15 January, 2021

Elbowroom For Manoeuvre

Islamabad is chary of India's ties with Kabul, so the US steps in

Elbowroom For Manoeuvre
As Afghanistan rises again from the wreckage of relentless meddling by Pakistan, indiscriminate funding of Wahabi Islam by Saudi Arabia and Iran's attempts to counter the tide, President Hamid Karzai's nervousness about his immediate neighbourhood is understandable. Competing interests tore Afghanistan apart under the five years of Taliban rule. India was only nominally in the picture then but as Afghanistan becomes a viable member of the world community again, New Delhi wants to play a role in consonance with its interests. It has been giving Kabul humanitarian aid, having spent $35 million of its total commitment of $100 million, and rapidly winning friends and influencing people.

But late last month the US delivered a message to India not to rush too fast, too soon into the wilds of Afghanistan as it was causing nervousness in some capitals. Actually, in just one capital—Islamabad. A similar message was given to Pakistan and the Americans urged both India and Pakistan not to make Afghanistan a new theatre for their historic competition.

Tempers flared awhile as...


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