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Endgame in Afghanistan

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India must force its way into the peace process. It must show its willingness to support the Kabul regime with military hardware, other than financial and technological aid

One has heard the question before: “What is going to happen in Afghanistan?” There are two reasons for revisiting it. The first is the delegation-level talks between Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special representative for Afghanistan, with Pakistani authorities in Islamabad on Thursday. Both sides agreed there that direct talks between the Afghan government and Afghan Taliban were essential to ending the 17-year-old war in the country. The second is the statement by the spokesman of Pakistan’s foreign office, Mohammad Faisal, on the same day that India had no role in Afghanistan and that Islamabad had played a key role in arranging talks between the Taliban and the US.

It is clear that Washington and Islamabad are now working closely together on Afghanistan. Also, Pakistan sticks to its old position that it does not want India to have anything to do with Afghanistan. The shift in the US posture from the minatory — withholding aid to compel Pakistan to act against the Afghan Taliban — to the cooperative, clearly stems from the Trump administration’s keenness, bordering on desperation, to end the war in Afghanistan and bring its troops home. That this is so is corroborated by the Trump administration’s decision, announced on December 20, to withdraw 7,000 troops from Afghanistan by this summer.

The shift in the US position was discernible as early as July last year, when the Trump administration began seeking direct talks with the Taliban, a significant shift in American policy given Taliban’s........

© The Pioneer