India’s Options in Afghanistan

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 6 October 2021

Army Jawans hold the National Flag near the snow-covered border on the 71st Republic Day (ANI Photo)

The U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman arrived in India today for a three-day visit. Afghanistan will be high on the agenda.

India’s role in Afghanistan is often overlooked, but India is (indirectly) the central player in events there dating back half-a-century: Pakistan’s project to colonise Afghanistan through jihadists — the Taliban-Qaeda forces being the most recent iteration — is for “strategic depth” in its never-ending ideological war against India.

In the 1990s, India was, with Russia and Iran, the leading supporter of the anti-Taliban resistance, known as the United Islamic Front (UIF) or “Northern Alliance”. Operating out of Tajikistan, once again the hinge state for the anti-Taliban cause, the Indians were able to supply munitions and other assistance to the UIF. The UIF leader, Ahmad Shah Masud, died at the Indian field hospital on the Farkhor Airfield in Tajikistan.

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