Three questions loom uppermost in the minds of observers in India. First, what accounts for the near-total capitulation of the 300,000-350,000 US and NATO trained and equipped Afghan Army and Police forces, the ANDSF, without much of a fight barring a few honourable exceptions in Lashkargah, Herat and Taloqan, against lightly armed insurgents estimated to be around 60,000?
Second, what can explain the US decision to pull out its troops unconditionally without waiting for a negotiated political settlement regardless of consequences that were almost entirely predictable other than the speed with which it occurred? And third, what can explain India’s reluctance to engage the Taliban and what can it do?…
Gautam Mukhopadhaya, IFS, served in various capacities in Indian Embassies and Missions, including as Ambassador to Afghanistan (2010-13) as well as Syria and Myanmar. Following the ouster of the Taliban in Afghanistan in November 2001, he reopened the Indian Embassy in Kabul that month.
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