — nearly all of them in Pakistan and Iran.

The refugee crisis was created chiefly by US aggressive war of 20 long years that led to civilian deaths of more than half million, including lakhs of women and children. It is wrong to blame it on Taliban’s resistance, which was a nationalist response to imperialist occupation.

Hopefully, it is a temporary situation, but blown up by media.

***                                    ***

Afghan Democracy…of, for, and by the West

map

Map of Afghanistan, Sep 2009 election. Such maps and news are familiar for media that blow up electoral democracy, without bothering about ground realities.  Hamid Karzai  Blue  Independent  polled 4,443,029 votes 55.37%.

The west hobnobs for decades with monarchies, sheikdoms, and military dictatorships worldwide, but harps on democracy and human rights whenever it wants to trouble any country that defies its diktat.

Not only about Afghanistan, it is out of such general interest that we should know a little about it. 

Much is made of democracy in Afghanistan and how an elected President Ghani who got ‘50 percent plus vote’ was dethroned by the “barbaric Talibans.” Afghanistan had a show of several elections, Presidential, parliamentary etc.

Not only foreign funding, foreign supervision, sometimes even millions of voters voted from outside Afghanistan. The West was more interested in the show of polls than Afghans themselves.

For us Indians, with all its fraudulent practices, electoral democracy, is democracy itself.

M K Bhadrakumar, who headed the Pakistan-Iran-Afghanistan desk at the MEA in the 1990s, and served as an Ambassador in Afghanistan  and Pakistan , revealed the “majority”  vote:

“Take the ‘legitimacy aspect’ of President Ghani himself. The voter turnout in the 2019 election was roughly 1 million (in a country of 40 million)… At best, Ghani can claim he got somewhere around 5 lakhs votes in that rigged election, which was fiercely disputed by his opponent Dr Abdullah Abdullah who felt embittered — rightly so — that he was cheated out of victory.”

The “turnout was a historical low,” says another report that inflated voting to around 1.6 million out of 9.7 million registered voters, in a country of 40 million.

Not just this, Afghan elections were always highly dubious, as in several countries. Notably they were “ funded and pressured by the west, ” to establish democracy amid Taliban’s boycott calls,  as per Wikipedia that has detailed articles on the subject.

According to the Election and Transparency Watch Organization of Afghanistan, the IEC has delayed announcing the election results out of fear that the validity of the entire vote would be challenged across Afghanistan…

In response to these delays and the actions of the IEC over the last few months, the IECC called for the firing of several IEC staff members. On February 12, 2019, Afghanistan’s coalition government fired all the commissioners responsible for directing the fraud-tainted election…

Some more facts about show of Afghan polls:

2009 polls

In September 2009, Hamid Karzai, downplaying the significance of the fraud in the 2009 presidential election, said “there was fraud in 2004” as well.”

On September 3, 2009, when envoys from the United States, Britain, France, Germany, and other Western nations met in Paris to discuss the recent 2009 Afghan election, UN Special Representative in Afghanistan Kai Eide said that the 2009 Afghan presidential election, widely characterized by rampant fraud and intimidation, “was a better election than five years ago.

“ Presidential and provincial council elections held on August 20, 2009 were widely characterized as marred by lack of security, violence, extremely low voter turnout, and widespread ballot stuffingintimidation, and other electoral fraud.” Over 2,800 complaints… The New York Times wrote, “fraud was so pervasive that nearly a quarter of all votes were thrown out.

According to an article by The Times, “some 1.26 million recorded votes were excluded from an election that cost the international community more than $300 million.” (Another estimate placed the cost at $500 million.). Official election monitors and the UN placed voter turnout in the August 20 first round of the election at only around 30-33%.

(12 million voters, and $ 500 million costs; around $40 per vote, paid for by foreign agencies…local expenditure is not included.)

“ On October 20, 2009, under heavy U.S. and ally pressure, President Hamid Karzai announced his acquiescence to a run-off vote between himself and his main rival, Abdullah Abdullah, to be held November 7.”

“According toThe New York Times, the Afghan election commission and Karzai had been under intense pressure from the US and its allies to cancel the run-off.  Abdullah said the appointment had “no legal basis” and Afghans deserved a better government.”

