The world is watching the unfolding Afghanistan scenario By Haider Abbas

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The developing situation in Afghanistan is getting palpable particularly for US which had to leave after its most disastrous war with Afghan Taliban (AT) as US was forced to sit across with the same AT to negotiate its withdrawal. The present Ashraf Ghani government in Afghanistan is into facing an imminent battle as almost more than 90% of Afghanistan is now under AT control. AT is right now knocking close to the capital Kabul as US which is slated to leave by September 11 might leave even earlier too-to mark an end of its endless-wars.

The downcast US wants Pakistan to provide military bases to pound on AT in future and also to  monitor China-Pakistan Economic Corridor towards which Pakistan has as yet refused. Will US therefore lean on India as after all now BECA binds  India with US. No wonder India has deployed 200 para-military companies in Kashmir and it has been officially said that the move is just a redeployment of forces after the election duties. Meanwhile, it learnt from Sputnik on June 10, that Pentagon wants a written authorization from US President Joseph Biden to air-strike against AT as Pentagon is quite antagonized to the possibility of AT gaining over Ashraf Ghani.  The same newspaper has also confirmed that US has already begun ‘over-the-horizon’ operations amid Afghanistan withdrawal. Surely and certainly, if AT capitalizes on Afghanistan just by the time US withdraws or sometime later, it would be the greatest slap on US face as the super-power would just be nowhere after putting into trillions of dollars for about 20 years  to obliterate AT but what resulted in fact is on contrary– an AT resurgence! The Chief of US CIA William Burns secret visit to Pakistan was perhaps the last ditch effort to make Pakistan yield to US having military bases which Pakistan army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa did not oblige. Pakistan PM Imran Khan did not even meet Burns. This is enough to make US red-faced

India too has started to open up channels with Afghan-factions which are not close to Pakistan and Iran, reported Hindustan Times on June 9. This is interesting as India has also of late  lost a potent friend in the region as India under US pressure abandoned Iran and refused to buy Iranian oil from May 2019,  and thereafter,  Iran went ahead to enter into a 400 billion USD ‘trade and military’ deal with China. This single initiative has altered the entire world polity as Middle-East, US, Israel and India have all got stunned by this new emerging scenario.  The Indian engagement with Afghan factions is also one of the tactics deployed by US to pressurize Pakistan. Will Pakistan give-into is for the time to find out.

US real and ultimate scheme is not just Afghanistan or Pakistan but China with which it has been locked in South China Sea. US has formed QUAD in which India is also an active participant. China and India have been in the recent past got ‘locked-up’ due to Chinese provocations towards India. There has been a Galwan valley clash between the two and time-and-again it is found that China is making villages, roads and communication infrastructure near Indian borders in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh-which China calls as its South Tibet.  The latest to come to light, informed New Indian Express on June 8, is that ‘around two dozen Chinese fighter-jets carry out exercise opposite Eastern Ladakh, India watches closely’. The report elaborated that though the Chinese jets which were “around 21-22 and (which) mainly included J-11s and a few J-16 fighters held an exercise opposite the Indian territory in Eastern Ladakh,” they were well inside their territory. To add further nemesis to India, China has now gone ahead with what is considered to be its most expensive project; to open up a new stretch of rail across Tibet, reported The Economist on June 5. The estimated cost of it is around 5.7 billion USD. The ‘track extends from the region’s capital Lhasa eastward to the city of Nyingchi’. The Chinese call as ‘Throne of the Sun’. ‘It is the region’s first electrified railway; its trains will be Tibet’s fastest’ to commemorate the 100th birthday of Communist Party of China which falls on July 1st.

US which boasts itself to be the only reigning superpower, is today extremely jittery as to what would happen to Afghan Air Force, which has been the result of its 8.5 billion USD investment and obviously which gave a considerable edge to Afghan forces against AT.  Once US leaves Afghanistan, the wide range of fighter jets and helicopters will all be left in a lurch. The reason being; Afghan forces are not at all acclimatized with such fighting material! The TaskAndPurpose, on June 9, carried an extensive article that ‘there is a good chance that most of the Afghan military’s planes and helicopters will be unable to fly shortly after all US troops leave the country, and the Pentagon does not yet have a plan for how to keep the Afghan Air Force in the fight against the Taliban’.  Hence, the edge which Afghan forces enjoyed will no more be available. Meanwhile, Turkey which is a part of NATO has offered to guard the air-force in Kabul once after NATO leaves, reported TRTWorld on June 11 but AT have rejected the offer and reminded that Turkey ought to withdraw its troops as per the 2020 accord, according to The Hindu on June 11.
India is keeping an extremely close eye on Afghanistan developments particularly when AT had long made it clear that India always supported forces inimical to AT, as was reported in TOI on May 17, last year, excerpted from an interview of Sher Muhammed Abbas Stanekzai. India has started to fortify its defenses keeping on track of an ensuing two-front war with Pakistan and China, and therefore, it came to light from NDTV on June 2, that Indian army chief MM Naravane had made a two-day visit to Kashmir to take stock of the overall situation in Kashmir which is the fundamental flashpoint between India and Pakistan.  But, India from the last one year has been battling the stringent  Chinese stand on Arunachal Pradesh, Ladakh and even Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.  India and now with US and Israel which has just sold its UAV Heron Drones, reported The Print on June 2, which India is to definitely deploy at LAC to counter China.
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Disclaimer: The world is watching the unfolding Afghanistan scenario By Haider Abbas - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect point-of-view

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