NEW:Statement coming from Afghan Taliban on Kashmir which calls on both India and Pakistan to refrain from taking steps that could lead to violence AND indirectly criticizes Pakistan for trying to link Afghanistan peace process with Kashmir.
(link: https://twitter.com/Natsecjeff/status/1 ... 24/photo/1
I have a Chankian theory.
The Taliban of today (and of tomorrow, if given a chance to form Afghan govt) are very, very far from the Taliban of the 1990s.
The Taliban of the 1990s were much, much more dependent on (and trusting of) Pakistan. To some extent KSA as well, but primarily Pakistan. The rest of the world viewed them, at least officially, as a pariah rogue state.
If Taliban plays a dominant role in the Afghan govt in future it will be a very different beast.
Firstly, it will have won open and official recognition from the US (and hence the whole international community). Hence, its diplomatic and economic dependence on Pakis/ISI will be much less. It will be a legitimate organization recognized as the ruling party in a UN member state.
Secondly it has learned some hard lessons about TSPA/ISI over the past two decades. It will surely remember things like the ISI's betrayal of Mullah Baradar and Mullah Akhtar Mansour. It will not forget how Islamabad-pasand leaders like the Haqqanis were elevated while other leaders inconvenient to the ISI were either assassinated or sold down the river to the Yanquis.
SO: if Taliban really does expect to come to power in Kabul, it also recognizes that the Pakis are unreliable at best and hostile anti-Pashtun hegemons at worst. Therefore, the Taliban today recognizes that it too will need strong leverage against Pakistani intervention, subversion, bullying etc. in the Afghanistan it hopes to rule one day.
Who is the best source of that leverage? Who can heat up the Pakis' other border and divert TSPA from operations in or near Afghanistan, as needed?
Even in 1999, under firm ISI control, the Taliban did its best not to aggravate the IC814 situation beyond a point. They did not permit further killings of Indian passengers on the tarmac in Kadahar, and ensured as far as they could that the hostages were handed over unharmed after the exchange of Masood Azhar and his cohort, without the sort of wholesale slaughter that other ISI-sponsored Tanzeems like LeT or JeM might have engaged in. Even then, they set limits when it came to provoking India.
Today they are openly refusing to take sides on the 370 issue. And the more Pakistan insists on using Kashmir as an issue to blackmail Trump regarding the Afghanistan negotiations, the bigger the rift between Pakis and the Taliban will get.
Not that they will ever be an "ally" exactly, but the Taliban can be useful to India. Old paradigms like "Afghan mujahedin will be diverted in droves to J&K for terrorism" may not be fully applicable in this day and age-- simply because ISI control over the Afghan mujahedin is nothing like it was in the 1980s and 90s. Why will they want to come to J&K and die, when there are spoils to fight for right there in AfPak? Some (like the ISI-pasand Haqqani and other units) MAY be diverted... but even they will be busy jockeying for power in a post-Ghani Afghanistan, and will need to keep their manpower in the locality to consolidate this because they will not fully trust the ISI to manoeuvre on their behalf. The vast bulk of the Taliban will go back to fighting each other, the Tajiks, the Uzbeks, and the Hazaras... and hopefully, fighting the Pakis/Chinese as well.