2010 polls:

In July 2010, Staffan de Mistura, the U.N. secretary-general’s special representative for Afghanistan and head of the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), described these as the “mother of all issues” elections.

2014 : 2 million Voters from Pakistan and Iran voted

Very significantly, in 2014, over two million people voted among refugee communities in Iran and Pakistan, thanks to an operation conducted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM)… In PeshawarPakistan, under the leadership of Stuart Poucher, a small team from IOM managed in less than two months to hire over 400 electoral officers, and over 6,000 polling officials, to conduct voter education for over 800,000 refugees, over half of whom voted.

All the candidates except Karzai, Gailani and Aarian, publicly declared that they were boycotting the ballot and would ignore the results— effectively uniting Karzai’s disparate opponents.

Journalist Christian Parenti claimed that many people in Afghanistan were in possession of three or four photographic ID cards. He himself, not an Afghan citizen, could have easily voted. “One of the parties gave me two valid voting cards,” he said “that I could add my photograph to and I could have voted if I wanted to.”

August 2015 elections:

“According to a spokesperson from the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC), their decision to annul the results from the capital could be defended for 25 different reasons – including “major fraud” and the IEC’s overall mismanagement of the election.”

Sep 2019 polls, final results in Feb 2020, just in time for Doha deal

There were 18 presidential candidates in controversial polls held in Sep 2019, in 30 provinces. The “preliminary results” announced on 22 December were contested… and the “definitive” results came on 18 February 2020,  just in time for Doha deal.

***                                    ***

Human rights and women’s rights

Democracy, human rights, and  women’s rights, are known to be used, in a hypocritical manner, more as sticks to beat their opponents. Imperialists who killed millions, including lakhs of women, in the last 20 years in the name of anti-terror war, have no moral right, no business, to talk  of rights in new Afghanistan. They turned thousands of women into prostitutes to cater to men in uniform.

Imperialists led by US, the NATO, and their allies like India had lunched with monarchies, and dined with military dictatorships.

In Saudi Arabia women were allowed to vote the first time (in local body polls)  in 2015, to drive a car without a man only recently. Same year Saudis said they would host Olympics but without women. Two women who participated in 2012 London Olympics were branded by Saudi clerics as prostitutes. Women were not told of their being divorced until their Supreme Court made a law in 2019. It was only in 2017, women were allowed to access govt services of education and health without consent of male guardians. They were not allowed to join Saudi Foundation day in stadium until recently.

But US, the west and India had best of relations with them thanks to their petro dollars. Afghan women will fight for their rights once the Western imperialism and their culture are shown their place and domestic contradictions come to the fore.

Afghan people who defeated the most powerful super power US, can and will build their future. At this time of their liberation from foreign aggression, loot and plunder, and massacre of people including women and children by US and foreign troops, and their Afghan puppets, people should sympathise with and appreciate their spirit of srtruggle and resistance.

***                                    ***

Taliban says “ We won’t meddle in Kashmir,” though India worked for occupying forces of US and NATO in Afghanistan

Latest news is India and Taliban are in touch with each other, and holding talks at various levels. MEA’s statement Aug 31 said Indian envoy Deepak Mittal met Sher Mohd Abbas Stanekzai, Head of Taliban’s Political Office, in Doha that day, in the first formal exchange. India’s concerns were raised that “Aghanistan’s soil should not be used for anti-Indian activities and terrorism in any manner.” And he “assured that these issues would be positively addressed.”

India knows its stand is not to the liking of Afghans. India is welcome to construction activity but is cautioned against a military role, said a Taliban spokesman, ANI reported Aug14.  India infused more than two billion dollars in various works.

Talibans are no madcaps as painted by the Indian Big media. MK Bhadra Kumar, an expert diplomat who handled Afghan Mujahideen wrote:

“The Taliban are a highly motivated movement. They are not in the business of exhibitionism. Their actions are invariably pinpointed, conveying some distinguishable political message or the other. This has been so all along during the past decade. Anyone who interacted with the Taliban would agree.”

Taliban would keenly watch India’s role in practice, particularly a strategic and military role, in times to come.  Afghanistan was a “burial ground” for all powers that poked their nose.   

