As it is known, Kashmir is the chief cause of tensions between heavily armed and nuclearized South Asian nations India and Pakistan, joint occupiers, along with veto power China, of Jammu Kashmir.
China has taken a part of Azad Kashmir from Pakistani possession most probably on payment basis and does not ask for more lands from India which is eager to mend ways with Asian superpower so that Pakistan stands isolated internationally without any big supporter to question Indian action against Pakistan.
Since the world powers and UNSC have refused to end genocides in Kashmir perpetrated by Indian forces that enjoy special military powers gifted by the fanatic regime, Kashmir Muslim continue to die, falling victim to modern colonialism religiously promoted by India with blessing form USA and Russia. That is indeed Himalayan shame.
It looks the South Asian nuclear giants are bent upon showcasing their prowess by engaging themselves in regular mutual clashes in order only to terrorize the Kashmiris besieged between them and find vital space in international media and forums. They have been successful.
Interestingly, both sides typically refute the other’s version of events. New Delhi protested against the alleged mutilation of the body of an Indian soldier by an attacker who escaped across the Line of Control after “committing this heinous crime”. The press wing of the Pakistani military said India had committed 178 cease-fire violations this year, killing 19 civilians and injuring 80 more.
India and Pakistan have been at loggerheads since a group of gunmen killed 19 Indian soldiers in September at an army camp in Kashmir, an attack India blamed on Pakistan-based militants. India said it had sent special commandos into Pakistan-controlled Kashmir to kill militants in a retaliatory operation that sharply soured relations between the neighbors. Pakistan says the operation never happened and accuses India of inventing it to distract attention from its crackdown on protests in the part of Kashmir it controls.
Cross fires, meant to make Kashmiris feel vulnerable, followed by cease-fire violations have been dominating the bilateral relations for years now with very little cross border trade taking place between them.
The countries’ heavily militarized frontier has been tense since, as their armed forces have frequently exchanged cross-border fire. Artillery duels and skirmishing along the disputed frontier that runs through Kashmir have escalated in recent days, leading India to summon the Pakistani deputy high commissioner to express its “grave concern and strong protest”. In a statement, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs accused Pakistan of violations of a 2003 ceasefire that have caused several fatalities and injuries among its civilians and security forces.
After initial overtures between the two prime ministers, Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan and Narendra Modi of India, relations continued to sour as ceasefire violations along the Kashmir border increased. But the two nuclear-armed neighbours have a long history of diplomatic spats but rarely have they publicly disclosed the identity of each other’s mission officials in the past.
India called off normalization talks with Pakistan in August 2014 just because the Pakistani high commissioner in Delhi feted pro-Pakistan freedom leaders from India occupied Jammu Kashmir. A year later, Pakistan called off a meeting of the two national security advisers in Delhi as war of words broke out between them. Soon afterwards, Pakistan replaced its civilian national security adviser with a retired army officer.
Diplomatic and military relations between India and Pakistan have deteriorated for weeks after a militant attack on an Indian army base in September that New Delhi blamed on Islamabad. In response to last month’s assault on an army base, in which 19 Indian soldiers were killed, the Indian army launched what it called surgical strikes on militants in territory controlled by Pakistan. Islamabad rejected India’s claims, saying Indian troops didn’t cross over to its side. India said it had carried out “surgical strikes” inside Pakistan as retribution, but Islamabad denied they even took place and accused New Delhi of fabrication to distract attention from its crackdown on the protests in the part of Kashmir it controls.
Diplomatic personnel and ambassadors have immunity to do whatever they want in foreign countries as their “right and privilege” but occasionally when one country wants to showcase its “specialty” to the world, it expels some diplomats on the famous espionage charges as if they are not supposed to do them.
Occasionally mutual expulsion of diplomats characterizes the level of their anger at a given point. Recently India and Pakistan announced they would each expel one of the other’s diplomats amid growing tension between the nuclear-armed arch-foes over the disputed region of Kashmir.
