Fall of Kabul, 2021

While the US prepared their exit by 9th September 2021, the Taliban rose to become the dominant political and military power in Afghanistan. After capturing Herat in the extreme west, the Taliban proceeded rapidly towards the east, where the bigger cities like Kabul and Kandahar are located.

This is not the first time the Taliban has risen to power following an unstable Government in power in Kabul. In 1995, a civil war started in Afghanistan, following which the Taliban rose to power. After a failed attempt, the Taliban established their base at Herat on the western part of the country, and again launched an offensive to Kabul. Kabul fell in 1996 and Afghanistan passed into the hands of the Taliban. The siege was only for 5 years, but it resulted in Afghanistan’s economy rolling back at least 25 years.

Mass destruction, killing and raping of women, and blowing up of archaeological monuments are features of the Taliban regime. US troops gradually repealed the Taliban from 2001 onwards and took up Kabul. However, they could not completely wipe out Taliban leadership and ideology and it soon gained momentum in remote parts of the country. Though the Taliban were a nightmare for the women, Taliban support still built up on a large scale across the remote regions. The US alleged that Pakistan sponsored the Taliban providing them shelter in Quetta.

Several countries like India, Afghanistan Government, the US, Russia alleged that Pakistan is a safe haven for terrorist organizations. The allegations were proved right when Osama-bin-Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 US bombardment attacks was found and killed in Pakistan. For a brief period, the progress of Al-Qaeda and Taliban were overshadowed by the rapid progress of ISIS in Syria, Iraq, and their suicidal attacks in other parts of the world. Heavy bombardment by the US, Russia and other world superpowers ensured that ISIS didn’t last long. While the world helped Syria and Iraq wipe out ISIS, the US was making peace talks with the Taliban to ensure peace in Afghanistan. After the fall of ISIS, the Taliban still held their ground with military and finance aid from neighbouring countries that allegedly include Pakistan.

Things took a decisive turn as US President Joe Biden ordered the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan by 11th September, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The US made a peace deal with the Taliban, where mutual peace and unity between Afghanistan Government controlled areas and Taliban controlled areas were signed. However, as soon as the withdrawal of US troops started, the Taliban started capturing one city after another in bitter street fighting. Within 3-4 weeks, the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, the southern city of Kandahar, the western city of Herat was captured by Taliban forces.

The Afghan military provided almost zero resistance to the Taliban attacks, most of them switched sides taking the opportunity of lack of nationalism and leadership from the Government. Despite Joe Biden assuring that Afghanistan is self-sufficient in military power to combat any Taliban uprising, the reality shows a completely different picture. Covering almost the entire Afghanistan, the Taliban now attacked Kabul from all sides. The Afghanistan President, Ashraf Ghani fled Kabul on the night of siege and took refuge in either Tajikistan or Uzbekistan. Street fighting started in Kabul but there was hardly anyone loyal to the Afghanistan Government and most has switched sides. Kabul passed into the hands of the Taliban, who now proclaimed their country as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

The fall of Kabul in August 2021, marked the beginning of a new era of Taliban rule over Afghanistan. Parts of the city, around the airport, where most of the foreign residents living in the country are escaping were spared from damage. As soon as all foreign countries finish their evacuation of citizens, entire Afghanistan will pass into the hands of the Taliban. Many Afghans want to leave the country to find shelter in other developed countries but are unprepared given how quickly the Taliban captured one city after another. While Taliban rule is a nightmare for women and minorities, they have no option other than hope that the new rule of Taliban will not be doing mass raping or ethnic cleansing and treat everyone with respect and give importance to education and growth of the economy of the war-torn country.

Written by – Himadri Paul

Indian Politics and The Youth

An article on Indian politics and today’s generation

Pericles a great Greek orator once said,

“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you”.

Youth and Politics

Politics in India in the last 70 years has gone through a stigmatizing change, people often refer to it as a sewer, but most fail to realize that this is what keeps the country going. It may be one of the reasons why youth refrain from stepping into politics. They want a good life but are afraid of a degraded social image.

India is a country with a population of approximately 1.3 Billion people. Youth makes 19.1%, i.e. one-fifth of the country’s total population. Statistics say that 65% of India’s population is under the age of 35 years. Nevertheless, only 6% of our leaders, ministers and peoples representatives are below the age of 35.

Yet only13%of our Lok Sabha representative’s are below the age of 35, “Young Parliamentarians.”

Yet some have taken ahead of the legacy of their families. Still, many young leaders stepped into the world of politics to make a paradigm shift in the Indian Political System. Fresh, Energetic, Bold and Innovative they provide the much-required enthusiasm to the Indian Political System.

Despite the substantial population of Youth in India, there has not been a proportional representation in the Political Sphere of the Nation. Though there isn’t lack of words to describe the zeal and capacity of youth to make a change, numbers have there owned role which can’t be ignored and certainly in Indian Political System, the number is not enough to make an impact.

There isn’t a shortage of examples to determine how youth have been engaged in politics since the old times. Even the real independence struggle on Youth Revolutionaries. Starting from moderate leaders like Dadabhai Naoroji, Badruddin Tayyabji and many more whose experience of admin was considerable. The later movement in the last phase of Congress was led by youth. Leaders like Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and more in the earlier stage led to enthusiastic and bold steps in the struggle, and the later phase was led by youngsters like Subhash Chandra Bose, Bhagat Singh, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and many more.

