The US’ South Asian Policy After Afghan Exit By Prof Abdul Shakoor Shah

THE US consciously or unconsciously committed principal mistakes regarding their exit from Afghanistan namely the emergency plan for evacuation prior to Taliban take-over and the US must do it much earlier to tackle the bottleneck.

The two major factors, Covid-19 in terms of issuance of visa to pro-US Afghans and secondly the bureaucracy stimulated the hasty US exit from the land of Taliban. Now after the US exit, Pakistan and India will loom the Taliban government differently.

The history of Pak-Afghan ties favour Pakistan much more than India as Pakistan has much influence in Afghanistan due to certain geo-political, geo-strategic, social-economic and religious-cultural reasons.

Indian claws are only some weeks old in Afghanistan which have almost crawled back to their venomous hives.

Seemingly, Pakistan will help the Taliban to be recognized by the rest of friendly countries. The US Taliban policy is dubious in terms of recognizing the Taliban government.

If the US and allies could negotiate with Taliban for exit with the help of some Muslim countries, then what is the problem in recognizing Taliban government? The US-India ties will get a sure jolt in this scenario as the Hindu mindset will prefer waiting and playing according to Taliban behaviour.

There is a possibility of Taliban recognition by India for futuristic benefits but their normalization of relations like Pakistan seems out of quest.

The Indian recognition will be for the safety of its interests especially her investment in Afghanistan. But the Chinese, Russian and Pakistani footprints are much stronger there which will push India out of the regional arena.

India is revenging Chinese workers in Pakistan through terrorist activities dreaming of getting regional hold.

India has been triggering terrorists, TTP and internal groups from Afghanistan but now the situation is topsy-turvy as Taliban will eliminate such insurgents in Afghanistan for their own security and guarantee to Pakistan for solid cooperation.

Russia and China can initiate a joint mission in Afghanistan stability as they aspired the US to exit the region.

Surely, the US will keep an eye on the region for its regional interests via India. The US seemingly will twitch its South Asian policy in the post- Afghan exit scenario.

The US can never let Russia and China unchecked in the region. There is expected shift in the US policy for Iran after the US exit as there is dire need of Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan joint regional block for their security, stability and peace and prosperity.

In this regard, Iran has to smoother its relations with China and Pakistan as both are looking at Iran as an Indian ally.

Although the US presence in Afghanistan was to some extent advantageous for China, Iran, Russia and Pakistan as it was working as a security provider in the region, their interests were still at stake.

The US South Asian policy has always been Indian centric and the Afghan exit is not expected to bring any new shift in the past history. This policy is favouring the US for countering China.

The US hasty exit is planned one as she wants more strategic policy space for India to compete with China. Now the US will bait the small Asian states which are dwindling between India and China rivalry. The US debt trap policy will work in this regard.

The US south Asian policy cannot be worked out minus Pakistan as the US needs Pakistan for Afghan peace and stability and India is of no use in this regard. The US miscalculation of 90 days about Taliban Takeover after her exit proved a nightmare.

The Indians were not supporting Afghanistan but they were working under the veil to tarnish Pakistan on international fronts through the US.

The Taliban’s blisteringly fast takeover of Afghanistan has stunned security and diplomacy experts worldwide.

The Afghan civil government, the west and India were woven in a loose thread which is no more there. The experts are foreseeing China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan in the regional great game in the future.

It is anticipated that after stability, the Afghans will start penetrating Indian occupied Kashmir.
The India-US alliance will debar the notion of Taliban penetration in Kashmir as it is against the US interests in the region.

It seems in the future, the US, China and Russian will be watching wrestling in the South Asian arena to counter the balance.

The US is left with no other option except India to counter Russia and China. It is obvious that the US South Asian policy will be Indian centric and there is very little chance of a long standing Kashmir issue in near future.

India had long been reluctant to shake hands with the US, but now it is also left with no other option except the US. Both the states have their own interests.

India is dreaming of Asian king and the US is catering to maintain its world supremacy and without controlling South Asian it is impossible to stay as a world superpower. The US wants India to counter China for the US’ interest.

The history is a clear proof of the fact that the US has gone to any extent for safeguarding its interests and she is doing the same by collaborating with India. The Taliban must mould their policies in such a way to wangle the Afghan money in the US control and get recognized.

The US and the allies are responsible for the Afghanistan mess and chaos. Morally, they must accept their inefficiency of controlling, running and governing Afghanistan.

They must apologize to the world and especially to Afghans as well as pay the ransom for the hellish destruction and massacre in Afghanistan. The US must focus its South Asian policy Afghan centric rather than Indian centric.

For regional and world peace, it is of paramount vitality to recognize the Taliban government and join hands to make Afghanistan stable. Peaceful and stable Afghanistan is in the best interests of all the regional and extra regional factors.

—The writer is Prof in English, based in Lahore.​

Source: Published in Pakobserver

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