Amid the rapidly changing situation in Afghanistan after the Taliban seized power on August 15, experts feel that Qatar can play a vital role in the ongoing crisis and it can also be instrumental in protecting India’s interests in the war-torn nation.
The experts also said that the way the US has deferred its planned exit from Afghanistan with an August 31 deadline, the diplomats of Qatar have been active to persuade the Afghan militia to consider the American forces’ plea who wanted to stay there till the evacuation of its last citizen.
Former diplomat Gautam Mukhopadhya agrees that Qatar has been playing a vital role in resolving the crisis and they have convinced stakeholders for negotiations.
“Qatar is playing an important role in the present crisis in Afghanistan but the results of their efforts are yet to be seen,” he said.
West Asia expert and senior journalist Qamar Agha also said that Qatar has a lot of influence on the Taliban and it also played an important role during the negotiations between the insurgents and Americans, with the then Afghan government without interfering in the internal affairs in the war-ravaged country.
“Qatar has also helped the Palestinians, solving their problems with Israel and tried to mediate with the Hamas in the Palestinian territory. So Qatar has played an important role in negotiating Afghan militia for evacuating the Indians and other countries’ citizens who were working in NATO forces in Afghanistan recently,” Agha said.
He also said that the Qatari diplomats have achieved a certain level of diplomatic practices which had helped certain issues in the Arab World and in Afghanistan too.
“Now, after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, Qatar can really play a very important role. Secondly, India has a very good relation with this country and can sort out many of our problems, if needed,” he added.
Agha also hoped that not only in evacuating the Indians from Afghanistan, Qatar can be helpful in protecting India’s interests too.
It can also counter Pakistan if they try to interfere in Afghanistan and contain any nefarious activities against India.
“India also has good relations with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the two Gulf nations that can also help us protect our interests in the war torn country,” he added.
However, another foreign affairs expert Sushant Sareen does not hope much from Qatar in resolving the Afghan crisis.
“Qatar has been doing this in all hot spots in the world especially in the Middle East and it has outsized its diplomacy by using money with different groups who have issues with the other confronting sections and mediated among them. It’s true that it has taken the position of that what Saudi Arabia or the UAE used to have, but nothing substantial has come up after its diplomatic intervention,” Sareen observed.
“They (Qatar) have a dubious role as they have an US Base in their country but they also host a Taliban office too. They were also funding the Islamic State ultras despite being on the US’ side. It has also good relations with the Taliban and had played a very critical role even in Afghanistan; they have a close connection with Pakistan which hugely depends on its gas requirement. So that also gives Qatar a degree of influence in the whole crisis,” he commented.
Which of the peace process have resulted positive, not even one?
Sareen said: “Yes, it can influence the Taliban leadership in protecting India’s interest in that country, at least they can persuade them to keep on Indian projects going on.”