New Delhi, Oct 2: The faulty poppy eradication programme has inadvertently ceded the control of Afghanistan to the Taliban, with poppy production showing no signs of declining, says a new book on the trouble-torn country's quest for stability.
In "Quest for a Stable Afghanistan: A View from Ground Zero", author Sujeet Sarkar says that the haggard and faulty policies of the West have put the country on the brink of a deeper and increasingly worrisome crisis.
It analyses the Afghan war and focuses on the future that lies ahead of Afghanistan.
The author says that the poppy remains the axis of evil and continues to poison Afghanistan.
"Poppy production has an inescapable link with the rise of terrorism, with the Taliban reportedly making anything between USD 220 million and USD 250 million per year from the extended value chain of poppy within Afghanistan," he writes in the book, published by Rupa.
"With the help of this money, the militant organization continues to fill its coffers and fund its overt aggression through fresh recruits of fighters and procurement of the latest range of military equipment," he adds.
According to Sarkar, the poppy money lubricated the entire Taliban machinery with a regular and adequate flow of resources and gave the group an extended motivation to fight for the overthrow of the US-supported government in Kabul.
He says there is no solution to fix the problems of Afghanistan unless poppy production is stopped.
"The persistence of both opium cultivation and the Taliban insurgency suggest that the policies imposed on Afghanistan by Washington since 2001 have reached a dead end. In fact, the failure of the US strategy has planted the seeds, quite literally, for the Taliban's strong revival," he writes.
The author is apprehensive about the fact that a "pro-Pakistani and weak Afghan state would enable Islamabad to establish a rear base to train Islamist militants beyond the Taliban, such as Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba, for strengthening the supply line for jihad in Jammu, Kashmir and elsewhere in India".
He claims that "after Kashmir, India and Pakistan have locked horns in a proxy battle in Kabul. Both countries are competing with each other to exercise influence over Afghanistan to gain more strategic leverage and prominence in the region".
He says that Pakistan's rivalry with India and its ulterior motive had to aggressively show up in Afghanistan.
"The Taliban and the Haqqani network were employed in full force to attack Indian interests and targets in Afghanistan. As India's profile grew in Afghanistan, the ISI, intent on ridding Afghanistan of Indian involvement, also upped the ante in an attempt to rupture burgeoning India-Afghanistan relations," he writes.
Sarkar is also of the opinion that the "much-hyped" state-building process too did not produce much to rejoice about.
"Months of political bickering and simmering tension took away the impetus that was required to put to work the peace deal engineered by the US," he says.
Sarkar writes that former US president Donald Trump was "desperate to exit Afghanistan and looked towards Pakistan to help him out, after blaming Islamabad squarely for aiding and abetting terrorism in Afghanistan through its covert support to the Taliban".
This "180-degree turnaround depicts the US limitation-cum-anticipated defeat in Afghanistan", he argues.