Mr. Timothy Foxley speaking during EFSAS Side-event at the 40th Session of UNHRC
Mr. Timothy Foxley, an independent political and military researcher, former Senior Analyst for the British Ministry of Defence, the Swedish Ministry of Defence and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute discussed in-depth the future of the Taliban after the US troops withdrawal and the stemming implications for the stability of South Asia. Mr. Foxley explained how the nature of the US departure in 2014 has created an upsurge in fighting while the Taliban continues to benefit from safe havens in Pakistan. He added that while the US is impatient to withdraw, such withdrawal should be done coherently and with a long-term support strategy. Mr. Foxley underlined the fact that there have been numerous talks on the subject, yet they seem to be discussing a narrow slice of the pie: US withdrawal in exchange for the Taliban’s rejection of Al Qaeda and ISIS in the area, while the reality remains much more peculiar. What happens in Afghanistan has a wider impact on the region; with or without the US, neighbouring countries see opportunities for military, political and economic gain. For example, Pakistan sees Afghanistan as an opportunity to thwart the activities of the other, while its relationship with the Taliban remains complicated, yet Pakistan will continue backing the Taliban as a means to shape Afghanistan into an ally and confront what they see as India’s expansionism. Mr. Foxley’s major concern remained the risk of thousands of experienced fighters suddenly being unemployed and seeking to join other terrorist factions, moving east into (Indian Administered) Jammu & Kashmir, west into the Middle East and north into Central Asia. While expressing his pessimism about the future, he underlined that the prospects appear negative for Jammu & Kashmir as the region will have to brace itself for increased terrorists activities once the Taliban will find itself unemployed in Afghanistan.
Mr. Timothy Foxley speaking during EFSAS Side-event at the 40th Session of the UNHRC