India expelled a Pakistani diplomat based in New Delhi who allegedly ran a spy ring that collected sensitive information about Indian security operations along its border. Soon Pakistan’s foreign ministry said it had declared an Indian diplomat, Surjeet Singh, persona non grata and given him 48 hours to leave the country. That is in response to Indian action insulting its Pakistani “guests”. Police in New Delhi said the Pakistani diplomat was detained on Wednesday outside the gates to Delhi Zoo, where he had met two Indian associates whom police believe he had recruited to spy for him. That is well written usual story. Police accused the Pakistani official, Mahmood Akhtar, of illegally collecting information about India’s security operations on the countries’ tense border.
India accused a Pakistani diplomat of spying and ordered him to leave the country, prompting Islamabad to expel an Indian official in retaliation, as relations between the nuclear-armed neighbors continued to sour. Police in New Delhi accused the Pakistani official, Mahmood Akhtar, of illegally collecting information about India’s security operations on the countries’ tense border. He was declared persona non grata for alleged “espionage activities,” India’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said Akhtar must leave India by next day, authorities said. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said the allegations were “false and unsubstantiated” and condemned what it called “the detention and manhandling” of the official.
Later as expected, Pakistan’s foreign ministry announced it had declared Singh persona non grata and informed the Indian High Commission he had until Saturday to leave the country. The statement said Singh was accused of activities “that were in violation of the Vienna Convention and the established diplomatic norms” but did not elaborate.
An aide to India’s prime minister in New Delhi said the government was looking into the matter. India’s external affairs ministry spokesman was not immediately available for comment. Pakistan’s High Commission in New Delhi rejected the allegations, saying in a statement it “never engages in any activity that is incompatible with its diplomatic status”. Its Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Surjeet Singh was involved in activities that violated diplomatic norms, but didn’t provide any further details of his alleged missteps.
In an apparent tit-for-tat move, Pakistan announced the expulsion of an official at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. Its Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Surjeet Singh was involved in activities that violated diplomatic norms, but didn’t provide any further details of his alleged missteps. Indian police said that Akhtar, who worked as an assistant to Pakistan’s trade counselor in the embassy in New Delhi, had been recruiting Indian informants for 18 months and obtained from them details about the deployment of security forces on the border, including maps and staffing lists.
As planned, Akhtar was detained on October 26 at a New Delhi zoo where he was collecting sensitive documents pertaining to national security from two of his Indian associates, said India’s Foreign Ministry. Akhtar—a former Pakistani soldier who reported to the country’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, police said—was taken to a police station for questioning and later released after he invoked diplomatic immunity. Police said they arrested the two Indian men, who they claimed were part of Akhtar’s network. One is a teacher in the border state of Rajasthan and the other is a businessman, said a senior Indian police official, who declined to provide details on how these men allegedly obtained sensitive documents and information.
The latest diplomatic incident has further strained ties that have grown increasingly fraught over national-security issues. India accuses Pakistan of providing training and logistical support to militants who cross the border into India to carry out attacks. Islamabad denies the allegations.
When Pakistan decided to expel two alleged Indian RAW agents from the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, in the guise of diplomats are running a terror unit in Pakistan. They include Rajesh Kumar Agnihotri and Baleer Singh. They are working as Commercial Counselor and Press Information Secretary respectively. The diplomats have been found to be involved in activities to destabilize Pakistan by facilitating and funding terrorism,” sources revealed to the media outlet. According to sources, Indian diplomatic official Surjeet Singh who was recently expelled by Pakistan was also part of the network.
In response to last month’s assault on an army base in Uri in occupied Kashmir, in which 19 Indian soldiers were killed, the Indian army launched what it called surgical strikes on militants in Kashmir territory controlled by Pakistan. Islamabad rejected India’s claims, saying Indian troops didn’t cross over to its side. The countries’ heavily militarized frontier has been tense since, as their armed forces have frequently exchanged cross-border fire.
Akhtar—a former Pakistani soldier who reported to the country’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, police said—was taken to a police station for questioning and later released after he invoked diplomatic immunity. Indian police said that Akhtar, who worked as an assistant to Pakistan’s trade counselor in the embassy in New Delhi, had been recruiting Indian informants for 18 months and obtained from them details about the deployment of security forces on the border, including maps and staffing lists.
Police said they arrested the two Indians, who they claimed were part of Akhtar’s network. One is a teacher in a mosque in the border state of Rajasthan and the other is a struggling businessman, said a senior Indian police official, who declined to provide details on how these men allegedly obtained sensitive documents and information.
