Many in the Indian security establishment believe India’s concerns about the post-2014 situation in Afghanistan will soon force it to make some hard choices and New Delhi will need to do more to protect its interests.
South Block is upset over events in Qatar where the Taliban betrayed the presumption of having secured international recognition, and has reserved for Kerry the frostiest reception accorded to a visiting US Secretary of State in recent times.
Slamming Pakistan for maintaining ties with “unsavory characters”, President Barack Obama has asked its key ally to stop hedging its bets in Afghanistan and adopt a peaceful approach towards India.
Karzai is expected to brief Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his revised strategy for reconciliation with the Taliban in the aftermath of the assassination of former president Burhanuddin Rabbani, his chief interlocutor with the Taliban.
Former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani was assassinated by a Pakistani, a statement issued by Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai’s office stated Sunday.
Former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani was killed Tuesday evening in a suicide blast at his house in Kabul. He was meeting a group of Taliban insurgents when the explosion was triggered, Xinhua reported, quoting an unnamed source from Rabbani’s office.
Pakistan has been an unreliable ally of the US in the war against terror and failed “on occasion” when forced to choose between Washington and the Al Qaeda, says US Vice President Joe Biden.
Amid Pakistan’s attempt to influence the Taliban integration process, India and Afghanistan Thursday discussed ways to jointly combat the common threat of terrorism and work for peace and stability in the region.
India is expected to convey its strong reservations over Pakistan’s attempts to influence the Taliban reintegration process when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meets Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Thursday.
Does President Barack Obama’s ‘finishing the job’ mean the same thing as staying the course in Afghanistan, as urged by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh?
‘Merely promising prosecution of some of those involved in 26/11 is not going to get us all holding hands and singing Kumbaya in a church choir.’
“It’s too early to conclusively say the Taliban have changed their strategy and expanded the conflict to PoK. But while one attack doesn’t necessarily make a strategy, it (the frontline) has definitely been extended, and in such a way as to strike at the Pakistan Army out of the existing area of conflict.”
The operational capability of the Pakistan Army in the face of Taliban challenges in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) has much to do with the command authority of its officer cadre. But judging from recent events and the perception of the integrity of the officer cadre, especially at senior levels, the Pakistan Army fails to encourage confidence in its abilities to effectively combat the Taliban.
“The US has to transmit an effective message that they are here to stay till the local population can defend itself. These messages need to be tailored very carefully for maximum impact, understanding and acceptance.”
Indian security officials had earlier refused to render any assessment on the sincerity of the Pakistan Army’s operations against the Taliban. But over the past few days, senior security officers at Raisina Hill and elsewhere have dismissed the operations as a ‘fraud on the world’.
The change in command of US forces in Afghanistan is been seen by Indian observers as the possible beginning of a smarter strategy in dealing with the Taliban.
The speculation over US plans for securing Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, in the event of their capture by the Taliban, has not gone unnoticed by the strategic community in India. “India is obviously the most natural and most achievable target for them,” says one brasshat.
Recent reports have indicated the army to be using heavy firepower indiscriminately, resulting in the destruction of entire communities and the creation of what could become a major refugee problem. This could also result in the Taliban gaining more support and adherents from the communities facing the brunt of the army offensive.
The scenario envisages the eventuality of the collapse of the Pakistan state with the country being overrun by Taliban, throwing-up private armies of feudal warlords, with the possibility of some getting access to nuclear weapons. The Indian security establishment sees itself bereft of options in case of a Pakistani nightmare scenario coming to fruition.
Army sources think the upsurge is the result of a number of factors coming together. “The receding winter, melting snows, opening of passes, the upcoming general elections and the increase in the influence of the Taliban in Pakistan are why this is happening, said the officer, who added, “Pakistan may also take this as an opportunity to divert attention from itself.” Ironically, the 12-15 feet of snow covering the LoC has made it easy for militants to cross the fence as they can simply walk over it.