At a time when the United States continues to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan even as the Afghanistan government and international community express concerns over the future of the region, the war-torn country hopes that its eternal ally India would come to its rescue amidst the Taliban’s resurgence.
The Afghanistan government, which has ceded vast swathes of territory to the radical Islamic terror group Taliban, is now hoping for India’s military assistance to take on the Taliban which has grown more aggressive since the US withdrawal from the country 20 years after 9/11.
In an interview with NDTV, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to India Farid Mamundzay said they require India’s military assistance if they cannot achieve success in the peace process with the Taliban.
“Should we not get to a stage in the peace process with the Taliban, then maybe a time (will come) where we would be seeking India’s military assistance, more military assistance in the years ahead,” said Farid Mamundzay, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to India in his discussion with NDTV.
However, the Afghan envoy has clarified that the war-torn country is not seeking Indian troops on its soil.
“We are not seeking India’s assistance with sending troops to Afghanistan. Their footprint in Afghanistan to fight our war would not be needed at this stage,” he said. The envoy added that the Afghan Air Force could benefit from Indian assistance, including in matters like pilot training—which he said India was “naturally” a place it would want involvement from.
Afghanistan seeks long-term military assistance from India
Afghanistan, which is left alone to fight a resurgent Taliban, hopes that India provides them with military assistance, especially in the form of training to its military personnel, for years to come if talks with the Taliban fail.
India, being a good friend, has helped the Afghan state in both the rehabilitation and reconstruction processes. In addition, India has also provided military assistance to Afghanistan in the past with a supply of our Mi-24V attack helicopters, as well as trained thousands of its military personnel in counter-terrorism operations, military field-craft, intelligence-gathering and information technology, among other fields.
Earlier, the Afghanistan Ambassador to India had raised the prospect of introducing Indian airpower into the equation. On July 10, he had said, “Our assessment is [that] if we have the required air support, Taliban would never be able to capture any district. And just to give you one instance, should we have 15 to 20 Mi-35 helicopters or 30 to 40 Black Hawks, they would not be able to hold ground.”
Interestingly, India maintains an overseas airbase in Tajikistan, located very close to the Afghanistan border. Even though India has not activated its combat air unit at the Fakhor Air Base in Tajikistan, it has used the base to supply assistance to Afghanistan.
Taliban continues to take over large swathes of land in Afghanistan
Meanwhile, the Taliban continues to advance, and its brutality has no signs of coming down. The Taliban claims to have takes control of at least 85 per cent of the war-torn country. According to local officials, Taliban fighters, stirred by the withdrawal, have already captured vital districts across the country.
The onslaught of the Taliban has triggered massive defections from the Afghanistan Army, and thousands of Afghan security personnel, along with refugees, have continued to flee from Afghanistan across the border to neighbouring countries of Iran and Tajikistan, inviting large scale humanitarian concerns. In addition, the crisis has fuelled a concern across the world about the imminent takeover of the country by the radical Islamic group, whose members could infiltrate Central and South Asian countries.
On Tuesday, a video showing members of the Afghan Special Forces being executed by the Taliban after being captured has gone viral on the internet. According to CNN, at least 22 commandos were executed as they tried to surrender. However, the Taliban has publicly denied the video’s authenticity, saying that they have encouraged soldiers to surrender themselves.