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Akash asked: What is the impact of removal of Gen. McChrystal on Af-Pak policy? How does it affect India?

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  • Vishal Chandra replies: The exit of Gen. McChrystal, commander of 100,000 plus US/NATO forces in Afghanistan, is not likely to have any notable impact in the near-term, either on the ground situation in southern and eastern Afghanistan or on the US’ Af-Pak policy, certainly not until the year-end when the US will be reviewing its war strategy. The violence is not likely to abate in the near future. While Western forces have been winning the battles, the Taliban have not been losing the war, adding to the stalemate in Afghanistan.

    One of the biggest challenges before Gen. David Patreaus, who succeeds Gen. McChrystal, will be to break the monotony of the Afghan war. It is also to be seen whether Gen. Patreaus would be able to win the support of Kabul the way Gen. McChrystal did. Today, the US Administration is far more constrained by the differing perceptions among its allies, be it NATO, Islamabad, or Kabul, over the Afghan war; and also by the growing differences within the American establishment.

    As for India, it remains committed to the idea of a strong and an independent Afghan state. Gen. McChrystal’s exit is not going to affect India’s position in the near-term. However, in the last few years, India’s reconstruction projects have been increasingly hampered due to deteriorating security in parts of Afghanistan, which to a great extent is dependent on the way America and NATO conduct war against the Taliban and allies. In times to come, the response of Kabul and Washington to Islamabad’s growing thrust for a greater role in ‘stabilising’ Afghanistan will be critical to India’s position and role in Afghanistan.