Counter Terrorism Perspectives: CTP

TM: "India’s Cautious and Calculated Approach to the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan"

October 08, 2021

More than a month after Taliban forces stormed Afghanistan, the self-proclaimed Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan (IEA) has yet to gain international political recognition. All eyes are on the primary stakeholder countries behind the Doha Accord of February 29, 2020, which paved the way for the Taliban’s ultimate victory. Although clamor for the Taliban’s global recognition is gathering momentum under Pakistan’s stewardship, India, which has been a major player in rebuilding the war-ravaged Afghanistan in the last two decades, has maintained a studied silence, sitting on the fence with regards to this latest iteration of the fast-shifting “Great Game” in Afghanistan.

India had been calling for an inclusive government in Afghanistan that represents all sections of Afghan society well before the Taliban takeover of Kabul on August 15, 2021. New Delhi was willing to accept limited Taliban participation in a future governance structure following democratic principles as long as major concerns, such as cross-border terrorism and human rights of women, children, and minorities, were addressed. However, the Taliban leadership’s conflicting remarks on security and rights-related matters, such as Pakistan’s reported air surveillance support to the Taliban in the Panjshir battle against anti-Taliban resistance fighters or curtailing rights of women and minorities, have limited India’s willingness to formally recognize Afghanistan’s new Taliban government (News, September 5; HRW.Org, September 29; Times of India, September 7).

Immediately after the fall of Kabul, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, T.S. Tirumurti, who was also the UN Security Council president in August, reiterated that a “united, inclusive, and representative” political settlement remains a precondition for the legitimacy and international acceptability of the Taliban government (The Week, September 11). In all likelihood, adherence to these same conditions will play a key role in any future international recognition for the Taliban.

India’s Anxieties in Afghanistan

The present situation in Afghanistan reminds India of the experience in dealing with the previous Taliban regime from 1996-2001. During the height of Taliban dominance in Afghanistan, India was unsure about reaching out to the Taliban. At present, India is worried about the fragility of the Afghanistan situation under the Taliban and the possible threat emanating from the country.

As an immediate neighbor and long-running regional development partner, India’s security perception of Afghanistan is dominated by at least four factors. 

Read Complete Article Here: "India’s Cautious and Calculated Approach to the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan" Terrorism Monitor, (Jamestown Foundation), Volume XIX (19), October 7, 2021