From 2009 onwards, the Pakistani Army’s hunt for the TTP led its members to seek refuge in Afghanistan. Some of them were arrested by the authorities in Kabul. The Taliban began to release them and many Pakistanis now fear the attacks that bloodied the Pashtun Belt, but also Lahore, Karachi and even Islamabad at the turn of the 2010s, will resume. The return of this kind of violence would signal Pakistan's weak influence over the Taliban. However, a lack of attacks could also indicate a certain evolution in the political line of the new regime in Kabul - according to whom striking outside Afghanistan's borders is too costly strategically, a lesson learned from the aftermath of 9/11.
Beyond the regional arena of the India/Pakistan/Afghanistan triangle and the "proxy war" that Indians and Pakistanis have been waging in Afghanistan for at least half a century, the return of the Taliban could affect other global balances. The relationship between India and the United States could be altered by this new situation. On the one hand, the Indians criticize the Americans for having exposed them to a new Islamist threat by leaving Afghanistan in such a hurry. On the other hand, the Americans do not react very well to this kind of criticism and are worried about the limited military involvement that New Delhi is prepared to contribute in its own region, especially since they have made India one of their strategic pillars in the Indo-Pacific. However, these temporary tensions should not call into question India's growing ties with the West. In fact this process is likely to accelerate as the Taliban are increasingly finding support, not only in Pakistan, but also in China. Nevertheless, India should rest assured in its quest to diversify its Western partnerships - this is an opportunity for Europeans, and for the French in particular, who, over the past decade, already appeared more reliable in many respects than the United States under Donald Trump.
Moreover, an alternate coalition including China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan seems to be solidifying. Pakistan, which for decades offered a point of support to the Americans in their fight against communism and then Islamism, has probably taken a decisive step in distancing itself from the West. Prime Minister Imran Khan’s reaction to the Taliban's victory are a a tell tale sign - did he not rejoice to see Afghanistan "breaking chains of slavery"? It remains to be seen whether Moscow will continue its rapprochement with Islamabad. Such a development could make South Asia a tinderbox in which two new antagonistic blocs might be most salient, and where, as a result, the ingredients of a new Cold War could gather against the backdrop of "Belt and Road Initiative vs. Indo-Pacific".
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