Old images come back haunting!

Need an ecosystem of hope in Kashmir to avert Taliban threat
Old images come back haunting!
Taliban men in Afghanistan. [Image for representational purpose only]Wikimedia/ isafmedia

Why should Kashmir be brought into picture whenever there is trouble in any part of the world? That means, there is either something wrong with our thinking about Kashmir or nothing has changed in the Valley as far as its courtship with the troubles is concerned. These questions need serious attention even if the credible answers are not available at the moment because of the blurred geo-strategic situation in the whole of South Asian region.

Today, the whole world’s attention is riveted toward the troubles in Afghanistan . And among all other places , it has been concluded that Kashmir will reel from the impact of violence raging in the war-torn country Many theories are being advanced, some are genuine and others are absolutely imaginary. Taliban is having its own agenda. It is marching ahead to take full control of the territory in Afghanistan to regain power there after a gap of more than 20 years.

Taking control of Afghanistan is on top of its list. The violence is the means chosen by it to achieve this objective, because that is the only methodology it knows, and it has been encouraged by Pakistan to march on this path. President Ashraf Ghani publicly accused Pakistan of sending 10,000 “jihadis” to his country. And he spoke of a painful truth: “ Contrary to the repeated assurances by Prime Minister ( Imran) Khan and his generals that Pakistan does not find a Taliban takeover in Afghanistan in Pakistan’s interest, and assured will use its power to influence to make Taliban negotiate seriously, networks and organizations supporting the Taliban are openly celebrating the destruction of assets and capabilities of the Afghan people and state.”

Since Pakistan and Taliban nexus is too well-known, the fear of Afghan troubles reaching Kashmir has come back to haunt the security apparatus. In that case, we must try to understand genesis of this fear. That was the fear way back in 1990s when Taliban first took control of Afghanistan and if it still persists , we need to answer a question, why Kashmir is vulnerable? It gains importance especially against the backdrop of the rising graphics of the militants killed in encounters or as a result of operation all-out against militancy. These successes of the security forces should have created an atmosphere where the thought of militancy and violence should have become repulsive for the young boys. There is definitely a gap between the rising statistics of the militants killed and the status of militancy-mindset.

There is an undying theory that Pakistan, the creator of Taliban, and using this group, ravaging Afghanistan at the moment, would divert the rogue elements to the Indian part of Jammu and Kashmir. That’s what Pakistan had been doing all along, and would repeat the same time and again. This is a proven fact. It means that Islamabad has not mended its ways nor will it ever. It has not learnt any lessons from the surgical strikes; it is continuing terror training camps and is making desperate bids to push infiltrators to this side of the Line of Control. And its claim of seeking peace with India through dialogue is phoney. Otherwise, why it should have called-off back-channel talks with India after the renewal of the ceasefire on LoC on February 25. This should give an additional reason to ponder why Pakistan is able to do what it does, and why some in the younger generation in Kashmir are still enamored of guns. And even when guns are in short supply to them because of the strict measures taken by the security forces, the mindset of picking guns or motivating others to pick up guns has not been addressed. That requires vision, which is not there in full measure.

It will take at least six months for Taliban to accomplish its goal in Afghanistan. It is the time available for the system to repair all the fault lines. This has to be done through display of soft power. A new kind of definition of soft power is needed, which doesn’t mean an end to encounters, but a real friendly, transparent, and accountable system. This can happen if the efforts listed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and their representative in J&K, Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha get doubled with greater speed There is no substitute for the ecosystem of hope.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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