Indian media went paranoid as if India itself is under threat of Talibans, who murdered democracy. Stories are now aplenty that US ditched the region while the fact is America withdrew its occupation forces after 20 years of loot, plunder and destruction in Afghanistan.

It is in India’s interests to review and re-orient its policy toward Afghanistan, Taliban, and US’ meddling in the region.

Such a review should include India’s role in Afghan war. A few glimpses are given in this section.

In an interview to CNN-News 18 on Aug 31, Anas Haqqani, of Haqqani outfit that was “part of Taliban since 1995,” said:

‘Just as his group wouldn’t meddle on the Kashmir issue, we expect others not to interfere in Afghanistan’s internal matters…(on support to Pak-backed LeT, JeM) He “dismissed all such talk as propaganda and distanced himself from pak vi-a-vis J&K .” ‘

“India has helped our enemy for 20 years but we are ready to forget everything,” he said. “We want a good relations with India…We are ready to forget everything and take the relationship forward.” (Times of India Sep 2, 2021).

Can Taliban’s words be trusted? They had assured US in Doha Feb 2021 they would not harm American soldiers, and not a single man was killed till date. It was US on Aug 29 that “precision bombed” from a drone and killed ten civilians, including 7 children, in Kabul. Ironically, two of them had worked for American military, NYT gave names and all. US Maj Gen William Hank Taylor admitted, so did Pentagon, civilian casualties, and said ‘sorry’.

Indian media however is crying hoarse how US ditched the region and left it all to Talibans.  The conclusion of war was as much a result of the ‘no-win and endless war’ by the super power, as opposition to Afghan war , the longest war by America, within US. Trump regime was for an end to that and signed the Doha agreement of 2020 Feb paving the way for withdrawal of US troops, and so was Biden committed to it.

But meanwhile US merchants of death did $ 2313 billions of war business. Americans killed were 2461 armed men, 3846 military contractor and 444 Aid workers. (Nato additionally lost 1144 men) a per Costs of War Project of Brown University. It was more than enough for the Americans. (More than one million Afghans died in the US war of aggression, as per estimates.)

The EAM stated, “Our strong friendship with the people of Afghanistan is reflected in the more than 500 projects we have there. This friendship will continue to guide us. India’s footprint and activities naturally keep in mind the ongoing changes.”

Indian projects and men in Afghanistan included many that were connected with Afghan war. India sided with the Americans and their puppet Govt. of Ghani who fled, allegedly with four car-loads of  US dollars; so did his defence and finance ministers.

There were many Afghan military officers trained in Indian Military Academy (IMA), which in turn had inputs from US and Israel. It is well known that these schools, more so at officers’ level, have their own politics – of imperialism. All this is a red rag for any Afghan nationalist, more so Taliban.

Lt. Amir (name changed), of 2018 IMA batch of Afghan army officers, told TOI (Aug 31) they feared Taliban, and “ association with India put them at great risk.” When Taliban attacked, “they had our army’s bio-metric pads.”  One of the IMA graduate officers said: “ I used to track military convoys,” so had fear. A fourth officer Times spoke to said his wife worked in Indian Embassy in Kabul. The MP mentioned above said they came to Delhi for a meeting, and would go back. It is natural for both sides to have their own apprehensions, which need to be sorted out in post-war measures.

“ After risking life & limb in Afghanistan, workers from Telangana rue shattered dreams.”

That is the title of a news item in Times of India Hyderabad edition Aug 21, 2021 which is notable:

“I was trained in Dubai for five days before being taken to Afghanistan, Sagar of Velpur mandal in Nizamabad district said. Sagar, who worked as a carpenter in the camps, estimated that around 600 people from Telangana alone worked with the security forces in Afghanistan and have returned now. They were all recruited through various contract agencies”, reported Ch Sushil Rao of  TOI. (Most of them apparently  know each other being recruited in similar fashion.).

“ For many who had trooped into Afghanistan from Telangana to work in NATO security camps, the US withdrawal plan sealed their fate even before the Taliban took control. It was a swift end to their dream to provide a better life for families back home.
Ganesh Biragouni Goud, a specialist locksmith, returned home from Afghanistan on July 16 after serving in NATO camps for 10 years. Before that he had worked in Iraq for US forces’ for five years…”

“My dream of providing good education to both my children and taking care of my family has been shattered,” said Ganesh from Mamidiapalli village in Armoor mandal of Nizamabad. In 2011, his leg was fractured in a Taliban attack. “A bomb had blown up before I could reach the bunker after the siren was sounded,” he recalled, adding that he had come back to India after the attack but went back the next year.

