My heart sinks while writing about the Afghanistan crisis. The world has been fighting a global pandemic against a virus, but it’s now humans against humans. Murders, extortions, restrictions- it’s no longer an invisible enemy. It is not just a humanitarian crisis. It is a lost voice of all those minorities and majorities and refugees and victims that begged to tell their story for a long time and have now been silenced in this terrible feat. People are prioritising fleeing the country over their lives because it’s no longer worth living there. Women consider being born in Afghanistan a curse for we can’t even put in words what lies ahead of them in the hands of the Taliban.
Afghanistan is crying. Their screams are so loud that it is deafening the world. There are a lot of people to be blamed and a lot of allegations to be considered. But for what it’s worth- you, I and all of us, who had a chance to magnify their voice and amplify their pleas, have led them down. Humanitarian organisations and Peace Corps have led them down. The United States has led them down. While it’s too late for us to take any action, it’s not too late to create noise and make it heard loud and clear. Humanitarian corporations that decidedly claim to be aiding Afghanistan at this tough time need to be supported and funded.
President Ghani’s flee from the country’s capital has allowed the Taliban to declare a win, and their claims of completion of a transition process are echoing in the world. The Taliban has released an official warning statement against India in case of any attempt to intervene, but it cannot be denied that India should be amongst the first responders to this crisis, for reasons both humanitarian and political. Let’s see why and what Kabul, Afghanistan means for Delhi.
Emergency visas and evacuation provisions consolidating in Afghanistan-
Even though instances of transitional violence have not emerged as yet, the crisis has easily taken the form of a humanitarian one in terms of people getting internally displaced from the war zones. They have found refuge in public parks and pavements, risking the safety of themselves and their family with every breath. Along with this faction of people are those that fear their lives from the Taliban or their ally sponsors. This section of people, rather considerable, is trying to flee from the capital and thus, is rushing for their visas and passports. Videos of people pushing each other to get into planes and hanging onto the wheels of the vehicle are evident in themselves.
As a result, India needs to ensure emergency provisions of visas and evacuation protocols to make sure people fleeing have the ability to do so. Especially the vulnerable class and the minorities, including women, Hindus, Sikhs, parliamentarians and other endangered sections of the society that are in huge trouble as things move forward. It is undeniable that political persecutions and violent outbreaks await the country, and the imposition of strict Sharia is the next declared step of the Taliban.
But how did 60,000 insurgents capitulate around 300,000 US and NATO trained Afghan Police forces?
This is probably one of the most baffling questions being posed in this critical situation, and the fact that other than few exceptions, how did the lightly-equipped insurgents capitulate the armed and trained ANDSF? And perhaps, it is too soon for us to contemplate its answers because official sources are yet to analyse and report. However, what is loud and clear at the point is that the appointed authorities cannot escape accountability. The dysfunctional government, the traitor authorities, mismanaged appointments were not only a part but were catalysts of the problem. Appointment defaults in key security departments, like that of the ministry of defence, were also a few contributors to the key question posed above.
But no matter our discussion on this, Afghan’s dependency on the US for support cannot be denied. This dependency is with respect to air support, weapon systems, intelligence and the like. Even though the United States had given official notices and was evidently withdrawing their support to President Ashraf Ghani, Afghan was not prepared for the Taliban attack at the moment. This is mirrored from the hindrances in military strategy, poor supplies and logistics, phantom rolls, unpaid remunerations, indefensible manned posts, and other psychological and behavioural factors that played significant parts in the Taliban’s takeover despite overwhelming manpower with the Afghan army and police forces.
Can the United States evade responsibility?
The answer to this question requires a multifold approach, for responsibility in a number of fronts in falling on the United States’ head. Experts, who are aware of what it takes to be prepared for defending one’s country against an offence attack, outrightly claim that the Afghanistan army and police force were not prepared for it. The United States and NATO did take into hand the battalion of preparing Afghan forces, they prepared them for the war on terror. For offensive operations, however, the Afghan’s army was underprepared in a lot of terms including but not limited to armour, artillery, engineering, logistics, air panel, mobility, intelligence et cetera.
More precisely, the US and NATO forces just invested enough to train them against recovery from the attack, but not the defence of Afghanistan. Responsibility in this respect comes because the former was absolutely aware of the probability of such an event.
Recently, a statement released by the United States president Joe Biden indicated that the United States’ mission in Afghanistan was never nation-building but counter-terrorism. If this is not an evasion of responsibility, I don’t know what will be. The treaty signed by the United States with Afghanistan said different things. And even if the mission was only countering terrorism, shouldn’t the forces be prepared for defending the country against any probable capitulation, especially because the world knew something like this could happen?
Over 20 years of investment, work and effort to be abandoned in such haste is baffling in its terms.
Why did the United States never try to integrate the Afghan economy to its economic sphere?
The United States was aware of the Afghanistan economy’s mineral capacity and despite the USD 1 trillion investments, it never really attempted to integrate the Afghan economy to its economic sphere of influence. And this question is even more absurd because, in all the past instances like that of East Asia and oil countries of the gulf, the States has undertaken the same. Did the United States never consider Afghanistan of strategic importance? What would have been the case had Afghanistan been an oil-exporting country? Is it only about international trade priorities at the end of the conversation?
These are some questions that the world would seek answers to in the coming days, and we are all in for it.
What should India do under these circumstances?
What is next for India is one baffling question because the same old debacle of talking or not talking to the Taliban has just become a reality. As of yet, the Taliban have announced that they would respect the transitional process and would undertake the creation of a future Islamic System that is acceptable for all. However, past instances and people’s impulse forces us to believe otherwise.
As for right now, experts suggest that all India can do is keep an open mind and observe where things are headed. The assessment of the Taliban’s inclusions of the gains made by the country in the last 2 decades, and adoption of the progressive principles of the Islamic Republic would give a more fair idea of the need and scope for intervention by the country. Any hasty recognition of the Islamic ‘Emirate’ would bring trouble to the region, the United States, and the world, experts suggest.