Afghanistan, ANA and India: A Perspective
Sub Title : India must continue to support the legitimate government in Kabul
Issues Details : Vol 15 Issue 3 Jul – Aug 2021
Author : Maj Gen Vinod Saighal (Retd)
Page No. : 22
Category : Geostrategy
: August 5, 2021
It is with sheer amazement I read that it is only a matter of time before the Taliban take over Afghanistan. It is sheer propaganda. The ANA is by far the stronger force and the Taliban’s gains are exaggerated.
There is also dismaying talk in certain informed quarters that seeing the rapid Taliban advances in recent weeks and the apparent ANA helplessness India should not get involved in that country.
It is not good advice.
If this country feels that Afghanistan is an important geostrategic prize then it will have to get involved. Not peripherally, but actively.
What does active involvement involve? Backing the Afghan government to the hilt with support commensurate to its resources. Seeing India’s standing in the world and its size these are not insignificant in size or value.
Ab initio India will make it clear that it will not send boots on the ground. Other than that, it will stand by the Afghan government through thick and thin with full-fledged support.
Concomitantly India must take the warlords in its fold assuring them with full support for their shortfalls and needs with the proviso that once fully kitted they will undertake to flush out the Taliban incursions within 100 km radius of their bases. India can be placing former military officers as liaison officers with them.
India is the only country that the vast majority of Afghans admire, respect and trust. The government of the day in New Delhi is the heritor of the two great visionaries of the last few centuries who were mindful of India’s security. Both Maharaja Ranjit Singh and later Lord Curzon at the beginning of the twentieth century realised that the defence of India and in the case of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, that of the Sikh Empire, had to rest on the Hindu Kush in the West. They both achieved their aims. In the case of the Sikhs by conquest up to the Khyber Pass, and in the case of Lord Curzon and thereafter his successors, by ensuring that whoever ruled Afghanistan remained under India’s influence.
Time remains of the essence. Should New Delhi continue to hesitate or tarry the game will be over for India even before it has begun. Should the government act boldly and with speed it can be sure that all Western governments who had troops in Afghanistan would go all out to assist India in their mission. The same goes for Japan.
Recall when the Russians pulled out, Najibullah held on for three full years against all comers-Mujahideen, Pakistan and the US He may have held out longer but Abdul Rashid Dostum and Ahmed Shah Masoud decided to pull out their forces from Kabul.
The ANA is much the stronger force today. The problem at the moment may be that they are on the defensive, allowing the Taliban to strike at will. So, the first thing is that the hunter must become the hunted. Go and flush out the Taliban constantly. Do not let the advantage of surprise remain with the Taliban.
Women Militia. Another way to build ANA’s strength is to raise women’s battalions. Instead of fearing the Taliban when they come, they will add to the strength of ANA. Commence the following steps:
Start sending girls to Officer Training Institutes in the US, India, France and Germany. These countries have pulled out of Afghanistan. Their heart is still with Afghanistan. Let them train, equip and pay two to three women battalions each and send them back every few months.
They will then hold the cities while the ANA run the Taliban out of Afghanistan and push them back into their sanctuaries.
In this venture all strength to your elbow.