India should initiate dialogues with Taliban: Foreign policy experts
In its first ever press conference, Taliban had tried to project itself as moderate and liberal image which is just opposite to what it was over two decades back.
New Delhi: With the absence of democratic-elected government in Afghanistan and the Taliban now reality, the foreign policy experts are of the view that India should initiate dialogues with the Taliban and explore opportunities while keeping a tight vigil on the armed cadres in the war-torn country.
Speaking at a seminar organised by the Press Club of India, former diplomat Vivek Katju, who had also served in Afghanistan just after the Taliban was ousted in 2002, said that “.... We should open up directly with the Taliban. I said this even though I am fully cognisant of the very valid points regarding the Taliban orientation, their connections with Pakistan and their conduct in the 1990s. Despite that.... we should talk to them, explore opportunities....”
In its first ever press conference, Taliban had tried to project itself as moderate and liberal image which is just opposite to what it was over two decades back. The Taliban had assured that women will able to work under Sharia Law and also committed that its soil would not be used by foreign countries for terror operations.
“I think the ideological orientation of Taliban are completely deplorable, they are antithetical to both that the Indian state stands for. I also do not know if the Taliban have evolved and if evolved to what extent. Yet despite this i said because i was coming to a conclusion on a basis of information coming in public domain some years ago,” Katju said.
Ashraf Ghani, initially a pro-Pakistani
The expert was of the view that the successive governments have failed the people of Afghanistan.
“I regret to say this the leadership of Islamic Republic especially of the last president ... simply incapable of meeting the challenges of knitting the country together and the country like Afghanistan,” he said.
“President Ashraf Ghani’s first instinct was to go to Pakistan when he became president in 2014. He gave an address where he said that the Afghanistan’s foreign policy would be in five concentric circle. Pakistan was in the first while India was fourth in the circle. He was the first president of Afghanistan who went to Pakistan Army HQ in Rawalpindi. People say Taliban has a strong bonding with Pakistan. Don’t you think Ghani has not tried? When Pakistan’s Army dejected him by saying we do not have trust on you then he came towards us. Should we forget all these?,” he said.
However, his colleagues in Afghanistan had not liked it. Because the image of Pakistan in Afghanistan is not good.
Failed in convincing Pashtuns about Taliban
“The Pashtun leadership and the boys, men and women who put one foot outside the Afghanistan and one foot inside the Afghanistan really did not in any meaningful way venture out to sit with the constituency in rural Afghanistan, especially in Pashtun heartland to convince them that the ideology represented by the Taliban was regressive and the ideals of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan needed to be upheld despite the deficiencies and difficulties,” the former diplomat said.
Fragmented political class
The Americans were absolutely getting tired of this war in Afghanistan. It was quite clear that since Kabul’s political class was fragmented the viability of the armed and security forces of Afghanistan was in danger.
Talks with Taliban
“When a strategic interest of any country comes, you need to be practical along with principle. For this reason I reached on a conclusion that there should be dialogue with the Taliban. If we do not talk, how would be able to find that platform which is needed in diplomacy. We have wasted our time but that is past, now. What we should do now? What is the reality now?,” he said.
“We want to keep a tight vigil on them. The fact is that entire Afghanistan is under their grip, except Panjshir province. Some of the areas they entered like there was no resistance. We have to learn something with all these things and on that basis, the policy should be made on our neighbour in the west.”
International recognition to Taliban
As per Katju, Taliban had created a shadow structure to govern the province and this is the reason why there is no chaos in becoming the No 1 in the government.
On August 15, Ghani fled the country just before the armed Taliban cadres entered into Kabul city. In such situation, the political wing of any organisation try to grab the power but in this case it has not happened. Taliban’s shadow structure, Katju reasoned.
“The effort is that the US and the West ask the Taliban if you want the international recognition (which they have got) or want to retain that then form an inclusive Islamic government. I don’t think they would get any success in this,” he added.
Pakistan is coordinating for the government formation in Afghanistan. “The West is pressurising Islamabad for inclusion of every section of society in the new government.
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