Taliban terror is at its peak, Kabul has fallen. In this article, we will have a look at the History of this radical group in brief. The role of various nation’s in its growth, and then we will have a look at the India Afghanistan cordial relationship, along with various Infrastructure that India has built-in Afghanistan. How India has always been a helping friend.
The word ‘Taliban’ means ‘students’ in the Pashto language (Spoken in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran).
The start of the emergence of the Taliban dates back to the early 1980s (officially formed in 1994). The Story goes like this-
Soviets marched into Afghanistan in 1979 to support the creation of a pro-communist government- Saur Revolution, toppling the presidency of Hafizullah Amin.
This led to the creation of the refugee camps in Pakistan, where an estimated 2.8 million Afghans had sought refuge, these Camps became the recruiting grounds for combatants both by the anti-Soviet mujahideen and also by the Radicals whose aim was not to resist the Soviets so much as to prepare for the struggle against the moderate Muslims once the Soviet presence came to an end.
This provided the setting for the emergence of the Taliban movement in 1994 led by Mullah Omar, a mujahideen who fought the Soviet intervention.
The Mujahideen were in the continuous fight against the USSR and were supported by nations like the Master Everything about SCO Organization in 2021USA, China, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. They were provided with training and weapons to establish themselves.
Following the withdrawal of the Soviets in 1989, Afghanistan sunk into further chaos as the mujahideen oversaw a period of bitter ethnic clashes.
the Taliban extended its control from southwestern Afghanistan, where they were initially influential, and in September 1995, captured the province of Herat, bordering Iran.
In September 1996, the Taliban captured Kabul dethroning the Burhanuddin Rabbani-led government; and Mullah Omar declared himself as the Emir al-Mu’minin (Commander of the Faithful) in Kandahar.
In Pashtun areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Taliban promised to bring back peace and security by enforcing their austere version of Shariah (Islamic law) once in power.
- Curiously, the Taliban were seen as a stabilizing force in Afghanistan by the west.
- The US in particular remained unconcerned at their arrival, the Assistant Secretary for State Robin Raphel responded by saying. ‘We have no quarrel with the Taliban in terms of their political legitimacy or lack thereof.
- By 1998, the Taliban forces were in control of almost 90 per cent of Afghanistan.
Taliban’s rule was full of oppressive anti-women and anti-modernity steps
There was a systematic destruction of the country’s secular heritage, especially the giant Buddha statues in Bamiyan.
They banned everything including television, music, cinema, photography, painting, etc.
Women were barred from playing sports events or attend them.
During the 5 years, they were in power, the Taliban played host to al-Qaeda (AQ), massacred thousands of minority Hazaras and established a deeply Islamic Shariah-based conservative government.
Pakistan was one of only three countries, along with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which recognised the Taliban when they captured power in Afghanistan. Pakistan was also the last country to break diplomatic ties with the Taliban.
It was the 9/11 attacks in America that were the turning point.On 7 October 2001, a US-led military coalition invasion of Afghanistan began in response to the 9/11 attacks on America.
It leads to the collapse of the Taliban regime. Mullah Omar and his comrades evaded capture and shifted base to Pakistan.
The entire leadership of the Taliban was now based in the Pakistani city of Quetta, making the ‘Quetta Shura’ the group’s foremost decision-making body.
Mullah Omar was killed in 2015. On 29 July, the Afghan government announced the death of Mullah Omar. Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, deputy to Mullah Omar for the past several years was announced the new leader by the group.
Since then, under Mullah Mansour, the Taliban has been able to consolidate its gains in south Afghanistan to mount a wave of attacks on Afghan cities including the capital Kabul and Kunduz.
At one point, the Taliban threatened to destabilise Pakistan from areas they controlled in northwest Pakistan. One of the most high-profile condemnations of all Pakistani Taliban attacks took place in 2012 when schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head on her way home in the town of Mingora.
In 2015 the Taliban seized control of the strategically important city of Kunduz for the first time since their defeat in 2001. Mullah Mansour was killed in a US drone strike in May 2016 and replaced by his deputy Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada, who remains in control of the group.
US-Taliban peace deal of February 2020
After the US-Taliban peace deal of February 2020 Taliban changed its tactics from complex attacks in cities and on military posts to targeted assassinations of Afghan civilians.
Their targets included – journalists, judges, peace activists, women in positions of power.
The new US president,
Joe Biden declared in April 2021 that all American forces would leave Afghanistan by 11 September 2021
Surviving a superpower attack in two decades of war, the Taliban started capturing all territories, Threatening to once again topple a government in Kabul in the wake of a foreign power withdrawing.
On 15th August 2021, The formal Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani left the country and Kabul under Taliban Control Once again.
India and Afghanistan Partnership
India has always played a crucial role in the development of Afghanistan
Brief of India’s support to Afghanistan
- India had built important infrastructure in Afghanistan such as roads, dams, electricity transmission lines and substations, schools and hospitals.
- India’s development assistance in Afghanistan is now estimated to be well over $3 billion.
- The 2011 India-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement committed Indian assistance to support Afghanistan.
India’s projects across Afghanistan
- It is a 42MW Dam constructed by India in Herat province.
- It is known as the Afghan-India Friendship Dam.
- A 218 km highway was built by the BRO-Border Roads Organization of India.
- The $150-million highway along the Khash Rud River from Delaram to the northeast of Zaranj.
- It connects a ring road that links various important regions such as Kandahar in the south, Ghazni and Kabul in the east, Mazar-i-Sharif in the north, and Herat in the west.
- It provided an alternative land route into landlocked Afghanistan via Iran’s Chabahar port.
Afghan Parliament House
- Afghan Parliament in Kabul was built by India at a cost of $90 million.
- Opened in 2015 and Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Parliament building.
- In 2016, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Indian PM Modi inaugurated the restored and renovated Stor Palace situated in Kabul.
- originally built in the late 19th century.
- India has reconstructed a children’s hospital in Kabul in 1972. named as Indira Gandhi Institute for Child Health in 1985.
- India has built clinics in the border provinces of -Badakhshan, Balkh, Kandahar, Khost, Kunar, Nangarhar, Nimruz, Nooristan, Paktia and Paktika.
Bilateral Trade Relations between India and Afghanistan
- India-Afghan trade has increased with the establishment of an air freight corridor in 2017
- In 2019-20, bilateral trade surpassed $1.3 billion.
- The balance of trade (BOT) is heavily in India’s favour, exports from India stands at $900 mn, while Afghanistan’s export to India at $500 million, mainly fresh and dried fruit.
- Indian exports to Afghanistan is through government-to-government contracts involving Indian companies, and the exports include pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, computers and related materials, cement, and sugar.