“All of us who were employed in the security forces camps in Afghanistan are now in a situation where we cannot take care of our families,” he said. Each worker used to earn between $500 and $1,000 per month, he said.

There are others like Ganesh who have returned in the last couple of months and their situation is the same. Most now plan to join hands and hold a meeting to bring their plight to government’s notice, said the report. (They saw the writing on the wall; Kabul takeover was not a surprise.)

So Indians were allowed to be recruited to serve US and NATO forces. With no jobs back home, they were ‘risking life & limb in Afghanistan’ as reported. When a war is going on between any natives and occupation forces, such people would face the risks that go with it. Earlier in colonial times,the British Indian army served UK in its global wars.

Now in the era of globalization, private contractors hire them for duties in war zones. “Around 600 people from Telangana alone worked with the security forces in Afghanistan,” as per the report.

 In war journalism, so poor in India, such recruits are called mercenaries.   

EAM told the meeting 565 were evacuated. Telangana alone had 600 plus who returned. We do not know how many from other places worked similarly with Nato. The all Party meet was not told details about how many remained there.

CPI MP Binoy Viswam said : “To questions on how many Indians were left , the minister did not have any answer. Many critical questions were unanswered.”

There was no transparency. The Indian media did not question, nor probed on its own. They instead blame US and Taliban entered into a secret deal. 

There were instances where such Indian workers engaged in strategic work were warned by Talibans to get away. When they persisted, they were injured as part of collateral damage, which is blown up as an atrocity.  War has its own logic.

***                           ***

India-US-Israel Defence Relationship

Fears are expressed if the latest Afghan developments will herald terrorism into India and Kashmir, despite Taliban clarifying it is NOT interested in it. The risks if any are rooted in India-US-Israel Defence Relationship rather than in Taliban. The US links are well known, but the Israeli link is no less important.

It may be recalled that in 2001 when US occupation of Afghanistan began, the Vajpayee government had openly declared full support for the US military invasion of Afghanistan, ostensibly to counter global Islamic terrorism. However, it was disappointed that the US did not avail of the logistical support offered by India and instead relied on Pakistan. It was said US did not prefer India as it would complicate the situation with Hindutva’s anti-Muslim politics. There was vociferous protest in India, including from the Opposition, and Vajpayee govt said there was no alliance.

However, India’s association in Afghanistan with US and Nato has been there, overtly and covertly, also through private war contractors, as was seen above.

What is notable is that the opposition of 2001 died down yielding place to bipartisan (UPA and NDA) support to the imperialists in these 20 years. Their quarrels are secondary to this role.  

The lining up with the US over the years, by both  UPA and NDA regimes, culminated in India becoming a strategic US ally, with military intelligence-sharing, joint exercises etc. The military agreements that India signed have given this alliance a military character. The alliance of Quad, cementing US-led Indo-Pacific alliance, (mentioned by EAM Jaishankar as an area of “convergence in the East”) was the next step. He mentioned “divergence” in the west (referring to Afghanistan-Pakistan. But we do not know what it implied.

This strategic tie-up undermined strategic autonomy India claimed and subordinated India’s foreign policy to that of US, which in turn is linked with the Zionists. The Modi regime allied with the Zionists too, Pegasus being the latest notorious venture.

US and Israel, more so their intelligence agencies CIA and Mossad, were allowed to foray into Kashmir also, in ways overt and covert. Modi’s Israel visit  of  2017 July, the first by any Indian PM, that was followed by Netanyahu’s to Delhi in 2018 Jan, and deals (including strategic partnership agreement) in the name of counter-terrorism, were mile stones that turned what was initially covert during UPA into ever more overt relationship. UPA itself had signed agreements in Feb 2014, including in matters of public security.

India is the largest buyer (worth $ 600 million in 2016) of Israeli military hardware and technology, and Israel is the second largest military supplier to India after Russia. India signed a Defence deal worth two billion dollars with Israel in 2017 (TOI 2017, Apr 7).

