Nearly 20 years after invading the country, the United States has decided to call a time out on the 'forever war' in Afghanistan and decided to pull out its troops. Although the move is not sudden, it may have left the country at the hands of the Taliban who are gaining control of new areas for the past two months.
In fact, the troop withdrawal announcement, made by President Joe Biden in April, has led to a drastic uptick of Taliban violence leading to many countries evacuating their diplomats from Afghanistan.
India too, on 11 July, evacuated 50 diplomats and security personnel from its consulate in Kandahar as the Taliban continues to expand its footprint in the country.
The withdrawal of troops stems from the ceasefire agreement signed with the Taliban under former President Donald Trump in 2020, where the Taliban assured that it will not attack US forces in the region if the US withdraws its troops completely.
A day after Biden’s announcement, NATO also issued a statement announcing that it will also pull out its troops from Afghanistan, effectively leaving the country's security at the hands of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces.
The situation being as grim as it sounds and with peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban being frozen in place since 2020, where is Afghanistan headed? Is there any scope for peace in the country, and what is the way forward for India in terms of its engaging with the region?
To gain an understanding of these developments, we spoke to former Secretary (West) of the Ministry of External Affairs and ambassador to Afghanistan, Vivek Katju. Tune in!