It is perhaps a coincidence that in the 20th year of 9/11, the US and NATO allies have ended their Afghan mission for which 9/11 was the impetus. The events of 9/11 have led to a global effort to fight terrorism, it brought terror as a major issue on the world stage. Following the Intel received by the US Army, America launched attacks on Afghanistan impelling the Taliban government to fall. The US along with its allies and partners began the mission to rebuild Afghanistan. The rest as they say is history.

Last month, we witnessed the greatest human tragedies in recent years, people trying to flee holding onto the wings and wheels of the aircrafts. For 20 years the Afghan people enjoyed democracy and freedom, with the Taliban back in the seat of power, what does it mean for the Afghan people and to the world at large? Was it the failure of the International community? Will it emerge as a safe haven for terrorists? History shall give its detailed report on the same.

The sad part through all of this is, we as an international community have remained as mute spectators, every country was in back channel talks or in some kind of agreement with the Taliban in Doha as they continued the violence across provinces , without even asking for a ceasefire which has virtually led to a surrender by the Ghani government. But it was really frustrating to see the Afghan establishments not stand up for their people in such a crisis, which made this a cake walk for the Taliban.

Currently of the 33 Ministers of the Afghan government, 18 are UN designated terrorists, will they now be given a free pass? We have seen in recent weeks the Taliban have started implementing their interpretation of Islamic law, we have seen protests against this in various provinces, especially by women. Now it’s the turn of the UNSC to use the leverage it has to see that human rights, women rights are ensured in the region. 

The pain of the Afghan people is real, the International community faces an uphill task, it is our moral duty to help the Afghan people. The withdrawal was surely chaotic, was it the right decision? Let the historians figure that out, but what next is a question we all need to ponder upon. It was a terrorist attack that propelled the war, are we today leaving a country and its people to terrorists? Or should we just believe that those people who kill innocent people in cold blood have changed?

As of today only a handful of countries have a functional embassy in Kabul continuing their diplomatic mission. With the reservations several countries have with the dispensation in Kabul, there might be a serious blow to the country's economy and livelihoods of people which are already in distress due to the pandemic. It seems pretty certain that people will have to resort to illegal activities for their survival, it seems evident from the fact that a 3000 Kg shipment of drugs reached a port in Gujarat from Afghanistan.

From the Indian perspective, Afghanistan has been a strategic partner (a geographic advantage to counter Pakistan from both sides), Indian initiatives such as building dams, roads, government buildings and other developmental activities. As of today we have closed our embassy and consulates in Afghanistan. The influence of Pakistan on the Taliban was clearly visible from the Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi meetings with the Taliban establishment before the government announcement. India will have to walk a tightrope, with our relations with Pakistan appears to be at an all time low, it would become imperative to see that Afghan soil is not used for terrorist activities especially by Lashkar-e-taiba & Jesh-e-Mohhomad who have trained with the Taliban and are anti-India. Having faced gruesome terrorist attacks such as the Attack on India’s Parliament, 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attack, Hijack of the Indian Airline plane in Kandahar, attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul to name a few, heading the Taliban Sanctions Committee, India should see to all its concerns are addressed.  

Terrorism has been a scourge on human race, no amount of problems or issues can ever justify the killing of innocent men and women via terror. The developments in Afghanistan are worrying and can have wide scale ramification to the security and stability of the region and the world. Its now more important than ever before that all nations come together at a time when the world seem to become bipolar, every country should put its vested interests aside and help in the fight against terror, because terrorism anywhere is a threat to democracy everywhere.

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