The expulsion of Akhtar takes place as New Delhi seeks consular access to an Indian man, Kulbhushan Yadav, whom Pakistan arrested seven months ago, claiming he is an Indian naval officer and a spy trying to destabilize parts of the country. New Delhi has denied that Yadav was working for the Indian government. India’s Foreign Ministry said he had retired from the Navy and ran a business in Iran, from where he may have been abducted. Pakistan has denied Indian requests for consular access to Yadav, who hasn’t been charged.
Without questioning the logic of allowing special immunity guarantees to foreign embassy personnel, India just accused a Pakistani diplomat of spying and ordered him to leave the country, prompting Islamabad to expel an Indian official in retaliation, as relations between the nuclear-armed neighbors continued to sour. Also without criticizing the rule of immunity harming national interests, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said the allegations were “false and unsubstantiated” and condemned what it called “the detention and manhandling” of the official. In an apparent tit-for-tat move, Pakistan announced the expulsion of an official at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.
India accuses Pakistan of providing training and logistical support to militants who cross the border into India to carry out attacks. Islamabad denies the allegations. India says that there was high probability that the information passed on by these “anti-national elements” to PIO (Pakistan intelligence operative) is being used against the national interests and could be highly detrimental for national security, adding they had been trying to break the spy ring for six months.
Observation and solution
One is not sure Indian action followed refusal by the Pakistani official to give visa to any anti-Pakistani persons. That action would have offended New Delhi had its agents were denied Pakistani visa. The Pakistani diplomat, who reportedly worked in Pakistan High Commission’s visa section, and his alleged Indian accomplices were found with forged documents, defense-related maps, deployment charts and lists of officers working along India’s border with Pakistan, Indian police said in a statement.
One is not sure Indian action followed refusal by the Pakistani official to give visa to any ant–Pakistani persons. That action would have offended New Delhi had its agents were denied Pakistani visa. The Pakistani diplomat, who reportedly worked in Pakistan High Commission’s visa section, and his alleged Indian accomplices were found with forged documents, defense-related maps, deployment charts and lists of officers working along India’s border with Pakistan, Indian police said in a statement.
In response to last month’s assault on an army base, in which 19 Indian soldiers were killed, the Indian army launched what it called surgical strikes on militants in territory controlled by Pakistan. Islamabad rejected India’s claims, saying Indian troops didn’t cross over to its side. The countries’ heavily militarized frontier has been tense since, as their armed forces have frequently exchanged cross-border fire.
The diplomatic spat over suspicion of espionage comes after months of sharply deteriorating relations that began with civil unrest in Indian-controlled Kashmir and Pakistan’s global lobbying against New Delhi’s crackdown on the Kashmiri activists.
Indian and Pakistani troops face off against each other along the de facto border in divided Kashmir – a region they both claim in full but control in part – and have exchanged fire several times this week in cross-border shelling. Vikas Swarup, spokesman of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, said six Pakistani diplomats have already left the Indian capital but said they had not been expelled. Pakistan declined to comment on the matter ahead of a planned news conference, while India said the identity of eight of its diplomats had been revealed by Pakistani media. Pakistan has expelled six Indian diplomats for espionage and has revealed their names, local media said on Wednesday, a move sure to exacerbate a rift between the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours that has been widening for months.
As a usual profitable strategy, India accuses Pakistan of providing training and logistical support to militants who cross the border into India to carry out attacks. Islamabad denies the allegations. India accused a Pakistani diplomat of spying and ordered him to leave the country, prompting Islamabad to expel an Indian official in retaliation, as relations between the nuclear-armed neighbors continued to sour. The latest diplomatic incident has further strained ties that have grown increasingly fraught over national-security issues.
Obviously, the special privileges like immunity have been exploited by countries through their respective embassies to conduct espionage and divisive operations against the host country. Though such activities re immoral and illegal, the immunity the personnel possess enable them to undertake such heinous acts of treason. Counties like USA, UK and Russia do this more than the rest but their veto on UN saves them from any punitive measures by the affected nations that are helpless and vulnerable. Therefore, if countries wish to have genuine diplomatic work in other countries must seek to do away with immunity right and push for ending the veto status for some countries against the weak one.
