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US exit from Afghanistan: Will it be a Déjà vu of Soviet withdrawal for Kashmir?

United States withdrawal from Afghanistan and growing terror incidents in Kashmir valley has rung alarm bells among the security establishments as the Indian government is working to prevent any situation that occurred after the Soviet exit from the Central Asian country in 1989.

The terrorists who were engaged in a continuous war with Soviet forces in Afghanistan were left without “any work” after the withdrawal of the country. It was then when Pakistan intelligence ISI diverted these ultras to valley and also got Kashmiri terrorists trained by them.

India is again at crossroads as another superpower has left Afghanistan and Kashmir is still a volatile region where Pakistan is leaving no stone unturned to create tremors. While the situation is now different as the battle hardened Indian army is prepared for any eventuality, experts believe that ‘hit and run’ incidents where terrorists target security forces personnel and vanish may increase.

The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in a matter of time has also emboldened terror groups operating in Kashmir valley. Social media where the gullible youths are being told about the “victorious hordes of Taliban now coming to Kashmir” is playing a role in radicalization.

“In retrospect, when the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989, without accommodating the interests of various factions struggling for power, India’s security too was jeopardised. Consequently, the security situation in Kashmir reached its nadir during the heydays of the Mujahidin and later when the Taliban controlled Afghanistan. The same threat is again around the corner with the impending withdrawal of American troops. This research paper traces the nexus between instability in Afghanistan and its repercussions in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir” reads a study Understanding the Instability in Afghanistan in JSTOR.

There is an immediate need for the government of India to control such feeds on social media from reaching the youth that may create rift in the society in the name of religion. Even as there is an unsettled peace in Kashmir since abrogation of Article 370 in 2019, there have been incidents of terror that have increased over the time.

Police and army have been claiming that the situation in under control but during recent times targeted killings of BJP leaders in both – Kashmir and Jammu – division have increased hinting towards an undercurrent that was witnessed before 1989. At that time killings of Kashmiri Pandits had become common after which the community was forced to flee their homes and live in exile.

While the central government has remained tight lipped over giving a nomenclature of “terrorist organization” to Taliban, there are reports of back-channel talks of Indian diplomats with the new regime in Afghanistan.

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