The Taliban fighters have captured a very important southern city of Lashkar Gah on Friday according to Afghan government sources. The government officials and military personnel had evacuated the city after reaching an agreement with the militants. The Taliban have claimed to have captured Kandahar also. If the claim is true, the second most important city in Afghanistan would have gone into the hands of the militants and only Kabul and a few regional pockets would be left with the government. According to a Taliban spokesman, Kandahar has been conquered by the militants and they are now approaching Kabul. This claim is also backed by the residents of Kandahar. With this the government of Afghanistan has lost control over most of the country and it would not take much time for the militants to reach Kabul.
Taliban would not negotiate with Ashraf
The Taliban who were supposed to be engaging in negotiations had started fighting soon after the first batch of the US and NATO forces began withdrawing in May and they have been advancing faster than expected by the US government of the government in Kabul. Imran Khan, Pakistani prime minister, had told the foreign correspondent the other day that the militants told him a few months ago when the latter visited Pakistan that they would not negotiate with Afghan government as long as Ashraf Ghani remained its head. Ghani had offered to share power with the militants to end violence. It remains to be seen how the militants would respond to the offer from a person they despise and who became very weak. More than 30 thousand families have fled Afghanistan in the wake of US withdrawal and the Taliban aggression.
Ashraf began his innings with a hope to bring about rapproachment with Pakistan and improve relationship with China. He rightly thought China, more than the US, has more influence on Pakistan. Pakistan had the support of the US, China and Saudi Arabia when it backed the Taliban to defeat Soviet Union which occupied Afghanistan. Pakistan had helped install Taliban government in 1996 in Kabul. After the 2001 occupation by the US and dethronement of the Taliban, Pakistan provided safe havens to Taliban militants and maintained friendly relations with the US while improving its ties with China to the optimum. Pakistan has been successful in frustrating the US with the help of Taliban militants forcing the Americans to leave in a humiliating fashion.
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US abandons Afghans
The US had lost some trillions of money and thousands of soldiers and decided to go back leaving the Afghans to their fate. India which invested in peace in Afghanistan has no locus standi now and cannot help but remain am impotent observers while Pakistan calls all the shots. After Pakistan, China and Russia became closer and the US left the shores, there is not much for India to do. Russia which arranged a regional conference recently did not feel it necessary to invite India. India, on its part, is trying to evacuate its personnel from Afghanistan. It would be wise on part of the Indian establishment to deal with the Taliban directly without depending on the US. President Biden had made it clear the other day when he urged the Afghans to fight for themselves. The US foreign secretary and the secretary of defence were in touch with Ashraf Ghani but they cannot change the course of events.