In the current context, young, vibrant leaders like the new Chancellor of Austria, Sebastian Kurz, is 31. The new Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, is 37, and also the world’s youngest female leader.

Talking about India Lakya Suryanarayan Tejasvi also known as Tejasvi Surya is 29. Nusrat Jahan Ruhi Jain is 30, Jamyang Tsering Namgyal is 35, and there are many more examples of young leaders who have genuinely represented how vibrant, enthusiastic, energetic and diplomatic today’s youth is. As voters grow tired of decrepit political parties, now some Political Parties are embracing new blood and empowering it, to survive.

But politics isn’t something that cannot run just by power. It needs a calm mind who can face the challenges, threats of all sorts. Youth is always exuding energy but seldom knows how to direct it to the right path. Hence, often end up taking decisions applicable for a short run. Politics is a field that needs a calm mind, along with experience. Experience teaches tolerance and the potential to have realistic visions, Young people have no experience and hence, often tend to have idealistic and unrealistic images of the society which may not be victorious in implementation. It is easy to manipulate young people and can be treated as mere as puppets. These were seen in violence and destruction of public properties by a few student groups recently.

But by making politics available to youth, the negative aspect of politics can be slowly erased in the minds of youth. Policies affecting youth can be framed by young people themselves rather than old politicians, who most probably cannot feel the contemporary problems young people are facing.

Nowadays, there is a shortage of young guns in the present scenario of Indian Political System. Youth should be given the prospect to prove themselves by making politics accessible to them. The right balance of young talent and experienced politicians can lead to the cleaning of politics and can restore the public faith in the political system.

Written By – Ishita Singh.

Nuclear Weapons: A source of mass destruction

Difference between India and American nuclear Weapons

Nuclear Weapon Arsenal of any nation is its deepest asset. These Assets come with a humongous responsibility; every nation empowered with nuclear warfare technology is bound to ensure their safety, security and prohibition of use. The world had witnessed and suffered a great deal due to the use of one such weapon of Mass Destruction way back in 1945 (World War II) by America on two Japanese Cities namely Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Approximately 200k people lost lives, consequences of that Blast can be felt today even after about 175 years.

Thankfully those bombings were first and last such use of Nuclear power. After World War II the world became highly unstable, each nation was in a goat race to attain supremacy and Nuclear Warfare Technology became the ultimate badge of status and unmatched power. Soviet Union, United Kingdom, France and China too gained Nuclear weapon powered status in a short time.

  • Non-Proliferation Treaty

After continuous stockpiling of nuclear weapons by only a handful of nations United Nations took a major step towards stopping it. Frank Aiken Irish Minister of External Affairs initiated the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1958. Every member nation was asked to sign this treaty under the flagship of raising world peace.

In this treaty following were the point made:-

  1. States not in possession of nuclear weapons will not acquire them.
  2. States in possession of nuclear weapons will pursue disarmament.
  3. All states can use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

Under this treaty, Nations that have manufactured and have successfully tested Nuclear weapons prior to 1 January 1967 will be entitled as the Nuclear Weapon States. Nuclear weapon states were bound not to transfer assist or encourage any state towards the acquisition of Nuclear weapons to any NNWS.

India refused to sign this treaty as it was interpreted to be an intrusive monopoly towards Indian Sovereignty. The United State of America, who has assumed the title of Global guardian by itself is the biggest rogue to the Non-Proliferation Treaty as neither had it carried Disarmament nor it followed the instruction of not assisting NNWS in acquiring Nuclear Weapons.  

  • Indian acquisition of Nuclear Weapon Power

“As long as the world is constituted as it is, every country will have to devise and use the latest devices for its protection. I have no doubt India will develop her scientific researches and I hope Indian scientists will use the atomic force for constructive purposes. But if India is threatened, she will inevitably try to defend herself by all means at her disposal” stated Jawaharlal Nehru on 26 June 1946

India acquired Nuclear Weapon State Status in 1998, during Atal Bihari Vajpeyi’s government and had to pay a hefty price as America and Japan imposed sanctions on India after the successful testing of Nuclear weapon in Pokhran, Rajasthan. India has signed neither NPT(Non-Proliferation Treaty) nor CTBT but has opted “No first use policy”.

  • Differences between Indian and American Nuclear weapon

American and Indian Nuclear Weapons have vast differences both in terms of Technology as well as Application:-

  • India has never announced the total number of nuclear Warheads but it is estimated to be a number somewhere around 150. Whereas American total is 5800 of which 1750 are deployed in various strategic positions including in oceans.
  • A sizable number of Indian Nuclear Weapon Arsenal is made up of Nuclear Fission warheads which are considered less dangerous than Nuclear fusion warheads. Though the actual Fission warheads percentage is not well known, it is estimated to be around roughly 20%. The number shoots down to a perfect 0% if American Arsenal is taken into account.
  • Indian Nuclear Weapons are attached to ballistic missile systems, hence less deadly and controllable whereas American Nuclear weapons are attached to various Cruise Missiles which offer more controllability and incurring more damage to Target.
  • American Nuclear weapons are rumored to have a range that any part of the World can be targeted. India is yet to attain such a range for its Nuclear-Capable missile systems.

Author’s Take

Nuclear Weapons should be treated as a Responsibility towards humanity and each country should engage in Disarmament. Only one global organization preferably United Nations should possess nuclear weapons and it should work in a free and fair manner, it will result not only in a peaceful world but also end the monopoly of a handful number of Countries.

 By Shubham Yadav