June 8, 2023

Great Indian Mutiny

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China, Pakistan and India are vying for their position on Afghanistan’s new board

The Russian and British empires clashed In the 19th century, and the United States and the Soviet Union in the 20th.

As the Taliban control the capital, Mediterranean, the new board controls its ally Pakistan. Seeks to consolidate its influence in the region.

Pakistan maintains strong ties with the Taliban and has been accused of supporting the Islamist group in the US-backed struggle against the Kabul government, Islamabad denies. When the Taliban captured Kabul last week, the prime minister , Imran Khan said that the Afghans had broken the “bond of slavery”.

When They are holding discussions to decide their management model and the media has reported that some Pakistani officials are involved.

A foreign ministry spokesman in Islamabad said Pakistan wanted a comprehensive political solution that would guarantee peace and stability in Afghanistan, but that “Afghanistan has a key role to play.”

China, which has not intervened in Afghanistan but has a strong alliance with Pakistan, has extended an olive branch to the Taliban, inspired by the country’s mineral resources, which contain lithium, a key component for electric vehicles.

Beijing is also exploring the possibility of improving the security of its narrow territory leading to Pakistan via the Karakoram Mountains.

India, Pakistan’s old adversary, has been locked in a military confrontation with China for more than a year on the disputed border.

India highlighted the overthrown Kabul regime, and tensions in New Delhi are rising as both Pakistan and China have become key players in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

However, China says its main purpose in approaching the Taliban is to protect its western Xinjiang region from the anti-Beijing Islamic movement of East Turkestan (ETIM) militants who may seek refuge in Afghanistan.

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“While Pakistan thinks of favoring Afghanistan against India, the situation in China is not like that,” said Zhang Li, a professor of South Asian studies at Sichuan University.

“China’s main concern is that the Taliban’s inclusive and moderate regime will not spread terrorism to Xinjiang and the region.

The US government claims that ETIM is no longer a formal organization, but instead that China has a broader right to suppress various Muslim ethnic groups in its Xinjiang region, including Uyghur. China denies all allegations of abuse.

China has provided the Taliban with the ability to provide two things needed to rule Afghanistan: diplomatic recognition and much-needed infrastructure and economic assistance, said Brahma Sellani, a professor of strategic research at the Center for Political Research in New Delhi.

“An opportunist China will certainly use the strategic infiltration of mineral-rich Afghanistan and the new opening to deepen its infiltration into Pakistan, Iran and Central Asia,” he noted.

Bitter memories

In Pakistan, according to political commentator Rasa Ahmed Rumi, who teaches at Ithaca College in New York, India’s unrest at the turn of events was widely celebrated.

The two countries have waged three wars since independence when the subcontinent was partitioned in 1947.

“Pakistan’s happiness on social media and television screens is often associated with the loss of Indian influence, and key political circles (Afghan President Ashraf) see Kani’s close relationship with India as a threat,” Rumi said.

India has bitter memories of the Taliban’s previous rule in 1996-2001 and the group’s relations with Pakistan.

In 1999, an Indian Airlines plane was hijacked and landed in Kandahar, southern Afghanistan. New Delhi released three high-ranking Pakistani militants from its prison in exchange for the return of passengers, and the Taliban allowed the kidnappers to enter Pakistan.

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“Our current position is to adjust to reality. We have to play in Afghanistan for a long time. We have no consistent border, but we have interests there,” said Jayant Prasad, a former Indian ambassador to Kabul.

Diplomatic sources in New Delhi say that last year, as the Taliban became a dominant force and talks with US mediators began in Toga, a line of Indian diplomats was opened.

“We are talking to all parties interested,” one of them said, but did not want to go into the details of the talks. When the United States began negotiations with the Taliban, India was criticized in the country for laying all the eggs in the Ghani government.

Do not rush

However, India, as a major economic power, may be attractive to the Taliban as they seek to avoid excessive dependence on China.

India has development plans in each of Afghanistan’s 34 small and large provinces, including the parliament building in Kabul, which was invaded by armed Taliban after destroying the city last week.

Myra McDonald, a former Reuters correspondent who has written three books on South Asia, said that although the capture of the Taliban was a setback for India, it was not the end of New Delhi’s game.

“This is not a recurrence of the past. Everyone is going to be very careful this time to allow Islamic terrorism to explode in Afghanistan like it did in the days before 9/11.

“And, comparatively, India is much stronger economically this time than Pakistan,” he said.

A senior Taliban member commented that poor Afghanistan needed the help of countries in the region, including Iran, as well as the United States and Russia.

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“We hope they will help us, and they will support our people, especially the health sector and especially the business and mining sectors,” said Wahidullah Hashimi, who has access to the panel’s decision-making. “Our job is to convince them to accept us,” he added.