In the same year, Israel’s military leader Maj Gen Yakov Barak had visited Indian army Northern Command’s JK Centre in October.  (newindianexpress.com, 2017 Oct 31). The Balakot counter attack into Pak territory was reportedly aided by Israel-made Rafael spice-2000 smart bombs, and software.

Now one can see why the Govt was NOT coming out with full data how many worked in Afghanistan, and how many still remained there. And why there was fear of Taliban.

During the meet, the government said that the Taliban has broken the promises made in the February 2020 Doha agreement with the US, which “envisaged religious freedom and democracy, with a government in Kabul that represented all sections of Afghan society.”

 

It is a dubious claim, for Taliban reject western notions : they are for Shariat and they reject their model of democracy. Added to this war has its own logic.

 

***                      ***

Modi said “empires built on terrorism” cannot survive for long

Subramanian Swamy’s Call to dismember Pakistan again

Stories are weaved of Taliban hunting Shia tribes (Hazaras etc), and hopes are built that Taliban met resistance, from Northern Alliance, that “350 Talibans were killed” etc… It is to be noted however that Taliban victory was welcomed by Shiite Iran, Hezbolla, Hamas etc. And Taliban have been building bridges with different forces.

We do not as yet know if it is part of any strategy-in-making with unknown authors and actors. The following news may be from the fringe but is ominous:

Subramanian Swamy (BJP MP) said India should intervene in Afghanistan as if it was away from the conflict. Had called for joining hands with Israel in this regard :  “Get moving Modi govt…This is the last chance to become relevant,” he said, reported India Today (Aug 4). Though it was in the context of Ghani govt’s request for Indian help in raising the Taliban advance , and a car blast in Kabul, in UNSC (of which India was the current Chairman), it was mischievous. ‘Already 85 percent of Afghan territory was under Taliban control’, the report added: “ Afghanistan openly called for military help from India, ” even as Modi regime, it said, was reluctant to get involved there.

He said Pakistan will soon become a “ part of Greater Talibanized Afghanistan”. So “it is time to liberate Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh provinces of Pakistan to form their own countries and have a military alliance with US and India…with the military assistance of India and the US.” (republicworld.com, Aug 13, 2021)

Though it may appear to be far-fetched, it helps to push rabid, expansionist Hindutva, and polarize the country to suit BJP’s electoral interests.

When someone questioned him, Swamy said: ‘ I am anti-Modi on economic and foreign policy…I am ready to debate…Modi is not king of India ..Modi gave a ‘free hand”  to  Jaishankar and Ajit Doval, NSA  who made a mess of foreign policy.

(newindianexpress.com, Aug 14)

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2021/aug/29/well-drive-out-taliban-ideologue-mim-telangana-bjp-chief-bandi-sanjay-kumar-2351312.html

It is notable that it is aired by channels close to the govt. And it is not curbed by the govt. Instead, Modi spoke thus a week later:

It is also notable Modi had said empires built on terrorism, using terror as a tool, have an ephemeral dominance (Times of India, Aug 21, 2021). ‘The comments came in the wake of rapid take-over of Afghanistan” said the report. He was speaking in an event connected with Somanth temple…He cited ‘repeated plundering of the temple” by Mohd Ghazni, who hailed from a territory that now comes under Afghanistan; and how “it survived every attack.”…. “ faith can’t be crushed by terror”… meant to tell military onslaughts would not survive…but all that was alluding to Talibans, and not American imperialist war.

What is cooking in the region? What are the plans of US after exiting Kabul? Anti-Taliban protests are promoted by media coverage. 

With his vast experience MK Bhadrakumar wrote:

“ At any rate, there is a widespread perception in the international community – including former US officials who held responsible positions and even British statesmen – that Afghanistan is the theater of a proxy war between Pakistan and India. But we can certainly do without such a proxy war.”

***                                 ***

Taliban Used For Domestic Politics Of  Hindutva

Elections to Legislatures in some places, including major states of UP, Bihar, Bengal, Punjab, Gujarat are slated in the coming year (2022), and already campaigns are launched by various parties. Almost in all of them, Hindu-Muslim divide plays a crucial role, and communal polarization is being pushed. Taliban’s victory is being exploited for the purpose.

