Quad is East, Kabul is West, Never the Twain Shall Meet

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar (R) met the leader of erstwhile Afghan Northern Alliance Rashid Dostum (L), New Delhi, Sept 25, 2020  The first part of this analysis is here.  The policy planning with respect to Afghanistan has become an excruciatingly difficult exercise for New Delhi. Even a veteran great game addict like National Security …

India’s overture to Taliban comes too late

The Taliban delegation at the opening ceremony of intra-Afghan talks, Doha, Qatar, September 12, 2020 The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad was roundly criticised by Indian commentators when he last passed through Delhi in May and advised the officials he met with an earthy sense of realism and foreboding that it’s high …

Don’t beat the bushes for China, there’s nothing out there

Chinese and Pakistani border guards at the Khunjerab Pass in Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan region bordering China.  The border tensions between India and China are accentuating a malaise among Indian analysts — their tunnel vision.  Every word that slips out of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s garrulous mouth is seen nowadays as ringing affirmation of the …

Taliban gets Khalilzad leg before wicket but won’t appeal

Prisoners in overcrowded Afghan jails. (File photo) The US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad apparently overreached by effusively welcoming the 21-member list announced in Kabul on Thursday by President Ashraf Ghani to engage with the Taliban in the format of the forthcoming intra-Afghan dialogue.  Khalilzad tweeted on Thursday: “I want to congratulate Afghan …

Regional states won’t oppose US-Taliban deal

Youth release balloons and pigeons to celebrate the reduction in violence, Jalalabad, Afghanistan, Feb. 28, 2020 The reactions of the major regional states surrounding Afghanistan over the US-Taliban peace agreement in Doha Saturday reveal fault lines that are useful pointers in the Afghan peace process.  A sardonic remark by the Indian foreign minister S. Jaishankar …

Afghan peace comes with caveats but can’t be snuffed out

US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad (L) and co-founder of Taliban movement Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (R) signed the Afghan peace agreement., Doha, February 29, 2020  The chasm between illusion and reality in politics remains perennial. Wars seldom ended according to the script of peace agreements. The fall of Saigon in April 1975 …

US, Pakistan move in tandem to end Afghan war

President Donald Trump (R) speaks during a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Washington, July 22, 2019 The US State Department chose Friday to announce the decision to approve a $125 million aid package providing technical support to Pakistan’s fleet of F-16 fighter aircraft. Ironically, the news reached Delhi on the 20th anniversary of …