The future trajectory of Pakistan’s complex manoeuvres in Afghanistan is moving towards building structured co-located terror units with active Pakistan military support. It is now a question of timing as to when some of these units will be directed towards India and Jammu and Kashmir.
The role of Hamdullah Mohib (National Security Advisor, Afghanistan) in the collapse of the Afghan government and enabling Taliban to takeover the country will certainly be discussed in the days ahead. According to some bureaucrats who worked in the Arg, one of the reasons why the trained and well-equipped Afghan army collapsed without a fight was because Mohib was contracting surrender deals with the Taliban to help it advance.
By noon on August 15th the Afghan Government had collapsed. There was complete disarray amongst the rank and file of the Afghan defense and security forces. Vice-President Saleh and Defense Minister Bismillah Khan were already on their way to Panjshir Valley. Later Amrullah described the collapse as a “shameful surrender to Pakistan.”
Afghanistan’s Defence Minister, Bismillah Khan Mohammedi, who is now in Panjshir Valley heading the Afghan resistance forces said angrily, referring to Ghani and his team of advisors, "they tied our hands behind our backs and sold the homeland, damn the rich man and his gang." Between August 6th and August 14th Mohib strategically enabled the Taliban to rapidly advance by withdrawing the ANDSF and preventing them from actively engaging the Taliban.
Since the Syrian theatre began to quieten down in 2018, there have been reports of militants being flown to Northern Afghanistan, exactly the location from where out-of-work Mujahideen had fanned out to Kashmir, Egypt, Algeria, Syria. So, is Afghanistan headed for chaos or, as a Marxist analyst predicts: "A Quad is taking shape – Iran, China, Russia and Pakistan." If correct, has India opted for the wrong Quad?
Americans are faced with an impossible task. They do not wish to be seen to be installing a Talib Emirate in Kabul. If identified with such action they may never look like harbingers of democracy, part of their manifest destiny.
The fragility of the agreement is transparent in the pulls and counter pulls that have obviously gone into the headline. There is unbridgeable distance on the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s role, for instance. The Taliban will not talk to Ghani whom they describe quite brazenly as a US “toady”.
Are the Americans likely to walk away simply because they are exasperated? After having spent a trillion dollars, losing thousands of lives, losing face – so soon after their reversal in Syria – are they really contemplating withdrawal? Will the bosses of UNOCAL suck their thumbs now? Will the priceless poppy fields of Helmand, the oil in the North, the unexplored mineral wealth now become a Russian asset?
New Delhi is extremely skeptical of the US placing its eggs in the Taliban basket and leaving the basket in Pakistani care. This incidentally is not a new US approach.
A steady stream of US policy makers have been meeting officials and opinions makers in New Delhi with variations on the same theme. They told New Delhi that the Afghan Taliban do not trust Pakistan, specifically because the ISI has been manipulating them for decades.