Afghanistan — hopes and fears | By Ali Sukhanver

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Afghanistan — hopes and fears


PEOPLE of Afghanistan have doubts and suspicions regarding withdrawal of US’ forces from their country and similar are the apprehensions of the analysts who are keeping a vigilant eye on the situation in Afghanistan.

Last April the Los Angeles Times published an article of Colin Clarke in which the writer pointed towards the expected horrible situation of law and order leading to political-upheaval and social anarchy in case the US troops say farewell to the Afghan lands.

The writer said, “Once the US withdraws from Afghanistan, the Taliban is likely to take control of large swaths of the country by force.

This will lead to renewed repression of the Afghan population, with the Taliban reverting to draconian Islamic rule in the areas it controls.

But given the Taliban’s long-standing ties to Al Qaeda, Afghanistan will also once again become a country where transnational terrorist organizations can organize as they plot to strike the West.”

Colin Clarke further said, “The US is withdrawing from Afghanistan not because conditions on the ground are conducive to peace and stability but because the war is unpopular domestically — and because Biden believes that the conflict with the Taliban is ultimately unwinnable.”

It is just the second week of May and things are getting worse and worse in Afghanistan; all the apprehensions are coming true. Afghanistan is once again playing in the hands of different warlords.

A decades old civil-war is expected to reach new heights. Every common man is surrounded by countless fears and apprehensions.

A 60 year-old man Mohammed Harun said, talking to a journalist a few weeks back that he was hopeful that the talks in Doha would pave the way for peace in Afghanistan but it all ended in smoke.

He said that the government has no control over the situation and there has been no improvement in government services over the last two decades.

Harun lives in the village Kandarar which is at a distance of 90 miles from Kabul. He complained, “Even though the village is near the province’s main highway, villagers neither have electricity nor paved roads; access to clean water comes by one pump, shared by the whole village.”

Harun believes that the government and the Taliban might sign a deal somewhere in the near future and it is the only way to keep the country from drifting into civil war and keep the army from disintegrating.

When asked about the expected withdrawal of the US forces from Afghanistan, he said, “We want the Americans to leave, but not like this. They need to take responsibility and clean up the mess they created.

We need the guarantee from them that the Taliban regime won’t repeat itself. A premature U.S. withdrawal could result in more violence and chaos.”

Though the people of Afghanistan are hopeful that by the end of this summer the ongoing process of withdrawal of the US and NATO troops would reach its completion but they have their own fears and apprehensions too; the fear of helplessness, the fright of being at the mercy of those whom even US like super-power could not defeat and certainly the horror of ‘non-state actors’ too.

Reports say that still there are about 2,500 to 3,500 US troops and about 7,000 NATO soldiers in Afghanistan.

By the return of these remaining troops America’s twenty-years long war in Afghanistan would reach its end.

If things keep on moving ahead as scheduled, in the coming winters, there would be no American or NATO soldier in Afghanistan and in other words the ‘non-state’ miscreants would get a free hand to do whatever they like.

The Afghan government is already in a very weak position having no roots among the people and having no control and no command over the situation.

In such a scenario, people would have no other option but to see towards the Taliban who have their deep roots among the people.

Certainly the supremacy of Taliban would never be acceptable to India because the Taliban have always shown a pro-Pakistan approach.

To counter the Taliban supremacy, India is sure to provide support and supervision to the groups which are neither with the Afghan government nor with the Taliban and nor with the US or American troops.

In short, Afghanistan would remain a battle-field for different warriors in the days to come.

In the last two weeks terrorist activities in Kabul reflect a glimpse of the coming days in Afghanistan. These activities include a suicide-attack on a girls’ school and a bomb blast in a mosque; both in Kabul taking more than 70 lives and leaving more than hundred injured.

In another incident on the 5th of May Pakistan’s four soldiers belonging to the Frontier Corps were martyred while six others were injured after terrorists from Afghanistan side attacked them during a fencing activity at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The incident took place in the Manzakai sector in Zhob area of Baluchistan.

Things would become more painful after the complete departure of the US and NATO forces. President Joe Biden must look into the state of affairs and must do all required to save the people of Afghanistan from another never-ending civil war

It is also a very popular impression that people of Afghanistan are afraid of Taliban and they wish that US must not leave the country.

Does the US really want to say farewell to Afghanistan; this question in itself is also very important because some people are linking the recent terrorist activities in Afghanistan to the unwilling withdrawal of the US and NATO troops from the country.

—The writer is freelance columnist based in Multan.