If the United States effectively uses its considerable residual leverage in Afghanistan, Pakistan does not try and turn Afghanistan into a weak protectorate, and the Taliban does not overreach inside Afghanistan, there is reason for optimism.
Unlike his predecessors, who asked India to downsize its presence in Afghanistan in order to placate Pakistan, U.S. President Trump is asking India to do more.
While the outrage against outsourcing the Afghan war is real, the tragic reality is that the growing role of private armies is very much part of the modern hybrid wars.
It is the nature of the negotiation between the United States and Pakistan—the most important external players in the Afghan conflict—that will determine the outcome.
While the hopes for a durable peace might be premature, the conflicts in Kashmir and Afghanistan might be entering a new phase in their long and depressing history.
As Washington, Rawalpindi, Kabul, and the Taliban recalibrate their positions, Afghanistan is entering a very fragile moment.
Two recent developments point to the new directions in which the north-western Subcontinent could evolve.
In the face of unexpected and significant pressure from the United States to deliver some top militants of the Taliban and the Haqqani Network, the generals in Rawalpindi are locked in a serious debate.
Russia’s growing defense cooperation with Pakistan and contacts with the Taliban are a matter of concern for India.
India should focus on shaping the outcomes of the U.S.-Pakistan negotiations, since those talks will not only influence the situation in Afghanistan but could also have significant implications for the subcontinent as a whole.