Just as a Tablighi jamaat event in 2020 was exploited to blame Muslim community for the spread of Coronavirus last year, Afghanistan and Taliban are now misused to spread communal virus so as to create a scare of ‘Islamic terrorism threatening India’, alleging China and Pakistan promoted it. The fact is that imperialist and Islam-phobic policies of US and funding by Saudi compradors had their own role, and created, aided and abetted Islamic terrorism. And that was also used for regime change policies by US, which was not however exposed.

BJP leaders, including Ministers, tried to justify the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), linked with similar attempts at polarization, saying it now helped Afghan evacuation, in the face of surge of what is branded as ‘islamic terrorism’. Referring to Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri’s reported comment that the “harrowing time” faced by Afghan Sikhs and Hindus was the reason why the CAA was necessary, TMC’s MP Saugata Roy said this was not the time to raise such divisive issues.

The fact is the rules for the citizenship law haven’t been framed yet. No law comes into effect without rules being framed. But CAA began to be used even before a Draft was prepared. 

‘The emergency visa for Afghan nationals who want to come to India amid the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan has nothing to do with the CAA, and is open to all communities,’  sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) have told ThePrint.in  (17 August, 2021).

“While CAA pertains to citizenship in India, the “new category of visa” is only for Afghans who want to visit India for a brief period to escape the evolving situation.”

While such official platitudes were circulated, at ground level they were used, by leaders including Ministers, to promote brazen hindutva.

The  Modi regime indeed tried to derive a Hindutva mileage by naming  the evacuation drive as Operation ‘Devi Shakti.’ TV stories recalled Kandahar was Gandhara, home of  Sakuni of Mahabharat times. Modi’s speech at Somnath temple, mentioned above, is also part of Hindutva project.

As if it is not enough, PM Modi opened a new Pandora’s box by suddenly suggesting to observe Aug 14 every year as Partition Day (referring to India’s bifurcation in 1947 along communal lines); he proposed it in his Independence (Amritotsav) Day speech in apparently sober terms. But its echo at ground level will be different, feel many observers, as already seen in UP:

Sedition case on MP for saying Afghans got independence: Is this democracy or fascism? 

Shafiqur Rahman Barq

Samajwadi Party MP Shafiqur Rahman Barq. (Photo| Youtube screengrab). He was booked under Sedition Act in UP, for saying Afghans got independence from foreign occupation. “Such statements qualify as sedition,” asserted the Police Chief.   Deterred by the case, the old man ate his words later. 

It is not true to claim, as in the all Party meet, there is unity on India’s Afghan policy. In fact, even to say Afghanistan got rid of foreign troops is a crime in the eyes of the Indian Establishment now.

A sedition case was registered against Shafiqur Rehman Barq, Member of Loksabha from UP.  Sambhal SP Chakresh Mishra said: “Such statements qualify as sedition.” So FIR was launched under sections 124-A, 153-A, 295 IPC.

Two other citizens, both Muslims, who made similar statements in Face Book were also booked, added the SP, who is supposed to uphold the Fundamental rights!

The MP’s crime was to merely say : ‘like India had its freedom from British,’ Taliban did not want foreign rule by Russia earlier or US now. The complaint was made by a BJP local leader, and was defended by UP CM Adityanath in the Legislative Council who said : “ he was shamelessly supporting the Taliban. It means supporting their barbaric act.”

Is it a crime, inviting a sedition case, to say what he said? Is it barbaric to drive out occupationist forces? Is it democracy or fascism to launch and defend such a case, and that too after the Supreme Court’s verdicts against such practices.

Deterred by the case, the MP swallowed his words, and denied; “I have no business with what is happening there.” That is how India celebrates its independence and democracy! 

( For more on the case, see newIndianExpress.com, Aug 18, 2021)

That was no exception, nor an aberration. It is part of Hindutva and fascist politics, meant for polarization. See this news from Karnataka, with a BJP Govt.

“Gun down indigenous Talibanis”: BJP leader and former Minister Yatnal

Karnataka MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal of BJP   said “indigenous Talibanis” should be gunned down. “Because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we Hindus are safe in India. There is a need to gun down indigenous Talibanis [an indirect reference to Taliban sympathisers]. The Talibanis of Afghanistan are killing others. If we do not, Hindus will not survive and India also will not survive.”

