Like secret lovers traveling for a tryst, heads of state venturing abroad must ofttimes squirt squid-ink to conceal the true purpose of a journey. And so it was recently with President Barack Obama’s sojourn to India. Few have divined the motive force propelling him to that nation: “extensive discussion with Indian leaders on the challenges being faced in Afghanistan.”
As I discussed here, Pakistan considers any Indian involvement in Afghanistan as a form of encirclement. Many in Pakistan are convinced that India wishes to swallow their nation, and seeks influence in Afghanistan as a means by which to do so. As detailed in the afore-embedded link, ISI, the Pakistani intelligence service, in January of this year deliberately sabotaged peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government of Hamid Karzai, arresting some 24 Taliban leaders under Pakistani protection because “[w]e are not going to allow the [Taliban] to make a deal with Karzai and the Indians.” In the world that is real, the Indians did not seem to be involved in these talks. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is that the Pakistanis believed that they were.
Obama has repeatedly stated that the US will begin withdrawing combat troops from Afghanistan beginning in July of next year. As is set out beyond the “furthur,” there is reason to believe that he will stick to this timetable. The mess the US leaves behind in Afghanistan will be, uh, less messy, if Pakistan can be convinced to eschew enabling the most grotesque elements of the Taliban. Pakistan supports these cretins primarily because it believes such support is necessary in order to frustrate real or imagined Indian hegemony. Thus, Obama’s “extensive discussion with Indian leaders on the challenges begin faced in Afghanistan.”