NEW DELHI - As a former head of the US Central Command Mattis appreciates Pakistan’s indispensability as base for military operations to bring the Taliban in Afghanistan to their knees, Indian analyst Bharat Karnad writes in Hindustan Times.
But Islamabad has insisted that India’s role in Afghanistan be restricted and complained about the Indian support for the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) accused by Islamabad of terrorism in Pakistan.
The RAW-TTP link was publicly revealed in April this year by its former commander, Ehsanullah Ehsan.
Mattis’ request that India moderate its support for TTP will put Delhi in a fix because TTP is useful as an Indian counterpart of the Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Toiba, and Jaish-e-Mohammad deployed by the Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in Jammu & Kashmir.
This, together with the Abdul Ghani regime’s desire for India’s presence and the tested friendship with Abdul Rashid Dostum and his Tajik-dominated ‘Northern Alliance’, ensures that no solution for peace in Afghanistan can be cobbled together without India’s help.
Mattis’ returning home empty-handed will not hurt relations with the US at all because there’s China; and the US needs India to strategically hinder it.