Thwart terror

Thwart terror

It is evident that the Taliban and its patrons in Pakistan are deeply uneasy with the regard India’s work in Afghanistan is looked upon by the Afghan people. On Friday, several Indians who were engaged in bringing back normalcy to Afghanistan through an array of development and other activities were killed in a suicide attack on a guest house in Kabul that the Indian Embassy had rented out for its staffers and others linked to India’s development work in the country.

The motive behind the attack is not difficult to guess. India’s development work in Afghanistan has earned it public goodwill. It is engaged in improving nutrition among children, providing medical help and training in a variety of fields. It has built roads and provided electricity to Kabul. This is bothering the Taliban and its backers as unlike them India enjoys public support. They want India to leave Afghanistan and are seeking to intimidate Delhi through repeated attacks on Indians there. Several Indian nationals working on road and other development projects have been abducted and killed by the Taliban in the past. India’s embassy in Kabul was the target of a deadly suicide attack in July 2008 and then again in October last year.

India has repeatedly made it clear that it will not be intimidated by Taliban attacks and that it intends to stay the course and remain engaged in reconstruction work in Afghanistan, come what may. It is time that the Taliban and its patrons woke up to this reality.

It is a pity that Pakistan’s approach to Afghanistan remains negative. If it is keen to match India’s growing influence in Afghanistan then it should work like India to build its credentials there.  Pakistan and the Taliban are associated with violence and mayhem in the minds of Afghans. In the circumstances, it is not surprising that they enjoy no goodwill among the people of Afghanistan. Pakistan and the Taliban need to take a hard look at their strategy and approach. Taking a leaf out of India’s book will not be a bad idea. If they are keen to win hearts and minds in Afghanistan, they need to work through building human security and associating themselves in poverty alleviation and other projects. Suicide attacks cause huge destruction and terrorise people into obeying the Taliban’s diktats. But beyond that, it achieves little.

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