Why the tumble of Afghanistan is poor news for India’s war on terror

“Kal Roos ko bikharta dekha tha, Aaj India tootta dekhenge. Hum barq-e-jihad ke sholon Mein, America ko jalta dekhenge” (We observed Russia disintegrate. Now we will see India drop aside. In the flames of jehad, we will see The united states ablaze) I observed these lines scrawled in Urdu with […]

Kal Roos ko bikharta dekha tha, Aaj India tootta dekhenge. Hum barq-e-jihad ke sholon Mein, America ko jalta dekhenge”

(We observed Russia disintegrate. Now we will see India drop aside. In the flames of jehad, we will see The united states ablaze)

I observed these lines scrawled in Urdu with the legend ‘Mujahideen ki lalkar (war cry of the Mujahideen)’–in a notebook in Afghanistan in December 2001. It was in a former armed service camp identified as Rish Khor, about 10 kilometres north of Kabul. It would have been unconventional to come across an Urdu notebook in a region where by Dari is the main language. Pakistan, exactly where the language is widely spoken, is about 200 kilometres away. The notebook, which I later on experienced translated in New Delhi, had after belonged to a Pakistani university student recruit. The camp was a previous terror education academy run by Al Qaeda-skilled recruits from Pakistan. They experienced been sent there by various Pakistani jihadist tanzeems, which includes the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) and the Al Qaeda-affiliated Harkat-ul Jihad Islami (HuJI). It was operate by a single Qari Saifullah Mehsud, who was also a essential figure in HuJI.


An INDIA Right now group visited this camp two months soon after the Taliban experienced been routed and a new interim administration headed by President Hamid Karzai installed in Kabul. Rish Khor was just one of numerous these camps set up across the country. At a single of numerous this kind of camps in the late 1990s, a Pakistani Al Qaeda operative named Khalid Shaikh Mohammad hatched the plot to use hijacked airliners to demolish the tTwin Towers, Capitol Hill and the Pentagon. These assaults in which 2,977 individuals ended up killed, led to the invasion of Afghanistan by the US and its allies. In Oct 2001, the camp had been bombed to rubble by US fighter jets using off from aircraft carriers parked in the Arabian Sea and B-52s flying in from the Indian Ocean island fortress of Diego Garcia.

On the evening of November 11, 2001, the Taliban melted absent with no a struggle and the coalition forces captured the funds.

Two many years later on, the wheel is turning full circle. The hasty pullout of US forces from Afghanistan has accelerated its recapture by the Taliban. Surging out of their bases in western Pakistan, the advancing Taliban have achieved with little or no resistance. The 300,000-strong Afghan Nationwide Army (ANA) has disappeared and cash Kabul has been encircled and could slide at any time now. There now exists the quite genuine prospect of the Taliban’s twin-tone flags fluttering over Afghanistan right before September 11, 2021, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 assaults.

The drop of Afghanistan marks 1 of the catastrophic failures of US armed service intelligence. US-based counter-terrorism qualified Invoice Roggio tweeted on August 14 that “US army intelligence leaders are directly responsible for the major intelligence failures since Tet in 1968 (the Viet Cong’s offensive into South Vietnam). How did the Taliban approach, organise, situation and execute this substantial nationwide offensive below the noses of USMIL, CIA, DIA, NDS, ANDSF etc.” The fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban could have wider ramifications for the planet in general and India in certain.

The Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan in 1979 observed 8 a long time of a resistance movement backed by the US. The war finished with the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1988. The many years that followed noticed Pakistan’s deep condition diverting broad stockpiles of ex-Afghan War arms and ammunition into Kashmir in the late 1980s to fight a proxy war that carries on until date. The Afghan war honed and refined the deep state’s potential to wage covert war and also to recognize how political Islam could be weaponised by proxy forces. Pakistani terrorist outfits like the Permit, HuJI and HuM were being in simple fact set up inside of Afghanistan to combat the Soviet occupation forces but ended up made use of by the deep point out in opposition to India. Pakistan’s deep point out again performed a vital role in increasing and schooling the Taliban from among the Pashtun parts of japanese and southern Afghanistan.

The Taliban Emirate that ruled Afghanistan concerning 1996 and 2001 offered sanctuary to jihadist groups from across the planet, from Chechnya to the Philippines, and, of class, Al Qaeda, which fled its sanctuary in Sudan in 1996 to turn into an honoured state visitor of the Taliban’s Mullah Omar. Hundreds of terrorists trained in Afghanistan went on to fight in other battlegrounds throughout the environment. The Soviet defeat in Afghanistan, its subsequent disintegration and the attacks on the US emboldened these groups.

The slide of the Taliban in 2001 finished the use of Afghanistan as a terror base. That fact could now return to Afghanistan. Studies propose that quite a few British nationals experienced travelled to combat together with the Taliban. The last time this happened was between 2014 and 2017 when a terrorist group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) working in Syria and Iraq, managed a territory the sizing of Great Britain in equally nations. ISIS actively solicited recruits from throughout the environment and in excess of 10,000 folks are assumed to have travelled to its territories. The prospect of Afghanistan becoming an additional nursery for terrorist teams is what could induce major get worried in New Delhi. In 1999, four Pakistanis hijacked Indian Airlines flight IC 814 from Kathmandu and diverted it to Kandahar in Afghanistan. There, secured by the Taliban, the hijackers secured the launch of terrorist leaders Maulana Masood Azhar, Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar and Omar Saeed Sheikh in exchange for the 150 airline passengers.

Azhar went on to launch his terrorist outfit, the Jaish-e-Mohammed, responsible for sensational terrorist assaults, such as the December 2001 attack on India’s Parliament. More not long ago, the JeM claimed obligation for the February 14, 2019 suicide bombing at Pulwama in which 40 CRPF troopers had been killed. On February 26, IAF jets bombed the JeM instruction camp in Balakot, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, in retaliation to the assault. The prospect of Pakistan shifting its camps into Afghanistan—away from the assortment of retaliatory assaults by India–is just one of the eventualities that cannot be wished away. There is also the danger of warehouses of complex arms and ammunition the Taliban captured from the Afghan governing administration forces being marketed or diverted to India-precise militant groups. The prospect of fight-hardened foot soldiers remaining infiltrated to struggle in India remains a distinct risk.

The existence of the US in Pakistan and Afghanistan intended Indian companies could accessibility intelligence relating to these two international locations. Indian intelligence agencies cooperated intently with their counterparts in Afghanistan’s exterior intelligence company, the Countrywide Directorate of Safety. All that will appear to an close now. A former Indian intelligence official compares the scenario as akin to an individual turning off the lights in people nations around the world. These developments increase a worrying new dimension for India’s war on Pakistan-based mostly terror.

Marilynn Veness

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