Afghanistan braces for new war

Sunday, 1 May 2022 — Indian Punchline

M. K. BHADRAKUMAR

The sun sets on Kabul, Afghanistan (File photo)

There is media buzz lately about an anti-Taliban insurgency struggling to be born in Afghanistan. A former Afghan army general, Sami Sadat, is returning home as the West’s favourite to don the mantle of leadership of a pan-Afghan “resistance” movement against repressive Taliban rule.

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China’s diplomacy on a roll in Kabul

Tuesday, 20 March 2022 — Indian Punchline

China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) with Acting Prime Minister of Interim Government Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, Kabul, March 24, 2022

Last Thursday, the Acting Foreign Minister of the Taliban interim government Amir Khan Muttaqi made a stunning remark to greet the visiting Chinese Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Kabul when he said, “This is the most important high-level delegation received by Afghanistan.” It spoke volumes about the quiet success of Beijing’s diplomacy to turn the tables in the Hindu Kush.

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US pips regional states at race for Kabul

Thursday, 3 February 2022 — Indian Punchline

UN SG António Guterres: “Afghanistan is hanging by a thread.”

In a hugely consequential advisory, the US Treasury Department quietly signalled on Wednesday that it was “tweaking” the sanctions against the Haqqani Network. The international banks can transfer money to Taliban, including Haqqani Network without fear of breaching sanctions.

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Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-40

Thursday, 27 January 2022 — Indian Punchline

Taliban delegation led by acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi met with Western diplomats, Oslo, Norway, January 24, 2022

40. The West co-opts the Taliban

The three-day conclave in Oslo on January 23-25 for interaction for a core group of Western diplomats with Taliban officials marks a new phase in the political situation in Afghanistan. The West was represented by the US, UK, Germany, France and Italy as well as the European Union.

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Biden Lies (Again) as He Covertly Continues the U.S. Forever War Against the Afghan People

Tuesday, 18 January 2022 — CovertAction Magazine

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - DECEMBER 21: Afghans holding banners take part in a protest and march towards former US embassy building demanding the release of Afghanistan's frozen assets and resuming international funds amid worsening economic conditions and rising poverty in the country in Kabul, Afghanistan on December 21, 2021. Following Taliban's takeover, international funds to Afghanistan were halted, and the country's assets abroad were frozen. (Photo by Bilal Guler/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)Afghans protest the former U.S. embassy building demanding the release of Afghanistan’s frozen assets and resumption of international funding amid worsening economic conditions in Kabul, Afghanistan, on December 21, 2021. [Source: theintercept.com]

Over the past few months, U.S. lawmakers, the Afghan government, and the international community have called on Washington to stop strangling the Afghan economy as its people continue to suffer from a U.S.-created humanitarian crisis. On December 22nd, the Biden administration effectively rejected those calls, opting instead for half-measures that will do little to counter the effects of stringent economic sanctions imposed on the Taliban or to improve the material well-being of the Afghan people.
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Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-38

3 January 2022 — Indian Punchline

Fence along Durand Line separating Pakistan & Afghanistan

38. Blowback from Afghanistan

Reports of the recent period are indicative of tensions between the Taliban forces and the Pakistani military deployed on their border. On December 22, the Afghan Defence Ministry spokesman Enayatullah Khwarazmi disclosed that the Taliban forces had stopped the Pakistani military from erecting an “illegal” border fence along the eastern Nangarhar province.

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Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-36

27 November 2021 — Indian Punchline

by M. K. BHADRAKUMAR

36. One Hundred Days of Solitude

Taliban Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi (L) met Qatari officials before talks with US/EU representatives, Doha, Nov. 27, 2021

As the Taliban completes its first hundred days in power, the Western powers are groping for a face-saving formula to engage with the authorities in Kabul with some modicum of dignity.

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Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-35

20 November 2021 — Indian Punchline

Visiting high-level Iranian officials (L) and Taliban authorities chaired by Deputy Acting Prime Minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (C) discussed institutional underpinnings of Iran-Afghan cooperation, Kabul, November 15, 2021

35. Taliban government is steadily consolidating

The acknowledgement of “shared interests” with Russia regarding Afghanistan by the new US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West following his discussions in Moscow on November 14 with the Kremlin’s Special Presidential Representative Zamir Kabulov and Security Council’s Deputy Secretary Alexander Venediktov is an important step forward.

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Afghanistan: between pipelines and ISIS-K, the Americans are still in play

11 November 2021 — TheAltWorld

US trained and armed Afghan security forces are joining ISIS-K, which makes the US ‘withdrawal’ from Afghanistan look more like an American ‘repositioning’ to keep chaos humming.

Something quite extraordinary happened in early November in Kabul.

