Friday June 21, 2024

The Indian connections in Afghanistan

By Abdul Zahoor Khan Marwat
December 21, 2017

Reports are frequently appearing in the media about the Indian forces’ involvement in the Afghan imbroglio. Some of them have revealed that Indians are present in US Camp Dwyer in Gramsier district of Helmand along with two Indian MI-25 helicopters, participating against the militants in Helmand. Nevertheless, the Indians are officially denying any participation in operations against the Taliban to avoid direct confrontation or response from the militants.

On the other hand, a major medical treatment facility used by the Taliban has been discovered by the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) during an operation in the Syedabad district in central Maidan Wardak province on Dec 7, 2017. Afghan officials have claimed that the facility was used for the treatment of Taliban insurgents from different provinces including Paktia, Ghazni and other parts of city. The facility was well-equipped and was used for treatment of wounded Taliban insurgents including performance of sophisticated surgeries, the officials added. Taliban rejected any links with the facility while claiming that the clinic was providing healthcare services to the local residents and was approved by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). This is interesting as Afghan authorities have long been making accusations regarding use of medical treatment facilities by the Taliban insurgents inside Pakistan. However, the above report discredits such allegations against Pakistan.

At the same time, the CIA is exploiting private militia like Khost Protection Force (KPF), Afghan Security Gaurds (ASG) and Kandahar Strike Force (KSF) to hunt and kill Taliban. All such private militias are mostly comprise Afghan nationals but due to having special links with CIA, they are above the law in Afghanistan. The Nato forces are also using them to avoid the direct brunt of HR violations in Afghanistan.

The US media has already pointed out that CIA was expanding its covert operations in Afghanistan, sending officers and private contractors to locate and kill the militants but only reluctantly as it wants the US military to chiefly conduct counterinsurgency operations in the country.

Earlier, the agency was only focused on Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups that could pose threat to American interests in the region. Now it is supporting the US and Afghan forces with the aim to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table. Recently, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court requested permission to investigate US military personnel and members of the CIA over allegations of war crimes in Afghanistan. The alleged war crimes carried out by US personnel were said to have taken place “principally in the 2003-04 period, although allegedly continuing in some cases until 2014.” The prosecutor has asked those who consider themselves victims of the alleged crimes to make representations to the ICC’s pre-trial chamber until January 31 2018.

But the International Criminal Court (ICC) was unable to table the case due to the reasons that USA was not a signatory of ICC (Clinton signed the treaty but didn’t rectify it from US Congress, which is mandatory).

To top it all, Pentagon has declared India as Afghanistan's most reliable regional partner. "India is Afghanistan's most reliable regional partner and the largest contributor of development assistance in the region," said the Pentagon in its report to the Congress titled 'Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan'. India provides significant training opportunities for Afghan officers and enlisted personnel and has frequently offered to increase its burden sharing for Afghanistan, it said, adding that approximately 130 Afghans travel to India each year to attend various military and commissioning programmes. India has also donated limited security assistance, most notably four Mi-35 aircraft, the Pentagon said.

"The new South Asia policy highlighted our relationship with India and called on India to provide more assistance to the international efforts in Afghanistan. The United States welcomes additional Indian economic, medical, and civic support to Afghanistan," the Pentagon said in its report. The Americans certainly know more about the Indian role in Afghanistan than are prepared to admit, especially against Pakistan.