With America in retreat and bested in Afghanistan, Russia and India have decided to work together to halt the Taliban from exporting radical Islamic terror across central Asia.
The fight over Afghanistan is now entering a third phase. First America retreated and second, the Taliban bested the NRF in Panjshir Valley sending its leaders into hiding, and now the Taliban is hoping to stave off the coming challenge to its rule from regional powerhouses Russia and India.
It is no secret that the Taliban was able to take control of Afghanistan – including the historically impenetrable Panjshir Valley as a result of heavy backing from Pakistan and China. This economic and military backing enabled the terror group to achieve the unthinkable and begin to consolidate their rule.
However, the Taliban’s win may be premature as both Russia and India see the terror group’s control as a direct threat to the stability of their respective countries. Beyond radical Islam, India and Russia see Pakistan and China’s involvement as a dangerous development. True, America’s retreat from the region was a necessary stage for India, China, Russia, and even Pakistan to regain control of their backyard, but now that the USA is out, the stakes are high.
NRF Is Not Done Yet
Even with Panjshir’s fall, the NRF still exists and one can make the case that Amrulah Saleh is still the legitimate President of Afghanistan. This will become very important as Russia and India begin to pick a horse going forward. The NRF has announced it will declare a parallel government to that of Taliban. In fact, despite Taliban claims to the contrary, Ahmad Massoud appears to still be in Panjshir with a formidable force.
The recent meeting between Russia and India regarding the Afghanistan crisis had every bit to do about picking a political opposition to the Taliban as it did about providing logistical support to the resistance going forward.
It will not be surprising to see two government’s form in Afghanistan – the Taliban backed by China and Pakistan and the second the NRF, headed by Saleh and Massoud, backed by India and Russia.
While the first two phases of the Afghanistan crisis may have moved fast and were relatively light on conflict, the third will be anything but calm. After all, the future of the post-American world may depend on the outcome.