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India’s failed strategy in Afghanistan – exposed by the Taliban

By Syed Atiq ul Hassan - posted Tuesday, 14 September 2021

If the world believes what India's media and its government allege – that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was behind the Taliban's victory – then basically it's proof that India's strategy for Afghanistan has failed. India has spent billions of dollars in Afghanistan over the past 20 years to build infrastructure and to help the US and allied forces train Afghan forces. India assured the US and European nations that it would quash the Taliban and other freedom fighters and would back the US-made government in Afghanistan.

India has no border with Afghanistan. Access via China is costly, and India does not have friendly relations with China. Instead, India tactically increased bilateral relations with Iran and signed an accord with Iran in 2016, ostensibly to help Iran refurbish the Chabahar Port and reconstruct its 600-metre-long container handling facility. In return, India asked Iran to give it access to Afghanistan. In fact, India's real target was Pakistan, and its real plan was to create instability and spread terrorism in Pakistan through sending insurgent and terrorists from Afghanistan to Pakistan's Northern Territory. That is why India established more than 20 new consulate and Indian agents' offices in different Afghan provinces and permanently stationed trained terrorism operators in Afghanistan.

India's intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), and the Indian foreign offices in Afghanistan established training camps in Afghanistan along the border with Pakistan and in provinces close to the Pakistan border. In these camps, Indian military officers and RAW agents trained terrorists from groups including Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Baluchistan Liberation United Front (BLUF), the Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA), and ISIS terrorists. Bomb blasts and terrorist acts perpetrated by these insurgents have become daily incidents in the last 20 years in Pakistan, especially in Peshawar, Quetta, and Karachi. Pakistan's army launched heavy military operations in troubled areas but could not fully control the situation because the insurgency was based in Afghanistan and organised by Indian RAW operators. Pakistan raised the issue at the international level, but world powers were not inclined to listen, since they had a deal with India to bring stability to Afghanistan.


This situation presented a crucial and also challenging task for the Pakistan army and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Shrewdly, they worked the plan on multiple fronts:

  • Building trust and mutual benefit with neighbouring countries and those bordering Afghanistan: that is, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey.
  • Convincing China to support Pakistan on its strategy to bring peace in Afghanistan, by kicking out the US-led forces and India.
  • Bringing peace to Afghanistan, establishing a stable government in Afghanistan acceptable to majority of Afghans, and causing a pull-out of US & NATO forces in order to hand over the rule of Afghanistan to the most powerful group – which is the Taliban. In this regard, Pakistan was the only country that could bring the Taliban to the negotiation table, work out a peaceful transfer of power to the Taliban and obtain a guarantee from the Taliban that it would work with the rest of the world.

US policymakers, the Pentagon, and the current US President Joe Biden were not foolish enough to surrender to the Taliban quickly. That came about through a strategic deal with Pakistan. The US and its allies had no choice other than to give the task of transferring government to the Pakistan army and the ISI, for several reasons.

1. Pakistan has by far the longest border with Afghanistan.

2. Pakistan played a key role during the Mujahideen's war against Russia by in the 1980s.

3. Pakistan had trained the Mujahideen, so it has decades-old, deep rooted relationship with the Mujahideen and their next generation, the Taliban. There is no doubt that Pakistan's ISI also has historical relations with the Taliban.


The leaders of the Taliban who were involved in negotiation with the US in Qatar were at the time in Pakistan's custody. Pakistan released them so that negotiations between the leaders of Taliban and the US could arranged in Doha. In a smart move, Pakistan made the condition that it would not be a party to the negotiations. Pakistan had done enough by bringing the Taliban to the table, therefore, Pakistan did not need to be present at the negotiation. India attempted to be a party in these negotiation. But unfortunately for India, the US was keen to make deal with the Taliban and pull out its forces as soon as possible so it agreed not to involve India, pointing out that Pakistan was also not a party in the negotiation. This was a great shock to India.

These negotiations went for more than a year, deciding every aspect off US-NATO forces pull-out, the peaceful transfer of power and the establishment of a Taliban government.

The world is surprised how quickly the US surrendered, withdrawing its forces in only days. In fact, the US and NATO strategic planners had been working on their plan for the last ten years. ISI successfully delivered a great victory for Pakistan, and embarrassment and defeat for India on the Western border (Afghanistan).

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Article edited by Margaret-Ann Williams.
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About the Author

Syed Atiq ul Hassan, is senior journalist, writer, media analyst and foreign correspondent for foreign media agencies in Australia. His email is

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