By NVONews.Com Correspondent,
Perhaps for the first time since they came to power in Afghanistan in Sep 1996 till now the Taliban––subsequently ousted by US and allied forces in November 2001––on Sunday praised India for resisting the US pressure for greater involvement in Afghanistan.
Reacting to the US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta’s appeal to India to take a more active role in Afghanistan, the Taliban said that as the United States had failed it now wants to seek India’s help to have some say in the country.
According to the English website of Taliban Panetta spent three days in India “to transfer the heavy burden to their shoulders, to find an exit, and to flee from Afghanistan.”
The website said that “some reliable media sources said that the Indian authorities did not pay heed to (US) demands and showed their reservations, because the Indians know or they should know that the Americans are grinding their own axe.”
It needs to be recalled that in May 20-21 meet of 28 NATO countries in Chicago it was decided to withdraw all the 1,30,000 foreign forces from that war-ravaged Central Asian country by Dec 31, 2014. About 90,000 of these forces are from the United States, which certainly want India to play a more positive role.
India, on its part, is providing more than two billion US dollar in assistance to projects in Afghanistan. It is constructing highways and building Afghan Parliament. But India has refrained from intervening too much in the Afghan affairs for obvious historical and geographical reasons.
Even Taliban concedes that “India is a significant country in the region” and has “full information about Afghanistan because they know each other very well in the long history.”
The Taliban statement said that “they (India) are aware of the Afghan aspirations, creeds and love for freedom. It is totally illogical they should plunge their nation into a calamity just for the American pleasure.”
Afghan-watchers are of the view that India has a very good relationship with President Hamid Karzai, who had spent quite a few years in Shimla during his students days. Even if Taliban gains power after the withdrawal of the NATO forces––as is being feared in many circles––they may adopt a different policy. They know how Saudi Arabia, UAE and Pakistan betrayed them in the hour of crisis.
Both Hamid Karzai and any future Taliban government in Kabul may now look towards Pakistan with suspicion. True, they will have to rely on its ports because Afghanistan is a landlocked country, yet in future they will surely adopt a different policy.
The Sunday’s statement of Taliban is a significant departure from the past and drops enough hint about new relationship with India.