In this episode, Dr Happymon Jacob speaks to senior Pakistani journalist and author Zahid Hussain about the future of Afghanistan in the aftermath of the US military’s withdrawal. Hussain provides a succinct view of the hostilities already underway in different parts of Afghanistan. He also provides a measure of different possibilities ranging from a full-blown civil war to a political settlement.
Hussain was sceptical about a sweeping Taliban takeover of Afghanistan like the one in the mid-1990s. The overall ability of the Afghan government to survive and fight back would depend on continued support from the United States, he argues. Hussain also provides a nuanced picture of the Taliban today, as against its earlier more puritanical avatar. He unpacks Pakistan’s Afghan predicament in detail and provides an assessment of US-Pakistan relations going forward. As far as India’s Afghan policy is concerned, he sees no harm in India talking to the Taliban.