India is Losing Out in Afghanistan

If there is any loser in Afghanistan other than Ashraf Ghani, it is undoubtedly Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The frustration of the Indian government and media is justified in the face of recent developments because they have lost this game, quite miserably. India’s diplomatic staff fled Kabul in the dark hours after the Taliban’s takeover. This abject failure is why Indian media is busy weaving a propaganda web in sheer desperation. After spending billions of dollars in Afghanistan, India left empty-handed, like a loser. Previously, it had four consulates in Afghanistan as it always wanted to use this country as a launching pad against Pakistan. Yet, now these nefarious designs are falling like a house of cards.

Both the Indian government and its media are busy pointing fingers at Pakistan. There is a great uproar at Pakistan allegedly supporting the Afghan Taliban. The Indian media has levelled some serious allegations regarding Pakistan supporting the Afghan Taliban in Panjshir valley against the resistance fighters of Ahmad Shah Masood. A photograph of Panjshir Valley’s resistance troops shooting down a fighter jet of Pakistan Air Force made rounds on Indian news stations. Alas! The ploy was soon exposed when it became evident that the much-touted picture was taken of a plane crash in the US in 2018. In another desperate attempt, the Indian television channels showed a couple of photographs where Pakistani drones could be seen attacking anti-Taliban fighters in Panjshir. This frustrated attempt also failed because it turned out to be a viral clip taken from a video game that had nothing to do with the Afghan conflict. Last but not the least, pictures of Pakistani jets hovering over Panjshir sold like hot potatoes on Indian screens. Their studios claimed them to be “full-fledged” proofs of Pakistan’s interference in Afghanistan. Sadly, this was also proved wrong when it was found to be a US jet recorded while flying in the UK.

Crafting fairytales is the hallmark of Indian media.

It is not the first time that Indian media has turbo-charged its propaganda engine against Pakistan. Everyone knows well the fairytales orchestrated by the Indian media. There is no difference at all between the plot lines of Bollywood films and Indian media’s pitches. How can we forget the Balakot incident where India claimed to kill hundreds of “terrorists” inside the territory of Pakistan but the whole world later saw that all they had destroyed were a few trees and a crow from their airstrikes. The Abhinandhan’s episode is still etched afresh in our minds. The entire world witnessed the abject defeat and surrender of the Indian Air Force Wing Commander. He was a war prisoner yet Pakistan handed him over to India as a good gesture. However, hawks leading its media portrayed him as standing victorious in a World War. It can be rightly claimed that Indian media is a “patient” that should be diagnosed with hypertension and sensationalism. Its masala role in the Afghan affair was, therefore, just a repeat telecast of the same symptoms.

After miserably failing to establish the involvement of Pakistan in Afghanistan, India started talking about Pakistan’s spy chief’s visit to Kabul; terming it an interference. Such visits by spy chiefs occur all over the world, especially when there is a crisis or a looming danger to peace. Why did the intelligence officials of the US, Turkey and Qatar visit Afghanistan after the Taliban’s takeover? Do they share a border with Afghanistan? Absolutely not. But Pakistan shares 2700-km-long “tough” border with Afghanistan. Therefore, the ISI Chief needed to visit Kabul because Pakistan has fought a long war on terror in the tribal area, which is adjacent to the Afghan border. The ISI Chief went to Kabul in broad daylight to ensure peace in the volatile region. Pakistan has spent millions of rupees in fencing its border with Afghanistan that remained a huge source of smuggling for decades. We faced an influx of refugees from this border. It was the need of the hour to engage with the Afghan Taliban to avoid another looming humanitarian crisis. We fought a long war in the tribal areas while sacrificing more than 80,000 precious lives. This war was fought in the adjoining areas of the Afghan border. Therefore, a peaceful Afghanistan will be in the interest of Pakistan. Pakistan never intervened in the internal affairs of Afghanistan, but it has always tried to safeguard its borders-diplomatically and militarily.

The question is that what went wrong with India after the Afghan saga. Modi went berserk after his failed foreign policy as India has extremely hostile relations with the neighbouring countries including China-the emerging superpower. He has only left with two options; promote the extreme right Hindutva policies and anti-Pakistan politics and he is doing the same. He has literally changed the world’s largest democracy into a state where there is acute suffocation for minorities. He has changed India into a country where it has become really hard for minorities to breathe comfortably. He has changed Kashmir into the world’s largest prison, but still, he is facing severe resistance in the valley. After committing a series of mistakes and blunders, Modi became frustrated and therefore started a tirade against Pakistan. The Indian media is also hand-in-gloves with Modi as his government doles out money in form of advertisements.

India is a huge market as compared to Pakistan. It has more population than Pakistan. Its army is very large in numbers. Despite its huge economy, it finds itself at the losing end due to flawed diplomatic and military policies. Ergo, by its endless series of theatrics in Afghanistan, India has proved Pakistan right, once again.


Ali Anwar

The writer is an old Aitchisonian who believes in freedom of expression, a freelance columnist, entrepreneur and social activist.

Daily Times