A word of advice to everyone | By Zaheer Bhatti


A word of advice to everyone

KHALIL Haqqani, one of the senior Taliban leaders in saying that, “War was imposed on the Afghans from abroad and those who created divisions among Afghan brothers no longer exist in Afghanistan now,” reflects the ethos of the Afghan Nation, which is very meaningful.

This is further corroborated by the fact that even though after retaking and encircling the North ostensibly controlled by the Ahmad Masud’s rag tag force, the Taliban could run through Panjshir but were not doing so to avoid bloodshed of its own people, who had bled enough in the 42 years of war imposed upon the country by foreigners since 1979.

The Afghan Taliban will need to beware of spoilers and translate their words of reformation into reality and prove their detractors wrong about distortion against them of being decadent, archaic and unbending; obviously without compromising on Islamic principles.

Going by the square response from prominent Afghan Taliban leader Shahabuddin Dilwar over Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s not so veiled remark casting doubts over Afghan Taliban’s sustainability, it is satisfying to note that the Afghan Taliban are not only mindful and aware of the spoilers but also confident.

Responding to the Indian PM saying, “… the destroying powers building an empire on the basis of terror may dominate for some time, but its existence is never permanent as it cannot suppress humanity for a long time”, Dilwar responded by saying that India will soon know that the Taliban can run the country’s affairs smoothly.

A tail piece to this is the fact that Modi in making these remarks, was subconsciously mirroring his own Government’s extremist Hindutva rule in India and its coercive conduct in Occupied Kashmir; having lost its cool over losing space in Afghanistan siding with the puppet Government of first Karzai and later Ashraf Ghani against the Taliban, not just to please its new-found strategic ally but launching terror attacks through mercenaries against Pakistan and Chinese CPEC venture in a bid to keeping the region destabilized.

Indian leadership and the Press alike were finding any kind word out of the Afghan Taliban for Pakistan hard to swallow; including a recent statement by Afghan Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen warning TTP against any future attacks on Pakistan which they considered their second home.

Equally reassuring is Afghan Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid’s reiteration that if the TTP accepted the Head of Taliban as its leader, it will have to obey his verdict that Afghan soil will not be allowed to be used against any other country.

The Indians have made noise over the Taliban terming Pakistan its second home on purpose, to establish the long-blared nexus between the Afghan Taliban and Pakistan; conveniently forgetting that Pakistan for the last over 40 years, had been and still was host, officially to over 3.5 million Afghan refugees as a consequence of the Soviet as well as Allied invasions of Afghanistan, who in the last 4 decades had as if by binary fission multiplied to around 7 million by now.

The Afghan Taliban knowing it all, were only expressing their gratitude over the unparalleled Pakistani hospitality and sacrifice recognized all over the world; ironically including Indians in general.

Although it is the stated policy of Pakistan that formation of a representative Government in Afghanistan was absolutely an internal matter for the Afghan people, it does not need reiteration that the Taliban would beware and make distinction between those who spat venom against them and their well-wishers and served the occupation forces, as against those who, despite having differences with them, were for national solidarity against external enemies who were camouflaged in the cloak of well-wishers.

Referring to the explosions at Kabul Airport; named after Hamid Karzai the US stooge for the first decade of Allied occupation, one reckons that the US was squarely responsible for the pandemonium caused and the resulting chaos ending up in blasts and loss of precious lives, which could have been averted.

The US despite securing a three-month extension over its promised evacuation deadline from the Taliban who allowed it for the sake of peaceful transition, committed the cardinal mistake; unless on purpose, of not chalking out an orderly evacuation plan which could have been ironed out between them and the Taliban to ensure that the spoilers and mercenary outfits like Daesh were given no room to play.

Secondly, when the Afghan Taliban had announced general amnesty for all including those in the opposite camp, called them back to work and held out job assurance, committing female rights and education within the Islamic framework, had the US intentions been honest they and their allies instead of instilling fear in them or instigating them to leave, ought to have seized the opportunity and worked to reassure their loyalists and urged them to avail the clemency and not to quit their homeland.

The United States preferring India over Pakistan would be understandable had it been in terms of its business stakes, but abandoning Pakistan because it refused to part ways with China, was unfair to say the least.

Pakistan so far has played its diplomatic cards with caution and embarked upon a consensus campaign particularly with regional stakeholders bordering the troubled land.

It is at the same time ensuring its global outreach not ignoring the United States; hoping it would abandon its unjust discrimination of Pakistan which had served its interests so many times in the past but unfortunately remained on the receiving end.

Pakistan’s outspoken Prime Minister with all his failings on the domestic scene, in saying ‘Absolutely Not’ has vowed not to play the sucker ever again for anybody with a worldwide message that Pakistan will henceforth be a partner in peace not war.

It was time for everyone to extend the olive branch to each other and chart out a regional platform for economic cooperation and assistance, rather than become part of warring camps portending death and destruction and no gains.

—The writer is a media professional, member of Pioneering team of PTV and a veteran ex Director Programmes.

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