Otherwise there is no point in complaining and expelling diplomatic personnel for doing what they are expected by their governments to do abroad, expecting retaliatory explosion from the affected ones. India and Pakistan also must join hands to do away with immunity and veto system on UN.
It is a fact, that Pakistani sad preachment has been caused directly by its neighbor India wanting a free say in controlling Jammu Kashmir, committing genocides as freely as jungle beasts. In fact, Pakistan got panic when India manufactured nukes with Russian help and would certainly bullied Islamabad posing itself as the boss of the region, even if would not have used them against Pakistan. As Pakistani regime spent most of its resources for military apparatus in order to defend itself from any possible Indian attacks it has little resources left for spending on poor and sports. That is exactly what Indian stalwarts wanted so that India could advance it interest, both legal and illegal, to make itself strong. It has achieved that while Pakistan has become an empty nation, bullied by every third rate nation – eventually getting nuclear facility to equate Indian threat. Indian fanatics keep pushing the government to attack Pakistani and force it to sub-serve Indian interests. Anti-Islamic forces, led by USA and India, conspired to destabilize Pakistan in order to promote Indian interests.
Nukes are as good as dead as they could only be the deterrents and cannot be eaten or used but most of its resources Pakistan has wasted on them. Apart from nukes Pakistan has developed very little. Now China is developing parts of Pakistan as part of One Road, One belt theme to showcase its economic military power. USA and China alternatively exploit Pakistan.
Now Pakistan must forget about paper tiger called India and begin planning for the overall development of the nation as a truly Islamic country to make the youth strong enough to face the challenges of the modern world in all domains, including sports- forget about the bogus sport known as cricket which does not let Pakistan focus n real sports and economy. In sports Pakistani players must shed the usual hesitation, unwillingness and fear and face the opponents with focus as Indians face Muslims in any sport but also dedication.
In view of the crude fact that UN is impotent, the best solution to the mutual hatred and tensions between these neighbors is to surrender Jammu Kashmir to Kashmiris and pay for the loss of lives and destruction of property in Kashmir.
Opposing Hindutava: US conference raises troubling questions
Controversy over a recent ‘Dismantling Global Hindutava’ conference that targeted a politically charged expression of Hindu nationalism raises questions that go far beyond the anti-Muslim discriminatory policies of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and ruling party.
The conference and responses to it highlight a debilitating deterioration in the past two decades, especially since 9/11, of the standards of civility and etiquette that jeopardize civil, intelligent, and constructive debate and allow expressions of racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic attitudes to become mainstream.
Organizers of the conference that was co-sponsored by 53 American universities, including Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Columbia, Berkeley, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania and Rutgers, insisted that they distinguish between Hinduism and Hindutava, Mr. Modi’s notion of Hindu nationalism that enables discrimination against and attacks on India’s 200 million Muslims.
The distinction failed to impress critics who accused the organizers of Hinduphobia. Some critics charged that the framing of the conference demonstrated a pervasiveness of groupthink in academia and an unwillingness to tackle similar phenomena in other major religions, particularly Islam.
The campaign against the conference appeared to have been organized predominantly by organizations in the United States with links to militant right-wing Hindu nationalist groups in India, including some with a history of violence. The conference’s most militant critics threatened violence against conference speakers and their families, prompting some participants to withdraw from the event.
Opponents of political Islam noted that Western academia has not organized a similar conference about the politicization of the faith even though powerful states like the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt have lobbied Western capitals against the Muslim Brotherhood and its Turkish and Qatari supporters with notable successes in France, Austria, Belgium and Britain.
Academia was likely to have been hesitant to tackle political Islam because Islamophobia is far more prevalent than Hinduphobia.
Moreover, perceptions of political Islam, are far more complex and convoluted. Islam is frequently conflated with political expressions and interpretations of the faith run a gamut from supremacist and conservative to more liberal and tolerant. They also lump together groups that adhere and respect the election process and ones that advocate violent jihad.
Scholars and analysts declared an end to political Islam’s heyday with the military coup in Egypt in 2013 that toppled Mohammed Morsi, a Muslim Brother, who was elected president in Egypt’s first and only free and fair poll. Political Islam’s alleged swansong loomed even larger with this year’s setbacks for two of the most moderate Islamist political parties in Tunisia and Morocco as well as hints that Turkey may restrict activities of Islamists operating in exile from Istanbul.
