India needs a policy for Afghanistan

In yet another example of how difficult it is going to be for India to engage in Afghanistan, a gurudwara in Kabul came under an attack leading to the death of two people. The Afghan chapter of the Islamic State took responsibility for it. An extremist group like the Taliban with a medieval mindset that makes no secret of its animosity towards minorities and women and has bombed and killed its way to grab power over a country, is part of the problem, not the solution. The Islamic State is fast emerging as a thorn in the flesh for the Taliban rulers.

The terror attack took place barely two weeks after an Indian delegation visited Afghanistan to reach out to the Taliban regime, which had taken control of the war-hit country last August. The IS has called it ‘an act of support’ for the Prophet, a thinly veiled reference to the blasphemous remarks made by two BJP leaders that recently sparked outrage in the Islamic world. The Kabul attack makes it clear that the controversy over the remarks is yet to die down despite the damage control exercise by the NDA government. Afghanistan was among the countries that had condemned the use of derogatory words against the Prophet. This came as an embarrassment for the government at a time when it was trying to build bridges with the Taliban.

Afghanistan’s notoriety as a hub for terrorism against ethnoreligious minorities and neighboring countries is gaining traction again under the Taliban. The Taliban has clearly flouted the international will by refusing to follow up on its commitments relating to the prevention of terrorism and the protection of human rights.

India should press the Taliban to crack the whip on the terror groups which have a history of carrying out terror attacks on Indian soil and pose a constant threat to peace and stability in the subcontinent.