South Asia Round-up: August 13-17, 2021

The big story in South Asia has unsurprisingly been the fate of Afghanistan, what it will mean for the respective countries in the region (including China), and what it says about their neighbors (and the US). Pakistan, India, the US, and the Afghan government get most of the blame.

Each of these countries are accused, for lack of a better word, of being the greatest beneficiaries of what has happened, depending on who one reads. China and extremists across the region are also seen as beneficiaries by many. The biggest geopolitical loser is undoubtedly seen to be the US, but Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and China are also seen as being losers, again, depending on who one reads. 

Who are the geopolitical winners and losers in Afghanistan?

Return Of The Taliban – Colombo Telegraph (Sri Lanka)
With the victory of the Taliban, China is encircling India.

Taliban rule in Afghanistan now seems inevitable | The Daily Star (Bangladesh)
US credibility as an ally is shattered; South Asia must prepare for increased extremism.

After the fall (nation.com.pk) (Pakistan)
With the victory of the Taliban, ISIS “will strike back in this region particularly against Pakistan and China duly supported by India.”

US interests behind fall of Kabul | By Waseem Shabbir – Pakistan Observer (pakobserver.net) (Pakistan)
“The US particularly wants this chaotic atmosphere solely to impede China’s progressivism westwards through its mega BRI project.”

Taliban Takeover (nation.com.pk) (Pakistan)
The Taliban victory is the worst possible outcome for Pakistan.

Frustrated Indian and Afghan governments (tribune.com.pk) Pakistan
The expulsion of Indian influence from Afghanistan is “a Pakistani wish being fulfilled by the advancing Taliban”.

American abdication: Afghan civil society is in mortal danger. As Kabul falls, questions abound on US reliability as an ally (indiatimes.com) (India)
America abandons its allies; India will have to be prepared to stand alone against the rising tide of extremism.

How Taliban’s expansion in Afghanistan could signal rise of Bangladesh-based terror group (theprint.in) (India)
India and Bangladesh are on high alert for Islamist infiltrators aiming to attack India.

Taliban’s Suhail Shaheen Was Sure of Seizing Afghanistan Again, Even in 2001 | OPINION (thequint.com) (India)
The US is unfaithful and incompetent. The Taliban victory deeply damaged American authority.

Afghan collapse, US rout, Pak gain – The Economic Times (indiatimes.com) (India)
American credibility has been damaged. The “China-Pakistan-Taliban nexus” is growing stronger.

Afghanistan Crisis: How will Russia, China & Pakistan make use of the vacuum? | OPINION (thequint.com) (India)
The Taliban victory has strengthened China, Russia, and Pakistan at the expense of India.

Presence of Taliban fans and apologists in India is a warning sign (opindia.com) (India)
Pakistan, China, and the Taliban will seek to sow chaos in India.

Implications of the Evolving Situation in Afghanistan | ORF (orfonline.org) (India)
China is unlikely to make any big moves in Afghanistan, for fear that a mistake could have repercussions in Xinjiang.

OP-ED: Is ARSA a threat to Bangladesh? | Dhaka Tribune (Bangladesh)
The Rohingya militant group is closely monitored by Bangladeshi security services, turning them into a “toothless tiger”.

ED: We need to stand strong against extremist sentiments | Dhaka Tribune (Bangladesh)
Bangladesh must be extremely careful of the inspiration jihadis might receive from witnessing events in Afghanistan.

Kabul falls. What’s next? | The Daily Star (Bangladesh)
The Taliban still likely has close links with groups like al-Qaeda, so the world must be careful.

 OP-ED: Yet another picture of headless Gods | Dhaka Tribune (Bangladesh)
“[I]nstances of intolerance towards any religion other than Islam (our state religion) has become as common as breathing in Bangladesh.” Watch out for Hefazat-e Islam.

The people of Afghanistan are not fleeing from the Taliban. They are fleeing from Sharia law (theprint.in) (India)
“Islam is inherently anti-women, anti-human-rights, and against the freedom of speech and expression”; fundamentalists in Bangladesh are cheering the Taliban on.

Who’s to blame?

Kabul besieged (kathmandupost.com) (Nepal)
The US and its allies didn’t know what they were doing in Afghanistan.

CIA’s turn to admit to its fiasco – Newspaper – DAWN.COM (Pakistan)
The US was using human rights as an excuse to wreck Afghanistan.

Humility and humanity (tribune.com.pk) (Pakistan)
American politicians and pundits have made fools of themselves, and they still don’t understand that they never knew what was happening on the ground.

Causes of failure within Afghanistan (nation.com.pk) (Pakistan)
The Afghan government was inept.

Chaosistan is here. Who’s to blame? (indiatimes.com) (India)
The Pakistanis conned the US.

