The Article referred to in Part 1 continued: Take Afghanistan, with which India shares a technical border, a notional line in official maps, but a country with which India has no direct land, rail, or sea link. India has committed $1.3 billion in various projects, built a 218-km highway between Zarang and Delaram to provide better connectivity to the Iranian port of Chabahar, gifted hundreds of buses, minibuses, utility vehicles and three airbuses to Ariana, the Afghan airlines which flies thrice daily flights into New Delhi; we are constructing the Afghan Parliament building, the Salma dam power project in Herat province—the list is seemingly endless. Yet, there is not a single Indian doctor in Kabul’s Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health. Our embassy in the Afghan capital, which is awash with pirated Bollywood films, has come under attack twice in two years, in the process we have lost a diplomat, a military attaché, and elsewhere an engineer’s head was brutally hacked off . The result? Under sustained pressure, there has been an exodus of Indian personnel working in projects in Afghanistan, half of them have left, and Indian projects are on hold, being scaled down, and no new ones are on the anvil.
This situation has prompted New Delhi to do a smart U-turn on Iran, and South Block has consequently been knocking on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s door, hoping to get a foot in, and possibly a couple of meaningful sentences edgewise, over the torrent of recrimination.
Meanwhile the United States, which hopes to reduce its troop presence in Afghanistan drastically before it becomes an election issue, has disregarded India’s advice that there are no ‘good Taliban’ and ‘bad Taliban’ and in fact they are all bad. Americans will retreat into bases in the north of the country in an effort to reduce dependence on Pakistan. Karzai, who has consorted with every intelligence agency and every power, is living on borrowed political time. As India enters into a strategic partnership with Karzai, who may have to cohabit with the Taliban, how long will he be a political factor in Afghanistan?
As Rajiv Dogra, a former Indian diplomat puts it: “We are on a slippery slope in Afghanistan. Karzai is a puppet, already twisting in the wind.” Karzai may ultimately be left in the lurch by being forced to work with the various incompatible factions of Hekmatyar, Haqqani, and Mullah Omar. A serving diplomat minces no words. “Our hour of reckoning is fast approaching in Afghanistan,” he prophesies darkly.
Answer the following questions. No Cut and Paste jobs , please. Give me evidence that you have understood.