The attack on the Afghan parliament building on Monday ought to serve as an early warning to the Indian security establishment about the dangers that lie ahead once the Americans completely leave that god-forsaken country. Mercifully, the attackers, all seven of them, including a suicide bomber, were killed by the Afghan National Security Forces. This should suggest that the time, effort and money spent by the Americans to train the security forces before they depart from the scene did have some positive impact. Though it is doubtful whether the official forces loyal to the elected regime in Kabul will be able to withstand a full-fledged challenge the Taliban are bound to mount once the Americans have returned home. It is because only a couple of days earlier a key district in northern Afghanistan had fallen to the armed rebels enjoying the active support of the Inter Services Intelligence of Pakistan. Chardara district in Kunduz was overrun by the Taliban thugs while the police and security forces loyal to the Afghan Government fled for their lives.
The meek surrender by the security forces must have been morale-shattering for ordinary Afghans who must dread the return of the Taliban barbarians. The determined attack on the parliament complex was foiled after a gunfight in which all the attackers were killed. The attack reminded Indians of a similar attempt at their Parliament House in New Delhi in December 2001 when the brave parliamentary security staff managed to eliminate the armed jihadis dispatched by the ISI. That attack had very nearly brought India and Pakistan close to yet another war, though in the end armed hostilities were averted after Pakistan gave a solemn assurance not to allow its soil to be used for launching terrorist attacks against this country. Pakistan soon violated its commitment and once again began to instigate jihadi attacks against India. However, it is now for Indian to be doubly on guard against a fresh threat from Afghanistan. Upon the departure of the Americans by end-2016, the Pakistan-backed Taliban is bound to try and control Afghanistan.
Already, the elected government of President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani is playing footsie with ISI. Whether Ghani does that as part of a strategy to save his own presidency upon the departure of the Americans, or he believes that without taking Pakistan on board it will be hard to stabilize things in Afghanistan is hard to tell, but it is certain that he is no friend of India. His predecessor, Hamid Karzai, was a genuine friend of India. He had allowed India to implement various long-term infrastructure projects, including roads, bridges, schools, etc., in Afghanistan despite bitter opposition from Pakistan and despite periodic attacks on the Indian personnel executing those welfare projects. In fact, once the Taliban come to control Afghanistan India might find it very hard to continue work on those infrastructure projects, especially when the ISI questions the very presence of India in a country which it asserts is its exclusive domain of influence. It is noteworthy that before the Americans attacked Afghanistan following the 9/11 atrocity in New York, the jihadis, who were made redundant after the defeat of the Soviet Union, were made to turn their attention to India. There was a sharp spurt in the terrorists attacks in Kashmir and other parts of India by the ISI-run jihadis. Thus, the security situation in the entire region will undergo a sea change for the worse once the Taliban come to establish their grip over Afghanistan.
As it is, the elected government in Kabul is weak and has not been able to consolidate its hold due to internal dissensions and a failure to meet the people’s expectations. What might further add to India’s worries is the loosening grip of the Americans on the global security situation. An increasingly inward-looking America is bad news for nations facing the global jihadi threat. With the ISIS trying to widen its reach further by supplanting old and tired jihadi groups such the al-Qaeda, the diminution in the global role of the US is a dire signal for all peace-loving nations to step up their own defences in order to face the vastly heightened threat from jihadi terror groups.