- India is preparing for the US withdrawal
By: Musa Khan Jalalzai
Private mercenaries and foreign funded militias have reshaped the culture of unending war in Afghanistan in a modern form, and contributed significantly to the disputed leadership and misgovernment. They received financial and military support from domestic and international stakeholders to consolidate the form of armed governance, and the artificial infrastructure of the Afghan State. The past 40 year’s long conflict and transformation of social fabric have configured the political landscape of Afghanistan, and significantly empowered local warlords. The collapse of the Afghan state in 1992 left a huge political and military vacuum permeated by Mujaheddin militias, Taliban, the ISIS and Karzai’s government militias. Afghan politicians and warlords also gained financial and political advantage from the buildup of these inexplicable militias while Interior and Defence Ministries sought to take them under their control.
At the provincial level, local Northern Alliance warlords, and self-styled commanders who had opposed the Taliban took advantage of the deteriorating law and order situation by renewing their own private militias in Northern Provinces. As a matter of fact, these militia commanders were driven overwhelmingly by foreign stakeholders to serve their interests and challenge authority of the Afghan state. The USA and its NATO allies established their own militias unanwerable to the Afghan military command, accomplishing night raids across the country since 2007. They and their funded militias, such as the Taliban, ISIS and the NDS Units kill women and children in their homes, markets, shops, colleges, schools, and on roadways. The CIA and RAW both funded the Afghan intelligence agency (NDS) and have also established regional intelligence units to help the Pentagon execute night raids. Of these militias, Unit-01 operates in the central region, Unit-02 in the eastern region, Unit-03 in the Southern Region, while Unit-04 operates as a Khost Protection Force.
The Indian Army and the Ghani administration have begun establishing private militias in Northern Afghanistan, which will take up arms against the Taliban in several parts of Afghanistan in near future
After the US-Taliban peace deal, for policy makers in India, there was no option left but to establish more militias in Northern Afghanistan to protect its interests and counter Taliban and Pakistan’s influence after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. India’s anxiety is not limited to losing control of its political and military assets, but include the possible change of government in Kabul. A recent Hindustan Times analysis noted a meeting between the RAW Chief and Prime Minister Narendra Modi that issued a stern warning that things might become out of control after the Taliban deal with the USA. Later on, RAW contacted warlords and former Mujahideen commanders in Northern Afghanistan to manage the recruitment of a strong force (60,000) for the proposed private militias.
Now, every week, Indian intelligence experts overtly and covertly visit Kabul and the northern provinces to oversee different military and intelligence projects, and inculcate in Afghan military commanders, members of Parliament, and of local councils, that the exclusive enemy of Afghans is Pakistan’s military establishment and Punjabis. These Indian generals have often squeezed the Ghani administration to expand the operational boundaries of RAW and MI across the country. India has also established different intelligence units to counter Pakistan’s military influence within the Afghan army and intelligence infrastructures.
This unwanted role of the Indian army and Intelligence agencies forced China to counter the Indian influence by establishing intelligence units across Afghanistan. A week ago, President Trump was briefed about the alleged Chinese bounties offered to non-state actors in Afghanistan to attack US troops. China shares a border at Xinjjiang with Afghanistan at Badakhshan, and has long been worried about militant infiltration from Afghanistan. On 31 December, the Chinese Special envoy to Afghanistan met with the Afghan National Security Advisor to discuss the arrest of Chinese intelligence units in Afghanistan.
The hubbub of the Afghan and Indian leaderships about the infiltration of Pakistani extremists in Kashmir and Northern Afghanistan received a gloom-ridden response in the media due to their own sponsorship of various intelligence and terrorist networks in Pakistan. The three intelligence agencies (RAW, MI, and NDS) provide field intelligence information to their militias, and manage the operational mechanism of Afghan intelligence in Balochistan. In Kunduz, Balkh and Mazar-e-Sharif, and Jalalabad, a wide range of militias have been receiving funds, arms and intelligence support from different stakeholders. The Indian military and RAW continues to recruit young soldiers for its anti-CPEC commando group in the northern and eastern provinces of Afghanistan.
Afghans view the involvement of Indian Intelligence agencies in the internal affairs of the country with mixed feelings and cynicism that RAW’s connection and correspondence with TTP, BLA and Daesh (ISIS), and its recent move to establish private militias under the command of Indian army in Afghanistan is the principal cause of instability.
In the 1990s, RAW recruited Afghan warlords who still occupy a central position in the country’s politics. Journalist Shemin Joy in an August review of Yatish Yadav’s book (A History of India’s Covert Operations) in the Deccan Herald noted the recruitment of Afghan warlords by Indian Intelligence RAW who are still occupying central positions in Afghan politics. However, the US-Taliban deal is seen in India as a one-sided agreement and fears that this deal will bring Pakistan’s military establishment back to the centre of the Afghan game. The Indian Army and the Ghani administration have begun establishing private militias in Northern Afghanistan, which will take up arms against the Taliban in several parts of Afghanistan in near future.
Recently, Afghan warlord and former governor of Balkh province, Atta Muhammad Noor, and General Dostum visited India to discuss the funding and infrastructure of these militias. Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava in his tweet noted; “Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla welcomed Afghan leader Atta Mohammad Noor to India”.