The government of Afghanistan may, at some future point, seek India’s military assistance if talks with the Taliban fail amid a withdrawal of US troops from there, the country’s Ambassador to India has said. He, however, made it clear that the aid sought would not involve sending troops but could be in areas like training and technical support.
Representatives of the Taliban and the Afghanistan government have been holding talks amid the insurgents’ increasing control over the country even as the US looks to wind up its almost two-decade war there by the end of August.
However, the peace talks supposedly taking place in Doha have largely fizzled out, and the Taliban now appear set on a complete military victory
“Should we not get to a stage in the peace process with the Taliban, then maybe a time (will come) where we would be seeking India’s military assistance, more military assistance in the years ahead,” Farid Mamundzay, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to India.
“We are not seeking India’s assistance with sending troops to Afghanistan. Their footprint in Afghanistan to fight our war would not be needed at this stage,” he clarified.
He explained how, for instance, how the Air Force is an area where his country would require assistance in and that more opportunities could be explored on this front. The envoy cited pilot training, for which India is “naturally a place” it would want involvement from.
“India has also, again, helped us with two key components, one was to help with providing us military training (and) scholarships for our cadets,” Mr Mamundzay said.
On the civilian front, he listed the 1,000 annual scholarships India provides, the 20,000-odd Afghan students studying here now, the building of the new Afghan parliament, and the construction of dams, besides other infrastructure projects
The current situation in Afghanistan is “very dire” and “very problematic”, with the government forces actively fighting the Taliban in around 150 of the 376 districts, the Ambassador said.
“So one-third of the country is in active fight… Over two lakh people have been displaced internally in the country since April 2021 alone, with close to 4,000 killed,” he said.
The insurgents have swept through much of northern Afghanistan in recent weeks and the government now holds little more than a constellation of provincial capitals that must largely be reinforced and resupplied by air, AFP reported today.
The Taliban have, however, said they do not want to battle government forces inside cities.
Referring to the recent killing of 22 government forces personnel, Mr Mamundzay said: “This happened in the province of Faryab last month where 22 of our special forces were brutally murdered by Taliban at a time when they were surrendering.”
“We were under the assumption that Taliban would take the peace process seriously and they would negotiate a lasting and dignified peace with the Afghan government, yet they chose the path of violence.”
On Sunday, India evacuated diplomats and security personnel from its Kandahar consulate in the wake of intense fighting.