New Delhi: As return of the Taliban in Afghanistan seems more and more likely, this could have severe repercussions not only for the region but for the West as well, because Afghanistan may become a breeding ground for international terrorists.
Speaking at a webinar on ‘US Exit from Afghanistan: Repercussions for Afghanistan, India, Region and US’ Friday evening, Afghan Ambassador to India Farid Mamundzay said that Taliban victory in Afghanistan could give an impetus to terrorism which would be detrimental not merely for the region but also for the West.
“Taliban has a symbiotic relationship with international terrorists. A recent UN report points out the cooperation between Taliban and Al Qaeda. Taliban leaders of the Quetta Shoura participated in the coronation ceremony of bin Laden’s son as his successor, Al Qaeda’s second in command declared loyalty to Taliban Amir Mulla Akhtar Muhammad Masood. ISIS and Al Qaeda both pose intension and capability to harm the west. Western countries are a high priority target for these terror groups,” he said.
The ambassador listed three broad outcomes due to the foreign troop pull-out from Afghanistan and the potential return of the Taliban.
“The US before withdrawing should have considered three possibilities, firstly the security instability, which would cause a lot of suffering to the Afghan people. Due to the escalating violence, the past three months have seen 4000 deaths and about 300,000 people have been internally displaced. Second consequence would be the rise of terror networks, and finally all gains of past 20 years would be lost due to Taliban return to power,” he said.
He warned that a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan maybe a strategic challenge for India. “History has shown that conflict within Afghanistan does not stay within it’s borders, India would face challenge from an insecure and unstable Afghanistan.
Pakistan based anti India groups have tied with the Taliban. Groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Lashkar-e-Islam, Jaish-e- Mohammed, and Al Badr have been spotted fighting alongside the Taliban in sizable numbers.
In the event of Taliban gaining more ground, there is a likely-hood that Indians, and their interests would be targeted home and abroad.
China seeks to play a greater role in a Talibanised Afghanistan, and Beijing could gain from India’s projects,”
the Afghan Ambassador said.
He felt that Pakistan is likely to be the biggest gainer from Taliban returning to power. “Pakistan, which is the home to almost all Taliban Shouras has the greatest influence over the Taliban, hence it is likely to benefit the most by the return of the Taliban. It would not only be limited to strategic gains, but would be better placed to crush Pashtun nationalism,” he said.