“Yatnal said no one should be allowed entry into India other than Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains from Afghanistan…If they still insist on coming to India, they should agree to become Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists or Jains,” he said.

He is no green horn; he was in RSS, was a former Karnataka minister more than once, and was also in the Vajpayee Cabinet.

“Why doesn’t the ‘me**al’ Rahul Gandhi speak about the Afghanistan situation? Why don’t Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar speak about the situation? If Modi was not the PM, the Congress would have imported only Talibanis into India,” he said.

( for more on this see: indiatoday.in , Aug 23,2021)

“Drive out those with Taliban ideology to Pakistan” 

Telangana’s  BJP State president Bandi Sanjay Kumar on Saturday, August 28, 2021, said that his party aimed to drive out the AIMIM and its supporters from Telangana as they “shared the Taliban ideology”. He asked the public if they wanted to rid the State of “Taliban ideologues” or retain them as the rulers. The Karimnagar MP made these statements at the inaugural ceremony of his padayatra, which was under the presence of Union Minister G Kishan Reddy and other top BJP functionaries, including party State in-charge Tarun Chugh, who flagged off the rally.

Claiming that the BJP isn’t against Islam or Christianity, the Karimnagar MP said, “As protectors of the Hindu Dharma, we will stop them (Muslims and Christians), if they attempt to divide us or insult our Gods.They should keep this in mind.”

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2021/aug/29/well-drive-out-taliban-ideologue-mim-telangana-bjp-chief-bandi-sanjay-kumar-2351312.html

In the same campaign, BJP MLA Raja Singh, notorious for rabid Hindutva, said: If BJP wins in Telangana, it would drive out Owasi brothers to Pakistan.

The elder is Asaduddin Owasi, a London-schooled Lawyer, who is an active and vocal, four-time Member of Loksabha from Hyderabad, and President of All India MIM party, which in recent past won MLA seats, 5 in Bihar, 2 in Maharshtra, apart from 7 in Telangana.

He is the son of Salahuddin Owaisi, an AMU PG, who was elected MLA five times (1960 to 83), when Raja Singh was not yet born; and was MP elected  for five times (1984-1999). They established several Higher educational institutes, hospitals, Trusts, and Urdu newspaper Etemaad. It is a family that lived in Hyderabad for centuries.

The younger brother Akbaruddin Owaisi is five times MLA, and Assembly floor leader with 7 MLAs. a rabid counterfoil to Raja singh, who said, in the presence of BJP top leaders, he would drive out Owasi brothers to Pakistan.

Such is the BJP’s rabidity. Does it reflect ‘national unity’ or unity in approach on Afghan question? Or India’s democratic credentials?  What message is conveyed o the world by PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah? 

To sum up:

India’s Afghan Policy is subservient to the super power strategic interests of US; therefore it does not contribute to peace, regional or global.

It is being used, aided by frenzied stories in a biased media, in a not too subtle manner to polarize India along communal lines.

It weakens and isolates India in the region and the world; it is not a united approach within India and cannot unite Indian people behind it.

It does not help – the cause of peace within or outside India…does not help India or its people, not to speak of Afghan people.

India should give up this policy and must adopt an independent foreign policy of peace, friendship and development that serves India’s interests. People should press the Govt for the same.

***

Read Part 1 that discussed how India’s Afghan Policy was not serving India and its people, was   subordinated to and served US interests, driven by its anti-China and ant-Pakistan prejudices, and was getting isolated in the near and distant neighborhood.

https://countercurrents.org/2021/08/the-all-party-meeting-indias-subservient-afghan-policy-a-review/

***

The author was a media person.


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2 Comments

  1. S. N. Murthy Ch says:

    Countries more smaller in many respects than India are following more independent foreign policy without succumbing to the super powers and imperialism. There is no other way for India than to come out of US super power arbit to have beneficial and friendly relations with the neighbouring and Asian countries including Afghanistan.

  2. Satya Vara Prasad Arundhati says:

    Foreign policy of a country is direct extension of its economic policy.
    Our servile foreign policy in Afghanistan is direct off shoot of our pathetic economic dependence on IMF and WB.