Realpolitik drives engagement between India and Taliban

When the death of Ayman al-Zawahiri was announced last week, the government of India, a country singled out as a target by the al-Qaeda leader, remained quiet.

Many analysts read the fact that he was able to base himself in the Afghan capital as the Taliban’s failure to keep its promise that the group had cut ties with extremist groups threatening other countries. Theories swirled that Pakistan had given up his location to the Americans in a great betrayal.

Either way, Zawahiri’s death on a Kabul balcony from a US drone strike was an awkward moment for India because it highlighted what was once considered unthinkable – New Delhi’s attempts to build ties with the Taliban.

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