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Time To Establish Diplomatic Relations With Taliban That being the case, why is the hesitation to establish formal diplomatic relations with the Taliban?


By Lieutenant General PRAKASH

Sanjay Sudhir, 's ambassador in the UAE has invited Badruddin Haqqani, the charge d'affaires at the Afghanistan embassy in Abu Dhabi and his spouse for the reception on the occasion of India's Republic Day on January 26, 2024.

Badruddin Haqqani, former member of the Haqqani Network and son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, was appointed charge d'affaires in Abu Dhabi in October 2023 by Afghanistan's Taliban government.

His elder brother Sirajuddin Haqqani is the First Deputy Leader and Acting Interior Minister of Afghanistan.

The Haqqani Network was involved in several terror attacks, including on the Indian embassy in Kabul in July 2008.

Sirajuddin Haqqani is wanted for questioning in multiple cases: Attack on a hotel in Kabul in 2008 killing six people, including a US citizen; coordinating and participating in attacks on US and coalition forces in Afghanistan; planning the assassination of then Afghan president Hamid Karzai in 2008.

The US department of state has offered a $10 million reward for Sirajuddin Haqqani's capture.

But in July 2023, US officials met Sirajuddin Haqqani in Doha, Qatar, while he was travelling on a Pakistani passport. This shows the two faces of America, which can hardly be trusted.

According to the media, though Ambassador Sudhir's invite was sent to Badruddin Haqqani, the address (perhaps on the envelope) mentioned the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, not the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the latter being the designation used by the Taliban, and therefore, India has not accorded de facto recognition to the Taliban government in Kabul.

This is some weird logic, akin to calling the zebra a painted horse.

Afghan diplomats owing allegiance to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan under then president Ashraf Ghani have been pulled out from Afghan missions abroad by Kabul or have switched allegiance to the Taliban.

Farid Mamundzai, Afghanistan's ambassador to India, appointed by the erstwhile Islamic Republic of Afghanistan while in Europe was without a visa to return to Delhi, for which he blamed India.

Over 25 Afghan diplomats aligned with the previous Islamic Republic of Afghanistan left India in November 2023,

A post by the Afghan embassy India stated: ‘As of Nov 23, there is no Afghan diplomat representing the former Republic in India. Those with ties to the Taliban are aligning themselves with Taliban and also Delhi's interests.'

Concurrently another post on X read, ‘From the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan' (read Taliban government).

The MEA did not respond to queries on the above, which implied that the Taliban are already in India.

Whether the MEA wants to admit or not, the writ of the Taliban government now runs in the Afghan embassy and the two consulates in India.

In 2018, India sent two former Indian envoys to attend the Russia-sponsored peace conference in Moscow with the Taliban.

But the instant ‘official' invite to Badruddin Haqqani is for an ‘official' function.

India re-established its diplomatic presence in Afghanistan by sending a ‘Technical Team' with humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan at its embassy in Kabul in June 2022.

The changed official stance towards the Taliban could have been prompted due to multiple reasons, like increasing Chinese influence over Taliban, what with the 90 km China-Afghanistan link completed through the Wakhan Corridor completed and the China Pakistan Economic Corridor's planned extension to Afghanistan and beyond.

America, looking for a base in AfPak perhaps is also egging India to get closer to the Taliban.

On September 13, 2023, China's newly appointed ambassador to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Zhao Sheng was welcomed at Kabul's presidential palace in a ceremony attended by Acting Prime Minister Mohammad Hassan Akhund and Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.

Zhao Sheng presented his credentials to Akhund, which the latter accepted.

In turn, China formally received Bilal Karimi as the Afghan ambassador representing Taliban's Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan to China.

It is no secret that the Taliban, the Terik-i-Taliban Pakistan and al-Qaeda are linked underhand, America has been using Islamic State and al-Qaeda as its proxies, all these fundamentalist terrorist organisations and their affiliates aim for a South Asian/Global Islamic Emirate that would include India, and that the intimate link between the CIA, ISI and MI6 is adverse for India.

Notwithstanding the above, realpolitik indicates that none of the big powers, including the US, Russia and China, are interested in dislodging the Taliban.

In fact, there is every possibility that US troops left $92 billion worth of weapons, weapon platforms and military equipment for the Taliban when quitting Afghanistan.

Interestingly, John F Sopko, the US special inspector general for Afghan Reconstruction, told the US House Committee on Oversight and Accountability on April 18, 2023, ‘I cannot assure … we are not currently funding the Taliban.'

The Taliban government in Afghanistan is not going anywhere and global powers and immediate neighbours will keep hedging in the region to increase respective spheres of influence.

That being the case, why is the hesitation to establish formal diplomatic relations with the Taliban?

Are we not sure of the consequences of such a move or are we simply scared because Pakistan has condemned the consecration of the Ram temple (external link) on the site of the demolished Babri Masjid, which implies Hindus will likely be targeted in AfPak and it will be easier for the ISI to recruit Muslim youth from and other states for terrorist attacks?

Lieutenant General Prakash Katoch (retd), PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SC is a former Special Forces officer. He is a third generation army officer and participated in the 1971 India-Pakistan War and in Operation Bluestar. He commanded a Special Forces Battalion in Sri Lanka, a Brigade on the Siachen Glacier, a Division in and a Strike Corps in the South Western Theatre.




The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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