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Theatre of World War III

World War III is already on and it is not a conventional one. It is an economic and biological warfare and very intellectually driven. Author Hiranmay Karlekar elaborated this theory at the launch of his book, Endgame in Afghanistan — For Whom The Dice Rolls, at Oxford Bookstore on December 10.

Brought out by Sage Publications, the book elaborates on contemporary developments in Afghanistan and how complex terror organisations actually are. So even if one Bin Laden is removed from the scene, it does not really affect the network.

“The endgame has begun. This is the beginning of the end,” said Karlekar, who is also a senior journalist. The launch was followed by a panel discussion involving academicians Hari Vasudevan and Premen Addy and journalist Manash Ghosh. Rudrangshu Mukherjee of The Telegraph anchored the proceedings.

According to Addy, who was associated with Kellogg College, Oxford University, Afghanistan has always been the battleground of strategic wars among external powers. The Soviet invasion on Boxing Day in 1979 gave a different dimension to the crisis.

Karlekar could not agree more. “The Soviet invasion was indeed a landmark that changed the history of the nation. America felt it was their time to give Russia their Vietnam,” said the author.

He went on to elaborate how the US gained the upper hand over the USSR in 1986 by arming the Afghan Mujahideen with Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and thus Afghanistan became a hotbed of political manoeuvrings and power games.

The speakers discussed how al Qaida and other terror outfits have spread their wings to African nations like Nigeria and Mali and are growing unchecked.

“We live because we look forward to a future. But the Mujahideen do not want to live. They want to die as they feel a greater life and reward is waiting for them post death. So here we are dealing with this kind of a dangerous mindset,” added the author.

Ghosh also highlighted how even Bangladesh is very much a part of Taliban’s scheme of things. “If Sheikh Hasina loses the elections in 2014, Bangladesh will be a hub for Taliban takeover of Afghanistan,” Ghosh said. This possibility has also been mentioned in the book.

Discussion also veered towards how non-Islam states maintain intelligence co-operation, like India and Israel. And as for Afghanistan, the power game started with Alexander the Great, Akbar revived it, the British continued it and the US is still at it. “Afghanistan is waiting for America to leave and then all hell will break lose,” added Karlekar.