Taliban's takeover of Kabul has been dominating the news since the beginning of August and seems that it will continue to dominate the month of September as well. There are multiple ramifications of this incident on an international scale. Matter of security in southeast Asia, America's upcoming plans, Chinese influence on central Asia, Pakistan's involvement inside Afghanistan, and of course the future of Afghanistan, everything depends on this incident. However, the rise of terrorism in Kashmir is the main concern for India besides its role in central Asia.
There has been a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan for over 70 years related to Kashmir and Ladakh. The latter is well known to export terrorism after it failed to win wars. Top political observers and diplomats are assessing that the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan may increase terrorism-related activity in Kashmir. Terrorism in the valley was subdued for the last few years.
Terrorist outfit Al-Qaeda cheered the Taliban's victory in Afghanistan and wrote Kashmir is next on their agenda. “Dear Ummah, it’s time for you to prepare for the next stage of the struggle. This historic victory will open the way for Muslim masses to achieve liberation from the despotic rule of tyrants who have been imposed by the West on the Islamic World,” Al-Qaeda statement congratulating Taliban says. Al-Qaeda is the same terror group that the US pledged to destroy by invading Afghanistan in 2001.
Further in the congratulatory note, Al-Qaeda added, "O' Allah! Just as You helped Your slaves in the Islamic Emirate to overcome their enemies, help them in establishing the law of Your Shariah in Afghanistan and protecting the interests of Islam and Muslims. O' Allah! With Your infinite mercy, make them self-sufficient and self-reliant. Just as you have liberated Afghanistan from the American occupation, liberate Palestine from Zionist occupation, and the Islamic Maghreb from French occupation... O' Allah! Liberate the Levant, Somalia, Yemen, Kashmir, and the rest of the Islamic lands from the clutches of the enemies of Islam."
Why is this a worrying signal for the world?
Taliban is known to harbor Al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda leaders and fighters found asylum in Afghanistan during the 90s. They were dormant for all these years after the United States killed its leader Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan. But after the Taliban's power capture, they may now find safe heaven again in Afghanistan.
United Nations has said that relation between the Taliban and Al-Qaeda has deepened during all these years. This is not good for the whole of Asia considering the location of Afghanistan. Afghanistan is situated at the center of Asia and dubbed "Heart of Asia". So if the center is not stabilized, its effect can spill into its neighbor.
Pakistan, Russia, China, Iran, India, all of us will be affected. Considering the age of globalization, terrorism has also gone global. If Asia is destabilized, sooner or later the fire will reach the western world and we are in 2001 again.
Why is this a worrying signal for India?
1. Relation between Taliban and Pakistan
The link between the Taliban and Pakistan is the main concern for India. Pakistan's obsession with the Indian state of Kashmir is well-known. Half of the Pakistani politics revolve around Kashmir. The majority of the Pakistani population believes in "Kasmir Banega Pakistan", which means 'Kasmir will be a part of Pakistan one day.
Pakistanis don't see this happening through dialogue or even with the help of military action. They have done this in the past and lost every time. Hence they try to destabilize the valley with the help of terrorists, extremists, and even some Kashmiri separatists leaders. There has been a sharp decline in such activity in the valley for the past few years and this worries our neighbor. On the other hand, the Taliban comprises warlords. Now that war is over in Afghanistan, experts are predicting that Pakistan can use those fighters to infiltrate the Kasmir valley and destabilize the situation over there. Taliban and Pakistan have had long relationships since 1994. Pakistan helped Afghanistan to take over Kabul in 1996. It also gave shelter to Talibani fighters after the American invasion. Many Taliban fighters were trained in Pakistan and still have their relatives living in Pakistan.
2. Rise of extremism in South-east Asia
Even though new Talibani leadership is trying to portray themselves as a changed group who believes in a modern way of living, the truth is that they still practice strict Islamic laws. This is a matter of concern for the entire world and especially India. There are plenty of hardcore Islamist extremist groups in the neighbor of India like Pakistan, Bangladesh, and some even inside India.
The rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan may boost their confidence. The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) or Pakistan Taliban is one of the most dangerous terrorist groups inside Pakistan. They have killed thousands of Pakistani military personnel and civilians in the past. They vow to establish an Islamic extremist government in Pakistan like Afghanistan. Having a nuclear-powered neighbor with an Islamic extremist government that has the 10th largest military in the world would be a nightmare for India.
3. Chinese game in Afghanistan
With the lack of funds and foreign powers stopping the aid, Afghanistan can be the next target of China. China is known to give money to needy countries at unfair interest rates. When they can not return the money, China enslaves them in a modern way. It takes control of their ports, makes military bases on their land, and use them for its geopolitical agenda.
Experts fear that Afghanistan might be next on the list. Having another neighbor in the hand of China is also a point to worry about for India.
The Taliban has assured the world that they will not let anyone use Afghanistan's land for terrorism-related activity against any country. The recent bomb blast in the Kabul airport is a sign that the Taliban are incapable to handle such situations. Given their history and action, it is hard to believe their words.
The Indian government is aware of the situation and actively addressing this issue. Defense Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh said in a recent event, that they are changing their strategy towards Afghanistan. Officials are holding a regular meeting on the Afghan issue. Certain preventive measures have already been taken, like X-ray scanning of Afghani trade Trucks coming through the Atari border of Pakistan. The exact ramification of this event lies only in the hands of the future.