|Indian Air force|
While Kabul believes that the only way New Delhi can aid is with air power, India is unlikely to participate in the Afghan conflict since it does not believe in such "counter-terrorism measures."
Kabul: The Ashraf Ghani administration has requested “robust air support” from India in an unprecedented step as the conflict between Afghan government forces and Taliban militants has intensified in recent days.
The Afghan government is concerned that the Taliban will “certainly” increase their level of violence once US troops leave by August 31, and thus the need for air support from New Delhi is now being aggressively pushed by Kabul, according to top Afghan government sources who asked to remain anonymous.
Despite the fact that US Central Command (CENTCOM) head General Kenneth McKenzie stated that America will provide help immediately after August 31, the Afghan government wants the Indian Air Force (IAF) to come into the country and reinforce the Afghan Air Force, sources noted.
While the request for air help isn't new, the Ghani government is "very worried" that the Taliban would now escalate their deadly acts across the nation as they make quick progress. Its most recent push is in Mazar-i-Sharif, where combat erupted on Monday.
Afghanistan's Foreign Minister Mohammed Haneef Atmar and India's External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar are thought to have addressed the issue during a recent phone chat.
Troika Plus Meeting Will be Held In Doha
All eyes are on Doha today as the Qatari capital prepares to host yet another peace meeting under the ‘Troika Plus' as part of the intra-Afghan discussion between Afghan government representatives and Taliban leaders.
The Troika Plus, also known as the Extended Troika and convened by Moscow, will bring together the United States, Russia, Pakistan, and China.
New Delhi, on the other hand, appears to have stated that it will not be able to take "such a dramatic step" since India has never believed in such "counterterrorism procedures."
Moscow's initial goal, according to insiders, was to invite all regional parties, including India, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan. However, as the Taliban's onslaught intensifies, it appears that the conference, which begins Tuesday in Doha, will have to make some "difficult decisions."
“Air power is crucial in the Afghan counterinsurgency, and US air power, which has long been a game-changer in Afghanistan, will soon be phased out of the equation. So it's not unexpected that Kabul would seek assistance from India, one of the country's closest allies in the area.
But, despite its severe fears about Taliban gains, the costs of giving such support much exceed the advantages for New Delhi, according to Michael Kugelman, deputy director and senior associate for South Asia at the Wilson Center.
“The last thing India wants is to get pulled into the Afghan conflict and inflame tensions in an already fragile relationship with Pakistan,” he continued. The employment of Indian air power in Afghanistan would be a game-changer with regional destabilizing consequences, which New Delhi would want to avoid.”
In response to the Troika Plus conference, which will take place at a time when Afghanistan is witnessing unprecedented carnage, Kugelman stated that even if these conversations do not produce the intended outcomes, regional countries must communicate between themselves and find a solution.
“It's easy to dismiss the newest regional diplomatic effort to resuscitate an apparently dormant peace process, but these talks are crucial. They are much more important now that the United States has withdrawn. The United States and its NATO allies have the luxury of retreating and knowing that the war's spillover consequences will not affect them directly. “The regional guys don't have that luxury,” he explained.
“Regional solutions are necessary, even though they are and will continue to be difficult to find. It's also noteworthy to see the US decouple tensions with its Russian and Chinese adversaries in order to work together on common Afghan problems. This is a ray of hope in an otherwise bleak situation,” he continued.
The Troika Plus last convened in April of this year, urging a peaceful resolution to the Afghan conflict.
Meanwhile, the “Taliban must hear from the international community,” according to the UN Security Council meeting on Afghanistan held on Sunday under India's chair.