A more fundamental criticism of the framing of the Hindutava conference is its failure to put Hindutava in a broader context.
That context involves the undermining of the social cohesion of societies made up of collections of diverse ethnic and religious communities since Osama bin Laden’s 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington.
The attacks fueled the rise of ultra-nationalism and politicized expressions of religious ultra-conservatism not only in the Hindu world but also in the worlds of other major religions.
These include politicized ultra-conservative Islam, politicized Evangelism and Buddhist nationalism. Right-wing religious nationalism in Israel, unlike Islamism and politicized Evangelism, is shaped by ultra-nationalism rather than religious ultra-conservatism.
The worlds of religious ultra-nationalism and politicized expressions of religious ultra-conservatism are often mutually reinforcing.
Scholar Cynthia Miller-Idriss’s assessment of the impact of Al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks on the United States is equally true for India or Europe.
“In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the rise of violent jihadism reshaped American politics in ways that created fertile ground for right-wing extremism. The attacks were a gift to peddlers of xenophobia, white supremacism, and Christian nationalism: as dark-skinned Muslim foreigners bent on murdering Americans, Al-Qaeda terrorists and their ilk seemed to have stepped out of a far-right fever dream,” Ms. Miller-Idriss said.
“Almost overnight, the United States and European countries abounded with precisely the fears that the far-right had been trying to stoke for decades,” she added.
The comparison of politically charged militant nationalist and ultra-conservative expressions of diverse religions takes on added significance in a world that has seen the emergence of civilizationalist leaders.
Scholar Sumantra Bose attributes the rise of religious nationalism in non-Western states like Turkey and India to the fact that they never adopted the Western principle of separation of state and church.
Instead, they based their secularism on the principle of state intervention and regulation of the religious sphere. As a result, the rejection of secularism in Turkey and India fits a global trend that conflates a dominant religious identity with national identity.
Sarah Kamali, the author of a recently published book that compares militant white nationalists to militant Islamists in the United States, notes similar patterns while drawing parallels between far-right xenophobes and militant Islamists.
Militant Islamists’ “sense of victimhood […] is similar to that of their White nationalist counterparts in that [it] is constructed and exploited to justify their violence… Both mutually – and exclusively – target America for the purpose of claiming the nation as theirs and theirs alone, either as a White ethno-state or as part of a global caliphate,” Ms. Kamali writes.
Similarly, the Taliban defeat of a superpower energized militant Islamists, as well as proponents of Hindutava, with Islamophobic narratives spun by Mr. Modi’s followers gaining new fodder with the assertion that India was being encircled by Muslim states hosting religious extremists.
“Modi is essentially helping the recruitment of…jihadist groups by taking such a hard, repressive line against the Islamic community in India, who are now being forced to see themselves being repressed,” said Douglas London, the CIA’s counter-terrorism chief for South and South-West Asia until 2019.
Panjshir – the last stronghold of democracy in Afghanistan
The Taliban’s rapid advance in Afghanistan has briefly stalled only in the face of strong resistance mounted by the people of the country’s recalcitrant mountainous province of Panjshir. Whoever controls the region’s passes controls the routes leading to China and Tajikistan, but to seize this mountain valley and, most importantly, to keep it permanently under control has always been a problem for all invaders. Eager to let the international community see for the first time in 40 years a united Afghanistan as a sign of their final victory, the radical Islamists were prepared to make any sacrifices, including filling the approaches to the Panjshir Valley up with dead bodies. Moreover, the Taliban’s longtime ally Pakistan, which, regardless of its status of an ally of the United States, has provided them with direct military support. In fact, Islamabad admitted its less than successful role when it proposed signing a truce to find and take out the bodies of its special Ops forces who had died during the attack on the valley. However, drones flown by Pakistani operators, professional commandos (possibly once trained by the Americans), air support and other pleasant gifts from the allies eventually bore fruit letting the Taliban be photographed in front of the mausoleum of Ahmad Shah Massoud Sr., the famous “Lion of Panjshir,” who controlled the valley from 1996 to 2001. The Islamists also took control of the province’s central city of Bazarak.