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Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-34

13 November 2021 — Indian Punchline

The new railway bridge across Amur River connecting Nizhneleninskoye (Russia) with Tongjiang (China) commissioned in August, is a technology demonstrator for so-called dual-track system.

34. Central Asia hooking up to CPEC

The information war is so intense nowadays that unsung melodies are often more alluring that the sung ones. The lines from English poet Shelley’s famous ode To a Skylark come to mind — ‘In the broad day-light / Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight…’

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Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-33

10 November 2021 — Indian Punchline

Pakistan extended a special invitation to Acting Interim Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Amir Khan Muttaqi to attend the “Troika Plus” meeting in Islamabad on November 11, 2021

33. US recognition of Taliban Government will be a game changer

The stunning disclosure late Tuesday in Brussels that the US is working on a “road map” for according recognition to the Taliban Government will take a lot of people by surprise but it could have been expected sooner rather than later.

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Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-32

7 November 2021 — Indian Punchline

by M. K. BHADRAKUMAR

Bazaar in Jalalabad, Nangarhar Province in Afghanistan, scene of violent clashes between Taliban and the Islamic State 

32. Taliban has a richer depth through the looking glass

India’s initiative to host a regional conference on Afghanistan in New Delhi on Wednesday has received a good response. With Tehran signalling acceptance of the Indian invite, only China’s response remains to be seen, as of now.

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Reflection on events in Afghanistan-31

2 November 2021 — Indian Punchline

by M. K. BHADRAKUMAR

The 3rd Moscow Format meeting on Afghan settlement attended by Taliban and ten regional states, Moscow, Oct 20, 2021

31. India plays Russian card

The chances were slim that the Pakistani National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf would accept the invitation from his counterpart Ajit Doval to a regional meet of security tsars in New Delhi to discus the situation in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

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Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-29

22 October, 2021 — Indian Punchline

by M. K. BHADRAKUMAR

Taliban government’s deputy prime minister Abdul Salam Hanafi (C) and Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi (R) arrive in Moscow to attend international talks on Afghanistan, Oct. 20, 2021 29.

Taliban is the winner at Moscow conference The Moscow meeting of ten regional states and the Taliban officials on Wednesday has produced an outcome that by far exceeds expectations. The salience of the consensus opinion is four-fold, as reflected in the joint statement issued after the event:

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Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-30

26 October 2021 — Indian Punchline

By M.K. Bhadrakumar

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met Acting Taliban Dy Prime Minister Mullah Baradar, Doha, Oct. 255, 2021

30. Taliban Government gains traction

All indications are that the regional states are preparing to accord recognition to the Taliban government. The meeting of regional states and Taliban officials in the so-called Moscow Format last Wednesday signalled that the Taliban government is a compelling reality and constructive engagement is needed. read more

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Airstrike was a “tragic mistake”: Gen. Frank McKenzie (US Central Command)

21 October 2021 — Airstrikes

Airstrike was a “tragic mistake”: Gen. Frank McKenzie (US Central Command) Posted on October 21, 2021 by admin Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said in a statement late Friday that the United States will make “condolence payments” to families of Afghan civilians killed by mistake in U.S. drone strike on August 29. File photo courtesy the U.S. Department of Defense.

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Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-27

13 October 2021 — Indian Punchline

Uzbekistan Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov (left) escorted by Acting Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi (R) and Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdus Salam (L), Kabul, October 7, 2021

27. Russia draws red lines for US

Moscow has categorically stated that it will not accept a US military presence in the Central Asian region. This reiteration has come at the level of Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov who told Tass that Afghanistan had been discussed at a meeting with Victoria Nuland, the visiting US Undersecretary of State in Moscow on Tuesday.

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Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-26

9 October 2021 — Indian Punchline

Taliban delegation led by Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi (C) left Kabul for talks with US team of State Department, CIA & USAID officials through the weekend at Doha, Qatar, October 8, 2021

26. Taliban back in American swing chair

The US state department admitted belatedly late last night that the first face-to-face meeting between American officials and the Taliban since the regime change in Kabul would take place in the weekend at Doha.

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Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-25

8 October 2021 — Indian Punchline

by M. K. BHADRAKUMAR

Taliban Dy Prime Ministers Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (C) and Mawlawi Abdul Salam Hanafi (R) met with British High Representative for Afghanistan Sir Simon Gass, Kabul, October 5, 2021

25. Taliban receives overtures from near and far

The Taliban is getting many suitors lately. It is far from the “pariah” that the Biden Administration thought it was destined to be. During the past month alone, the Taliban received six suitors from the region and beyond offering courtship — the foreign minister of Qatar; the special envoys of Russia, China and Pakistan; the High representative of UK Prime Minister; and the foreign minister of Uzbekistan who visited Kabul on Thursday.

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