What are the implications of the US withdrawal from talks with Afghanistan?

The U.S.-Taliban talks have been called off. This is not the first time U.S.-Taliban talks are breaking down. The point to be noted here is that every time the Americans have had to come around for negotiating again.

Implications on Afghanistan

  • The direct fallout could be the return of bloodshed to the violence-hit country. The Taliban has begun carrying out major attacks with the American troops fighting back.
  • Elections are due in Afghanistan and the current regime headed by President Ashraf Ghani has a chance to continue its rule without having to share power with the Taliban.
  • The new government will also be pleased with the fact that U.S. troops are likely to continue in the country. If left alone the government may not survive long.

Implications on India

  • The ascent of the Taliban in Afghanistan could have led to a certain degree of regional uncertainty and geopolitical recalibration. Pakistan was counting on the return of the Taliban in Afghanistan which it deeply believes gives it strategic depth vis-à-vis  This could have been disastrous for India in fight against terrorism.
  • India was pessimistic about talks with Afghanistan and the ascent of Taliban together with the withdrawal of US could have put India’s strategic investments and civilian assets in Afghanistan at risk.

The Chinese, Pakistanis and even the Russians are converging on the necessity of getting the Taliban on the table for the Afghan scheme of things. Even India needs to think on these lines. It is not necessary to recognise Taliban but it is necessary to engage with it to protect our national interests.

A non-negotiated withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan would result in worst-case scenario for India. This will mean that there would be little check on the Taliban’s behaviour at home and in the neighbourhood. Further it will also enhance Pakistan’s ability to control elements of the Taliban for tactical or strategic anti-Indian uses. Hence it is time for India to engage with the Taliban in the larger ambit of protecting national interests and enuring peace in the subcontinent.


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