Taliban rule in Afghanistan, Security challenges for Nepal

Twenty-two years ago, on December 24, 1999, an Indian Airlines flight carrying 176 passengers from Tribhuvan Airport to Delhi was hijacked by a terrorist group and flown to Kandahar, Afghanistan via Pakistan and Dubai. Kandahar was then under Taliban control. With the help of the Taliban, the militant group took control of the plane and bargained with India to free its leaders imprisoned in India.

With the resurgence of the same Taliban in power in Afghanistan after 20 years, it is estimated that Nepal’s security will be challenged again. Security experts are concerned that the Taliban could disrupt regional security and have an indirect impact on Nepal. He said that there is a risk of black money invested in terrorist activities from Nepal, cyber terrorism and misuse by any group as a sanctuary and transit. The risk is also high because the body to regulate and prevent such organized international activities in Nepal is very weak.

Former head of the National Investigation Department, Deviraj Sharma, says the Taliban’s rise to power in Afghanistan does not pose an immediate threat to Nepal’s security, but could have an impact in the long run. “We don’t see any immediate challenge from the Taliban,” he said. “But, as Afghan politics naturally affects South Asia, we need to step up surveillance at airports and checkpoints.” He suggested that the state should be aware of this. Retired AIG of Nepal Police Bam Bahadur Bhandari says that the arrival of Taliban in Afghanistan and the challenges of countries like Nepal should be viewed from three main angles.

“They are radical Islamists. They can spread their influence not only in the country but also in other places. “It doesn’t matter what kind of relationship they have with groups like IS and Al Qaeda,” said Bhandari, who has also researched terrorist activities while in service. However, cooperating with other groups in the Radical Islamic Movement will have an impact in South Asia. He said that the Taliban’s strategy of expanding its Islamic campaign in other countries could have an impact in Nepal as well.

He also said that the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan could encourage groups seeking to seize state power in Nepal. Bhandari says that even the United States, the Soviet Union and other countries have not been able to control them and this has become a challenge for the world’s military structure. According to sources, the foreign embassies in Nepal have already started discussions with the security officials saying that the security challenge may increase.

Narayan Adhikari, a researcher on counter-terrorism, says there could be activities targeting India in particular. “Illegal economic activities can be increased for terrorist purposes,” he said. “Cyber ​​law is weak in Nepal. Terrorists can operate a communication hub from Nepali soil. Cyber ​​terrorism may increase. ‘He also worries that Nepal could be at risk as there are no laws or mechanisms to regulate Internet activities.

“Recent developments in Afghanistan have increased the threat to national security as a whole. The state should spare no effort to strengthen the security situation in Velai, ‘the official said. It is necessary to strengthen the body that looks after terrorism in the security forces.

A senior security official of the Nepal Police said that the challenge would increase as terrorist activities could take place even under the cover of religion. It is already being monitored by the Special Bureau of Police. Police officials say security at the airport and at the border needs to be strengthened. Those who use fake passports are still unrecognized by immigration. At a time when regional terrorist activities are on the rise, security experts have repeatedly raised the possibility of abusing Nepal’s airports. Police officials say that Nepal should be vigilant in the past as some international Islamic terrorist groups have used Nepal as a haven. A few days ago, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said that the resurgence of the Taliban has posed a major security challenge to India.

Risk of increasing refugees

Citizens of Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries come to Nepal and leave their passports and stay here as refugees. There is even a tendency to go to third countries as refugees by contacting the office of the High Commissioner for Refugees. As soon as the Taliban invaded Afghanistan, people started fleeing the country and it is estimated that the impact could reach Nepal.

Similarly, there are those who become refugees by throwing away their passports after coming to Nepal on tourist visas. Officials of the Immigration Department say that some of them were brought to Nepal by international gangs involved in human trafficking by making fake passports.”Even Rohingyas have arrived from Burma. It cannot be said that they will not come here as refugees from Afghanistan,” said Deviraj Sharma, former head of the National Investigation Department. Narayan Adhikari, a security expert, says that there is a risk of entering Nepal through India due to the open border with India. “Especially with the open border with India, the refugee problem is likely to increase,” he said.

No law on terrorism

Security officials have said that Nepal is always at risk of terrorist activities due to its open border with India. However, no law has been enacted in this regard so far. Security expert Narayan Adhikari says, “The absence of a law on terrorism in the country shows how irresponsible the state is in terms of security.” Even the National Security Council, which plans to analyze national security, is always neglected. The meeting of the council chaired by the Prime Minister is held every year. The Secretariat of the Security Council has also become an office for thanking inaccessible security officials.

US pressure to keep Pace software

There has been lobbying to keep the US-made PIES software in Nepal to regulate the movement of people involved in terrorism and crime. Although there was an agreement for this when Sher Bahadur Deuba was the previous Prime Minister, it was stopped after the return of the government. Sources say that initiatives have been started for that even now.

According to a Home Ministry source, the US Embassy in Kathmandu has been proposing to provide the necessary hardware after the software connection. However, immigration officials have not shown interest in questioning the confidentiality of important immigration data. The software, developed by the United States, contains details of individuals involved in terrorism-related activities. Immigration has been using software with details of people on Interpol’s wanted list.

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