I came across a ‘WhatsApp’ clip where Ajit Doval, NSA is addressing the US-India Political Action Committee (Voice of Indian Americans). In his usual vehemence borne out of hubris and nurtured over years of briefing VIPs who have little knowledge on the subject; says that irrespective of political dispensation the 325,000 Afghan National Army and Police will deliver and remain a disciplined force and uphold the constitution and democratic values of the Afghan state.
Pray; please tell me; when was Afghanistan ever was a democracy by its own choice, since its remote antiquity? Never mind the answer: He further states that he had discussed with 15-20 Lt Gens of Pakistan Security Forces in the past 12 months and not one of them had subscribed to his views. They had opined that there is a mismatch between the Officers and cadre and once the ethnic loyalties come up, the army would not remain as such; as it takes considerable time to build a ‘National Army’ and it cannot happen overnight.
Then he derives juvenile pleasure in saying that he does not believe them as he does not believe any Pakistanis. Indeed, it must have been very pleasing to the ears of the Indian American Community? However, those 15-20 Lt Generals of Pakistan must be having their last laugh? They gave their frank opinions and he should have taken them with all seriousness instead of dismissing them based on his ill-founded assumption.
Now, that we have been told that the WhatsApp clip is old and has been quoted out of context. Possible; it is an old clip but the fact remains that Ajit Doval was still wrong and the Pakistani Generals were right and clairvoyant on Afghanistan.
Now let us see; what are the views of the CDS on the matter? Speaking at the interactive session on 25 Aug 2021 with the visiting US Indo-Pacific Command Chief, he says “we were anticipating a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan”; however, he adds that the timelines were surprising as he had expected it would be a couple of months down the line.
He was frank enough to admit that he was wrong in the timelines. Now, what was our R&AW doing? What was the NTRO doing about it? What was our Defence Intelligence doing? What was our Ambassador in Afghanistan and his staff were doing about it? Have we outsourced our intelligence to the US where their President was shell-shocked by the Taliban takeover?
Why were our intelligence agencies not knowing the plans of the Taliban? If we had put all our eggs in ‘Ghani Basket’; we should have at the least known as to when he was fleeing the country? Why did we not know that the Ghani Regime will tell their armed forces not to resist? Have we been fooled that we are left hanging by tenuous strings in the uncertainties in Afghanistan?
Are we as a Nation, doomed to retell stories of our intelligence failure in the aftermath of each war? Soon after independence, we were surprised by the Pakistani Attack in J&K in Oct 1947, then it was Mullick of the IB put Nehru in deep slumber in 1962. The intelligence failure of Kargil is too vivid to be recounted. Again, in April/May 2020 there was an intelligence failure in Ladakh. Now we have done a wrong assessment in Afghanistan? Will any heads roll in the Intelligence Community?
In the recently convened Cabinet Committee on Security, in the aftermath of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan; the CDS and the three Chiefs were not invited. Who among the invitees advised the committee on the emerging geo-strategic environment and its security implications, is a matter of judgment? The Nehruvian Era of not trusting the Services remains to this day! God Save our Country!
About the Author
Lt Gen. PG Kamath is a highly distinguished general who has held some of the most prestigious appointments in the Indian Army.
(Views expressed are purely the authors own and do not reflect the editorial policy of 'Mission Victory India')
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