Afghanistan is an area of great strategic importance in Central Asia. It was ruled by the Taliban, backed by Pakistan. It gave refuge to Osama bin Laden and overall enforced a puritan form of Islam that relegated women and minorities to the back chamber. The US launched a war after 9/11 and the Taliban was overthrown and a democratic government ushered in. Osama and other Taliban leaders escaped to Pakistan and were given safe havens.  Presently the elected president of Afghanistan is Ashraf Ghani.

Unfortunately, despite a sizeable military presence of the USA the Taliban and now ISIS have been launching attacks against his government. India is also a major player in Afghanistan and has invested money and development projects to shore up the Afghan regime.

The military connection

Beset by all-around militancy and terror attacks by the Taliban, the Afghan government for quite some time had been requesting for military aid from India. The Manmohan Singh government in a timid approach had not acceded to this request. The advent of Modi has seen a more proactive approach and reports indicate that 4 Heligunships have been transferred to the Afghan forces to help it fight the Taliban. In addition, India has signed a tri-party pact with #Russia as well as Afganistan. This envisages direct supply of weapons from Russia to Afghanistan  with the payments to be made by India. This is an excellent method to supply arms to Afghanistan as it has a contagious border with Russia

Further developments

The Afghans were wary of letting Russia, who they had fought earlier, back into the country. The geopolitical situation has changed and the Afghans have not opposed the idea. In addition, an old factory is being refurbished in Kabul to repair and make serviceable thousands of Russian weapons lying abandoned  in Afghanistan.These weapons were left behind by the Soviet army.

The chief of the Afghan army is visiting Delhi with a bigger wish list. He plans to ask for Indian trainers and expertise to train the Afghan army. The Narendra Modi government will certainly consider it.  The battle lines are drawn in Afghanistan with the USA having India on its side.  #Terrorism #NarendraModi