Having deprived the province much of its Internet access, the radicals, who control most of the Afghan territory, found it easier to wage an information war. Their claims of victories were now more difficult to contest, even though information about their retreat did reach the outside world. Reflective of the heavy losses suffered for the first time by the Taliban and their allies – the Haqqani Network and other remnants of al-Qaeda, as well as by the regular Pakistani army is the brief truce arranged by Islamabad. Looks like the mountain passes leading to Panjshir were literally filled up with corpses…
As for Massoud Jr., the young lion of Panjshir, and his supporters, they retreated to the mountains. In fact, they had nowhere to fall back to. The problem of Afghanistan is its ethnic diversity. Thus, the country is home to 23 percent of ethnic Tajiks, most of whom live in the Panjshir Valley. However, the Taliban rely mainly on the Pashtuns, who account for over 50 percent of the country’s population. As for the new masters of Afghanistan, they are ready to carry out ethnic cleansings and even commit outright genocide in order to bring the valley into submission. To make this happen they are going to resettle there their fellow Pashtun tribesmen. Local men aged between 12 and 50 are already being taken away and, according to the National Resistance Front, no one has seen them again. However, due to the information blockade, the Taliban will not hesitate to refute such facts. One thing is clear: Massoud’s Tajik fighters and the government troops that joined them are fighting for their lives, and there will be no honorable surrender!
The main question now is whether the young lion of Panjshir will receive the same support as his father once did, or will find himself without ammunition and food. After all, the Taliban leaders have reached certain agreements with the United States. Suffice it to mention the numerous remarks made, among others, by President Biden himself about the Taliban now being different from what they were 20 years ago.
But no, the Taliban`s remain the same – they have only hired new PR people. Meanwhile, hating to admit their defeat, Brussels and Washington will have to engage in a dialogue with those who are responsible for the tragedy of September 11, 2001, and for the numerous terrorist attacks in Europe. The Taliban are pretending to make minor cosmetic concessions. Minor indeed, since they are still depriving women of the opportunity to work and study, destroying higher and secondary education and brutally clamping down on people who simply do not want to live according to religious norms.
The United States is actually helping the “new-look” Taliban. Their potential opponents, including the famous Marshal Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek, left the country under various guarantees, and Washington is trying to keep them from any further participation in the conflict. Democratic politicians naively believe that by creating an Islamic state and ending the protracted civil war in Afghanistan the Taliban will ensure stability in the region and will not move any further. Uzbekistan and Tajikistan do not think so and are strengthening their borders and preparing to protect their Afghan compatriots, because they know full well that the Taliban`s are not a national political party; they are a radical Islamist ideology.
It knows no borders and spreads like a cancerous tumor, destroying all pockets of Western culture. It can only be stopped by force. However, the two decades of US military presence in Afghanistan showed that Washington, which quickly took control of the country in 2001, simply had no strategy to keep it. The Afghans were given nothing that would appear to them more attractive than the ideas of radical Islam. As a result, the few Afghans who embrace European values are fleeing the country, and those who, like Massoud Jr., decided to fight for their freedom, now risk being left to face their enemy all by themselves.
Misjudgements in India’s Afghan policy
India’s Afghan policy has always been obsessed with the desire to deny Pakistan the “strategic depth” that Pakistan, according to India’s perception, yearns. If India had a pragmatic policy, it would not have found itself whimpering and whining like a rueful baby over spilt milk.
India supported the invasion of Afghanistan by both the former Soviet Union and the USA, both losers. President Trump mocked Modi for having built a library for the Afghan people. Trump expected India to contribute foot soldiers, and by corollary, body packs to the Afghan crisis. India played all the tricks up its sleeves to convince the USA to make India a party to the US-Taliban talks. But the USA ditched not only Modi but also Ashraf Ghani to sign the Doha peace deal with the Taliban.
India’s external affairs minister still calls the Taliban government “a dispensation”. Interestingly, the USA has reluctantly accepted that the Taliban government is a de facto government.
The United Nations’ Development Programme has portrayed a bleak situation in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is faced with multifarious challenges. These include prolonged drought and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, upheaval caused by the current political transition: frozen foreign reserves, and rising poverty.
About 47 per cent of its people live below the dollar-a-day poverty line. If the poverty line is pushed to $2 a day, 90 per cent of Afghans would be poor. About 55 per cent of Afghans are illiterate.
