NEW DELHI: The next two to three months will be crucial for Afghanistan's future and India has been pushing for a political solution that could be in the form of a broad-based, power-sharing agreement with the continuation of the current system of governance, people familiar with the developments said on Monday.
As the Taliban continues its offensive, Pakistan has been keeping open its supply lines as well as tactical and logistics support to the outfit and is even allowing treatment of injured Taliban fighters in Pakistani medical facilities, they said.
According to the assessment by India and several other countries, the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are capable of defending the country but they need international support to deal with the Taliban offensive.
India has been supporting the current government headed by President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul and helping it "in whatever way we can", the people cited above said.
Afghanistan has been witnessing a series of terror attacks and large-scale violence by the Taliban as it looks at expanding territorial control after the US started withdrawing its forces on May 1.
With the US withdrawing majority of its forces, the Taliban has made rapid gains taking control of several border crossings and rural areas, triggering mounting global concerns resulting in hectic parleys among leading players like Russia, India, the US and Iran.
The best-case scenario, according to India's assessment, would be a power-sharing pact and in the absence of such an agreement or understanding, there is a possibility of Afghanistan plunging into a civil war, the people cited above said.
"If there is no power-sharing deal, then there is a possibility of Afghanistan plunging into a civil war," said one of the persons cited above.
The people said the Taliban, gaining from its experience of 1996, would not want to capture power militarily as it will deny them international recognition and legitimacy.
The Taliban has not attempted to capture urban centres, cities and towns as such a military takeover may come in the way of the outfit gaining international legitimacy, they said.
The Taliban had captured power in Afghanistan in 1995 overthrowing the regime of then President Burhanuddin Rabbani.
However, it was not recognised by the international community.
A US-led military coalition evicted the Taliban regime from power in 2001.
"Not all countries are on the same page (on a solution to the Afghan problem) but all of them are worried about the possibility of a military takeover by the Taliban and overall security scenario. They do not want chaos," the person said.
On India's engagement in Afghanistan, the people said it is in touch with all the stakeholders, adding the Taliban is not a monolithic organisation and that it has so many factions and some of them have a different approach to the whole situation.
They said India supports a political solution that could be a broad-based, power-sharing agreement with the continuation of the current system of governance based on the Afghan constitution.
According to India's assessment, the security situation deteriorated following the drawdown of the US forces and subsequent focus by the Taliban on capturing as many areas as possible in rural Afghanistan.
The people said the Taliban may possibly be waiting for the drawdown to be completed for launching the next phase of the offensive.
The US plans to complete the troops' withdrawal by August 31.
"We expect a change of strategy by the Taliban after August when the withdrawal of troops will be completed," said one of the persons cited above, adding that capturing the urban areas will not be easy for the outfit.
The people said though the Taliban claimed to control 80 per cent of areas in Afghanistan, India's assessment is that it is in the range of 45 to 50 per cent.
Even if the Taliban comes to power, it will not be easy for it to control the whole of Afghanistan, they said.
They said the Afghan security forces are reorienting their strategy and majorly focusing on 8 to 10 key cities.
The people said the Doha peace process is running very slow and the Taliban is buying time to strengthen its territorial control.
As the situation deteriorated in Afghanistan in the last few weeks, India has been in touch with leading international players as well as the Afghan government on the overall developments in the country.
India has been a major stakeholder in the peace and stability of Afghanistan.
It has already invested nearly USD three billion in aid and reconstruction activities in the country.
India has been supporting a national peace and reconciliation process which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.