Afghan Journal

Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics

An Indian in Kabul

June 8, 2010
(Outside the Indian embassy in Kabul after a blast in October 2009.REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

(Outside the Indian embassy in Kabul after a blast in October 2009. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood)

India and Pakistan are both competing for influence in Afghanistan in a modern-day version of the Great Game that has complicated the search for a settlement, but on the streets of Kabul the Indians still seem to evoke greater goodwill.

Three times I have been asked at police checkpoints at darkened intersections and in offices, whether I was a Pakistani and when I said I was an Indian, they would respond : “everyone here says that, show me your passport.”

The subtext is clear : if you are a Pakistani, the red flag goes up at the back of the mind, there are more questions asked. And if you are an Indian, you tend to get away more easily; there is even friendly banter over the wildly popular Bollywood films and the starlets in them.

At times it has become so bad, that some Pakistanis have pretended to be Indians just to get over the endless security hassles, one Afghan police officer who checked me at an investment promotion office said. For a Pakistani to pretend to be an Indian mustn’t be easy given the blood rivalry between the two nations.

The thing is war-weary Afghans routinely hold Pakistan responsible for a large part of their problems, accusing the neighbour of interference, giving sanctuary to militants and generally treating them as a lesser people.

Some of it is obviously extreme, and perhaps a bit ungracious given that Pakistan hosted the largest number of Afghan refugees throughout the war years. In fact it virtually opened the door for them when the Soviet tanks rumbled in and then offered its territory as a staging ground to fight the occupation, although not all of it was out of altruistic reasons.

Even today, Pakistan as its largest neighbour is the first port of call for ordinary Afghans looking for medical treatment, education for kids and business.

But try as hard as it can, the Pakistani involvement in Afghanistan is viewed with distrust. Islamabad has in recent years sought to change the perception by stepping up assistance,  but ties remain difficult.

India by contrast has sought to project soft power through its films, soap operas and scholarships for students combined with greater economic clout, spending about $1.2 billion on building highways, power lines and even a parliament building.

Some people, though, are starting to get tired of games played by regional players. Afghan tribal elders and notables gathered at a peace jirga last week said the neighbours must stop meddling in the country’s internal affairs, a reference clearly to not just India and Pakistan but perhaps also Iran and Russia. One delegate also called for an end to beaming of Indian TV programmes saying these were not appropriate for Afghanistan.


While India got away being a ‘distant observer” during osted the ruthless soveit invasion and occupation of afghanistan,Pakistan bore the brunt of that long brutal war.

It hosted over 5 millioj afghan refugees,opened it territory to ‘afghan resistence’ and was targeted itself for its support to afghans at the time of their need.

Why this anumosity still exisits s many reasons.

Internal ethnic rivalries,war lords,durand Line.Corruption,”winner takes all” rivary amongst differant ethnic groups.

India Pakistan rivalry in aghanistan.

The space is not enough to get into the details of the issues and much has been written and discussed.

The solution lies on the resolution of the following.

Clean Goverment and governance.

Rights and security guarantee to afghan minorities.

Afghan leaders taking ownership of their issues and stop
the blame game against their neighbours .

Agreement on the finality of the border between afghanistan and pakistan

Resolution of the kashmir dispute will bring more stability and peace in the whole region.

Withdrawl off all occu[pation forces from the country.

Posted by abrar | Report as abusive

I will make it more simpler. Every country and people should mind their own business. The Chinese can do this, why ca’nt others?
Have a nice day!

Posted by rex minor | Report as abusive

Basically the Indians are seducing the Afghanis and to some extent Pakistanis, with it’s Bollywood movies, fashion, idiology, while the Afghans are a ‘Thankless’ people, for ignoring and having forgotten the years of brotherly affection shown by Pakistan during the Mujahideen War against the oppressive USSR. Currently the WEST is interfering. They don’t understand the terrian, the people, the culture, and have forgotten why they are there. Pakistan and Afghanistan will end up in the middle-ages, unless a miracle happens.GOD HELP US !

Posted by Amir | Report as abusive

lets play a game….

“Where are most of the worlds terrorists hiding??”

Pakistan Pakistan! :P

Posted by khan | Report as abusive

Amir Amir,

lets speak frankly. its time to raise up from illusions.

‘Pak’s brotherly love made it support the Mujahideen war and then later the Taliban (which kept Afghanistan in the middle ages till now)’ Thats what you are saying ? Grow up.. No country considers other brother , at least not Pak.

Pak kept taliban as its secret weapon to use against India sometime. Thats the real thing. Pak used the afghanis in the name of brotherhood. Deprived them of development,civilization and human rights by accepting the Taliban as a legitimate government and supporting it.

As, for the mujahideen war, well I dont believe Pak ever had the insight to really sense the dangers of communism in their doorstep. Na, Pak cannot sense any danger at all, ofcourse other than the ones from the ‘ruthless and glutonous’ Indians who have always attacked the pious Pak army.

grow up kid. The reason for Pak’s supoprt to ISI , was that ISI wanted to sleep with the CIA and deliver the byproducts called the LeT And JuD

Posted by grey_on_all | Report as abusive


Who is the biggest terrorist country…. killing, raping and looting kashmiries…. Its india inida llllooolllzzz

Posted by Khan | Report as abusive

Good Man carry on fighting with each other only and lets other take advantage. Before jumping to any conclusion, read and understand history of our land ie The Full Indus land (as you dont like the word Indian lets say it Indus/Sindu whatever) from an independent source, and then analyse what we are doing?

You said India is killing in Kashmir etc, essentially you do not know the complete story of Kashmir from the very early days. Bro please read and understand that.

What Paki politicians have achieved by their deflamatory politics? The whole region has become unstable just for Pakistani madness for Kashmir.

Try to imagine an Indian subcontinent without any pak based terror organisations, which are now eating them everyone. We could have much more better lives. Perhaps at par with Westerners.

Always Remember “Boya Beez babul ka Aaam kaha se milega”.

Posted by Chandan Kumar | Report as abusive

Chandan bhai,
Appreciate your wording though used negatively with sole purpose to twist the facts. When it comes to Kashmir you starting about full indus land, While in the same full indus land people can’t digest each other’s religious and social affiliations.
I wonder that you consider “kashmir” a madness of Pakistani politicians. You forgot the UN resolution about the “right of self determination”? Now dont come up with your pious intentions. If there would have no violoations of international laws, there would have no freedom fighters, and the subcontinent could have high standard living.

Posted by Khan | Report as abusive

You have failed to mention the Biggest meddlers of all. The ones who created this problem in the first place. The Anglo Saxons (England, America etc.) They are called Perfidious Albion by their own greatest writers, for a reason.

Posted by Bharat Dharm | Report as abusive

Who is talking for kashmiris? Pak?
Can anyone tell me, Why Pak has given aksai-chin to China?
First Separation was initiated from Pak. Now, they want another separation?

Gandhi and Ginna will cry together in heaven/hell for their mistake of separation.

Posted by Jay | Report as abusive

@ Jay
Good question? How many Pakistani citizens are living in Aksai Chin? We are in the 21st century, civilised Govts. look after the welfare of people and not acting as the custodian of the territories. Even the British Govt. is prepared for separation of scotland from the British Isles.
Rex Minor

Posted by Rex Minor | Report as abusive

stop this nonesense !! Neighbors know India .

Posted by pakistani | Report as abusive

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