M A Hossain
World media is still shy to lament the United State's debacle in Afghanistan. The epidemic Covid-19 becomes pandemic, where Taliban regaining power in Afghanistan will become catalytic endemic in south Asian regional politics. On 29 February 2020. The US-Taliban agreement inked, which started last one year in Doha. From this agreement, the US just ensured the guarantee of preventing any further attacks on the US and its allies by terrorists enjoying Haven or support in Afghanistan. Since 18 years of war, the US has suffered 2400 military fatalities. It also spent $137 billion in various forms of reconstruction aid in Afghanistan. As per the agreement, the US-led international force will leave Afghanistan within 14 months.
On the other hand, the Taliban gets its mission accomplished by their approximately 60,000 fulltime fighters. It also substantiated by the US President Donald Trump's briefing, termed Taliban as "Great fighter" and "possibly take over the power." Needless to write, Taliban rewrites the courageous victory against another superpower after Britain and Russia (former the Soviet Union) under the present leadership of Haibatullah Akhandzada. And very soon Afghanistan will emerge as Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
Russia, China and Iran were very much supportive of logistics to the Taliban during a decades-long engagement with the US-led coalition forces. After leaving US presence, the vacuum will be filled by these countries with nation-building investment as well as new actors will be scrambled to grab a share of a new market. As per the United States Geographical Servey(USGS), Afghanistan has the numerous natural mineral resource which yet to explore. And it is geographically vital to facilitate the gateway to central Asia, Persian and East.
Despite the US-Taliban treaty, Al Qaeda (AQ) needs not to use Afghan territory as a launching pad. AQ has a stronghold in Somalia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Yemen, Syria, Nigeria, Niger, Kenya and they have established a strong foothold in Kashmir.
The emergence of new Afghanistan will change the regional geopolitical scenario. Afghanistan has 1600 miles common borders with Pakistan. Pakistan created a tactical relation with the Taliban for their internal stability. Taliban are 46% Pashtuns of Afghan 35 million where some tribes are 15% of Pakistani 215 million and the Taliban has an offshoot Teherik e Taliban Pakistan(TTP) in Pakistan. Talibani signator in US-Taliban agreement, Molla Abdul Ghani Baradar was released by Pakistan government on October 2018 who was arrested by a joint US-Taliban operation in 2010. It is believed that Pakistan will be a very close ally to the Taliban.
In my opinion, India's steps are far behind to face the upcoming security threat. National Registration of Citizens (NRC), and Citizenship Amendment Act(CAA) should have launched once Mr Trump announced his intention to pull out US troops from Afghanistan. More so India must have a backdoor negotiation with Taliban, but India kept its efforts restless to foil the intra-Afghan peace process with the help of Israel. India has a diplomatic and commercial presence in Afghanistan. They also invested billions of dollars in nation-building projects to assist Ghani government which is underrated by Trump's administration. Complete lockdown of Kashmir and abrogation of article 370(a) had ignited Kashmiri people who paved the way for AQ activities. AQ need a supportive base in this region to free Taliban for Islamic emirates. No doubt Pakistan is waiting for this situation to unrest it's arch-foe. And Pakistan will play the same tactics as a buffer zone for Kashmiri jihadists, persecuted Muslims inside India, other armed groups and independence aspirants in India.
Notwithstanding India's all these steps are very late. They have executed their suppression theory and trying to establish bigoted 'Hindutva' ideology on such a moment when the near Muslim jihadists are in winning situations. That definitely will be an opportunity for the religious extremist groups.
Bangladesh is a Muslim majority country, so the impact of the Taliban's victory is very much expected. More so the anti-Indian sentiment may turn into anti-Hindutva for the persecution on Muslims by Bharatiya Janata Party. Bangladeshi people are well aware of India-Israel tie up to suppress Muslim fundamentalists who also are Israel's significant concerns. Bangladesh is already bearing millions of Rohingya's burden after that; it will be a wild dream if not daydream about taking the influx of Muslim refugees from India.
Sri Lanka had seen the rise of Islamic fundamentalism after the atrocities committed by the Buddhist. The same thing happened in Myanmar, and the emergence of ARSA as aspirants of independence of Arkan is nothing but an armed group of Muslim fundamentalists. All these major religious groups will get aspirations and moral boost up by Taliban's success.
So, the very complex and entangled situation is ahead in this regional politics which will be dictated by the religious fundamentalism. No doubt high valued words democracy, right to freedom, etc., etc. are to be shelved in the museum.
M A Hossain is a political and defence analyst writes on diversified topics in Bangladeshi and foreign newspapers.