China with Pak support has advantage in Taliban ruled Afghanistan

The Director General of ISI Lt Gen Faiz Hameed reached in Kabul today to apparently assist in Taliban government formation after sorting out internal differences between the Kandaharis led by Mullah Yaqoob and Kabulites under Sirajuddin Haqqani.
Peacemaker: DG ISI Lt Gen Faiz Hameed in Kabul today
Peacemaker: DG ISI Lt Gen Faiz Hameed in Kabul today
Published on Sep 04, 2021 01:51 PM IST
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ByShishir Gupta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

This week US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan was asked whether Taliban was the enemy, the Joe Biden aide said that it was hard to put on a label on it, partly because we (US) are yet to see what they will be now that they are in complete control of Afghanistan.

The democratic world is dealing with a peculiar situation in Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan where ruling Taliban is neither a UN nor US designated terrorist entity but more than 120 of its top leaders are listed as global terrorists under the 1267 UNSC committee including projected president of the Emirates, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. The al Qaeda, Haqqani Network, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, all global terror entities under UN 1267 committee and US State Department, have sworn allegiance (bayat) to the Taliban and its supreme leader Mullah Hibatullah Akundzada. By this yardstick, the democratic world is playing with semantics when it is engaging Taliban without breaking its policy of not negotiating with terrorists and terror organizations. In fact, countries like China and United Kingdom have sought support of mentor Pakistan to engage the Taliban by throwing the moral principles book out of the window.

With differences among the Taliban holding the announcement of the new Afghan government, the Pakistani super spy Lt Gen Faiz Hameed, DG, ISI, reached Kabul today. While the visit is hush-hush, Kabul watchers say that Gen Hameed will help the Taliban leadership to shed their differences and announce the government soon. It was Rawalpindi, which had facilitated the meeting of Mullah Baradar and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in China last July.

In fact, the real gainer of the military revolutions this year is China, true practitioner of realpolitik, as it engages junta in Myanmar and Taliban in Afghanistan while democratic world is still hoping that the Sunni Islamist group will give them an inclusive government window to legitimize them.

This poses real threat to India as it has pro-China regimes on the eastern and western borders. Besides the legitimate concerns of Taliban affiliate groups trying to create internal trouble in Kashmir and hinterland, India is faced with Chinese increasing its already large footprint to Afghanistan and Central Asia through its friends in Russia and Iran.

The Taliban has actually thrown the western calculations in the trash bin by openly seeking economic ties with China rather than question them on treatment of Sunni Uighurs in Xinjiang. The Al Qaeda statement on August 31 talked about liberating so-called Islamic lands all over the world including Palestine, Maghreb, Syria, and Kashmir but did not utter a word about the Xinjiang Uighurs. So the theory that Taliban 2.0 would turn against China due to brutal repression in Xinjiang is still born.

It is quite evident that China will extend its Belt Road Initiative to Afghanistan and exploit its Lithium and Copper resources in return for infrastructure development by liking it to CPEC. This will allow China to not only evacuate Afghan minerals from Gwadar port in Balochistan but also through the Karakoram Highway. It will also have a close look at the abandoned US military equipment including Black Hawk helicopters, IED proof all-terrain vehicles, tactical drones, area weapons and body armor for reverse engineering.

China will use the Pakistani deep state as a trump card in its engagement with the Taliban as the entire leadership of the Sunni Pashtun Islamists including Mullah Akhundzada, Mullah Yaqoob and Sirajuddin Haqqani has been nurtured and nourished by Rawalpindi. The same Pakistan card is being played by the British, who brokered a peace deal with US in favor of the Taliban boys, as described by UK Chief of Defence Staff Gen Nick Carter. The democratic world with feckless and tired US leadership surely has a weak hand in comparison to China and Taliban is no friend.

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Monday, November 29, 2021