Ninety seven percent of the population is at risk of sinking below the poverty line, As such, Afghanistan teeters on the brink of universal poverty. Half of the population is already in need of humanitarian support. The UNDP has proposed to access the most vulnerable nine million people by focusing on essential services, local livelihoods, basic income and small infrastructure.
Currently, the gross national product of Afghanistan is around $190 billion, just a little more than the $160 billion economy of Dhaka city. The country’s legal exports of goods and services every year account for $1 billion. It imports$6 billion worth of goods and services every year.
About 80 per cent of world production of opium comes from Afghanistan. Every year, Afghanistan produces nearly 10,000 tons of opium and the revenue generated from it amounts to $7 billion approximately. About 87 per cent of the income of opium producing farmers comes exclusively from this single product. The illicit opium export by Afghanistan is worth $2 billion every year. The role of opium is significant.
About 80 per cent of public expenditure in this country is funded by grants. Since 2002, the World Bank has provided Afghanistan with a total of $5.3 billion as development and emergency relief assistance. The IMF earmarked for Afghanistan $400 million in Special Drawing Rights (SDR) for combating the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
The United States has frozen about $10 billion worth of Afghan assets held at various banks in Afghanistan. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has withdrawn the $400 million worth of SDRs allocated earlier to Afghanistan for addressing the Covid-19 crisis. The World Bank has not said anything as of yet, but it may also put restrictions on its funding to Afghanistan.
India’s lip service to Afghanistan
India provided around $3 billion in aid to fallen U.S.-backed Afghan government. It trained the Afghan army and police. But now it is not willing to pay or pledge a penny to the Taliban government. Look at the following Times of India report:
“India did not pledge any money to the Taliban ruled Afghanistan probably for the first time in 20 years. That it has not done so as Jaishanker declared … (At UN, India offers support to Afghanistan but does not pledge money. The Times of India September 14, 2021).–The Hindu, September 11, 2021
India’s tirade against Afghanistan
Indian policymakers and experts say they see no guarantees that Afghanistan won’t become a haven for militants. “Afghanistan may be poised to become a bottomless hole for all shades of radical, extremist and jihadi outfits somewhat similar to Iraq and Syria, only closer to India,” said Gautam Mukhopadhaya, who was India’s ambassador in Kabul between 2010 to 2013. He added that the Taliban victory could have an “inspirational effect” not only for Kashmir’s rebels but wherever religiously-driven groups operate in the broader region… Lt. Gen Deependra Singh Hooda, former military commander for northern India between 2014-2016, said militant groups based across the border in Pakistan would “certainly try and push men” into Kashmir, following the Taliban victory in Afghanistan (With Taliban’s rise, India sees renewed threat in Kashmir, Star Tribune September 14, 2021). “Meanwhile, Rajnath Singh conveyed to Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton that the rise of the Taliban raises serious security concerns for India and the region. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appealed for an injection of cash into Afghanistan to avoid an economic meltdown that would spark a “catastrophic” situation for the Afghan people and be a “gift for terrorist groups.”). Afghan economic meltdown would be ‘gift for terrorists,’ says U.N. chief” (The Hindu, September 11, 2021)
India’s former envoy to Kabul, Ambassador Gautam Mukhopadhyay is skeptical of the conciliatory statements by the taliban government. He advises: “We should welcome recent statements by Stanekzai and Anas Haqqani that suggest some independence from the ISI. But we should also ask some hard questions and judge them by their actions and words, and not let down our guard, both with regard to our multiple security concerns such as whether they can protect us from the Ias and ISI, sever ties with other terror groups, especially those supported by the ISI against India, deny Pakistan strategic depth, and preserve and build on our historic P2P and trade ties; and a genuinely inclusive govt in Afghanistan that accommodates the majority of Afghans who want the rights and freedoms enshrined in the 2004 Afghan Constitution or at least acceptable to the Afghan people.” (Taliban move to form govt, Naya Afghanistan brings new challenge for India, September 2, 2021).
India wants a “central role’ to be given to the UN in Afghanistan. India’s mumbo jumbo implies that Afghanistan should be made a UN protectorate. Indian media is never tired of calling the Afghan government a bunch of terrorists. They have even launched video games about it.
India needs to rethink how it can mend fences with Afghanistan that it regards a hothouse of terrorists.
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