Afghanistan is Burning — the UNSC’s Helpless Pleas Won’t Sway the Taliban | OPINION (thequint.com) (India)
The Afghans were betrayed by the Americans.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has Rajapaksas all over. It may import autocratic values from CCP model (theprint.in) (India)
The Rajapaksa dynasty is being seduced by the Chinese model of autocratic development.

Ostracising The Sri Lankan Police: Redeeming Sinhalese Culture From Its Brute Savagery – Colombo Telegraph (Sri Lanka)
China is shielding the Sri Lankan government from answering for war crimes.

Ideological & Class Contradictions In China’s Education Sector – Colombo Telegraph (Sri Lanka)
China is stamping down on the tech and education sectors, the engines of middle class prosperity, which is the basis for Communist legitimacy.

A hit job against a President gone horribly wrong | Sunday Observer (Sri Lanka)
Those who complain about corruption on the part of the Rajapaksas hate how effective they were at ending the civil war.

Ranil does it again: Attacks the Army attacking the enemy | Sunday Observer (Sri Lanka)
Former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is selling Sri Lanka and the military out to the West after the Rajapaksas saved the country.

Nepal

Cyber Intelligence for National Security – myRepublica (Nepal)
In light of the Pegasus spying scandal in India, Nepal needs to beef up its cyber-security to protect itself against India and China.

Build bridges (kathmandupost.com) (Nepal)
Nepalis are angry about the death of a man allegedly at the hands of an Indian border force.

Editorial: The government must clarify its vision for the country – Nepal Live Today Nepal Live Today (Nepal)
The one-month-old government of Prime Minister Deuba is inert and expectations are rapidly falling.

Bhutan

A flood of questions | Kuensel Online (Bhutan)
Agriculture in Bhutan.

A Covid-19 responsibility test? | Kuensel Online (Bhutan)
Despite very high rates of vaccination, lockdowns are likely to be needed for the foreseeable future.

Maldives

Democracy hijacked: JSC edition | Maldives Financial Review (mfr.mv) (Maldives)
The Speaker of parliament, Mohamed Nasheed, has too much power over the judiciary since constitutional reforms were enacted.

Speaker Nasheed, wary of returning after assassination attempt, requests leave extension | SunOnline International (Maldives)
The opposition accepts that Nasheed might best stay in London to recover from the terror attack on him, but the parliament needs a speaker at home.

Bangladesh

The Lie Manufacturing Agency of Pakistan | The Asian Age Online, Bangladesh (dailyasianage.com) (Bangladesh)
Pakistani intelligence is waging a campaign to turn Bangladesh against its ally, India, and to reunite with Pakistan.

Independence Day: Pakistan & Bangladesh |By Tariq Khalil – Pakistan Observer (pakobserver.net) (Pakistan)
Bangladesh can only be safe if it reunites with Pakistan.

Bangabandhu’s Dream & Sheikh Hasina | The Asian Age Online, Bangladesh (dailyasianage.com) (Bangladesh)
India supports Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina working to realize the dream of a Golden Bengal that her father had before he was assassinated 46 years ago this week by allegedly Pakistani sympathizers.

India

Skirmishes between Mizoram and Assam (nation.com.pk) (Pakistan)
The BJP has created a religious fault line in the Indian North East where there were already linguistic, cultural, and ethnic fault lines.

In 2023 Tripura Polls, Trinamool Must Look Beyond Banking On Mamata (thequint.com) (India)
In the North East, the resurgent Trinamool Congress (TMC) is trying to break through the grip of the BJP.

Kashmir: What next ? | By Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai – Pakistan Observer (pakobserver.net) (Pakistan)
|“Kashmir is on the brink of genocide.”

With ‘Partition Horrors Day’, BJP’s Ire At Mamata’s Khela Hobe Divas is Ironic | OPINION (thequint.com) (India)
The BJP is flustered by Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee.

A national grand alliance – Telegraph India (India)
Regional opposition parties need Congress to lead them against the BJP but Congress is lethargic.

Sonia Gandhi writes: Indian democracy needs to be repaired and revitalised (indianexpress.com) (India)
The BJP has turned parliament into a rubber stamp.

For BJP, Caste-Based Census Is A Can Of Worms. Seven Reasons Why | OPINION (thequint.com) (India)
The BJP doesn’t believe in caste, so it doesn’t want to measure it.

Pakistan

The need to retract | By Malik M Ashraf – Pakistan Observer (pakobserver.net) (Pakistan)
The rise of Hindutva in India is proof that Muslims were right to create a separate homeland.

Silencing the media – Newspaper – DAWN.COM (Pakistan)
Media organizations across Pakistan are opposed to the creation of what will be a draconian Pakistan Media Development Authority.

Defending intra-party differences – Newspaper – DAWN.COM (Pakistan)
A long overdue debate is occurring within the opposition PML-N party about whether to challenge the military establishment or coexist with it.

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