Fatah Makkah and fall of Kabul
BEFORE finally, approaching the city of Makkah for its conquest, the Last Prophet (PBUH) said unequivocally “this is the day of mercy”. He categorically instructed his companions to refrain from fighting unless attacked by Quraish.
Whoso entereth the house of Abu Sufyan; chieftain of Quraish tribe, shall be safe. Whoso entereth the Mosque shall be safe. Whoso locketh upon himself his door shall be safe.
In every sense of the word, it was a blanket general amnesty. When Muslim Army entered the city of Makkah, it was as if it was empty. No fight took place except a skirmish in its suburb. There was no anarchy. No house was ransacked.
No harm was caused to anyone. No woman was dishonoured. Undoubtedly, it turned out to be a day of mercy, amity and peace as envisioned and decreed by The Holy Prophet.
The day marked the end of wars between followers of Islam and Quraish tribe and filliped spread of Islam in Arab greatly. Soon whole Arab embraced Islam.
The world stood stunned when it saw Kabul falling in hands of the Afghan Taliban like a ripe fruit from a tree. It was mind boggling for nearly all and sundry. A plethora of reasons are being proffered for its fall.
The mother of all reasons, being cited is the unwillingness of the Afghan Army to fight against Taliban despite it having organizational structure, enough physical strength, state of the art equipment and training. These ingredients of theirs gave them an edge over the Taliban.
It had a modern Air Force which could even lend them a cutting edge when seen in the backdrop that Taliban neither had the Air Force whatsoever nor compatible resources to counter it, even to some effect.
They also had a huge advantage of terrain as a force which was largely to hold the ground. This makes a defender formidable provided he shows heart.
For political analysts, military strategists/planners and decision makers, reluctance of Afghan forces to fight, defied all military logic.
A National Army fights to safeguard ideological and territorial frontiers of the country against all kinds of internal and external threats. They take an oath of it which makes them steel against all odds.
Besides, soldiers also fight for their life and honour/protection of their families/kinship if it does not clash with their supreme responsibility of safeguarding their motherland. In the case of Afghanistan, there was no external aggression.
They were tasked to fight against the Afghan Taliban in favour of a foreign installed government of Ashraf Ghani to serve ends and purposes of foreign occupation forces once they leave Afghanistan.
Besides, it comprised a bunch of corrupt opportunists, totally barren of national spirit/collective good.
Their continuation in power could only prolong their agony of alien occupation and compound their other ordeals.
To the contrary, Afghan Taliban represented a force which fought against foreign occupation forces single-handedly and virtually bare handedly in the face of extreme adversity over a long haul of two decades.
Notwithstanding, their strict rule earlier, under no event, could be construed as an internal threat to the country.
With these glaring aspects, nothing constituted threat of any kind to the country ideologically and territorially rather, protecting Ghani government was tantamount to supporting a foreign cause hence, no motivation existed which could spur Afghan Army to fight.
The will depends on motivation and its absence banishes the will. This is what happened to Afghan forces.
Now coming to another aspect of own survival or self-preservation as highlighted above whereupon, an Army fights. From the beginning, Taliban started offering amnesty to the Afghan Army.
They could walk out with their lives honourably if they surrender. This worked miraculously.
Secondly, when soldiers of the Afghan Army saw no retribution, pillage and oppression by Taliban in areas falling under their control, got further anxious to toss in favour of Taliban to exit honourably and live safely. This just further accelerated the process of no resistance by the Afghan Army.
It was only this aspect which could hold a chance where the Afghan Army could stand with Ghani government for their mutual survival/existence however, offering of amnesty, as an instrument of strategy by the Taliban parted their ways.
US factored everything to draw conclusions about Afghan Army/following situation in Afghanistan when it withdraws however, element of mercy and amnesty to Afghan Army by Taliban could not touch their minds, being foreign to their history of widespread revenge, horror, pillage and rape whenever, they capture an area.
On the other hand, this was the cornerstone of biggest conquest of Muslim history; Fatah Makkah and Taliban made it a main plank of their strategy to take over the country.
So far Taliban has shown great understanding, sense of accommodation and sagacity to deal with complex situation internally and externally. They have kept cool however, the task is barely half done.
The Taliban needs to take it to its logical conclusion. It calls for real reconciliation within which comes from the heart. The cosmetic or half measures may not help to make it climb up the ladder and draw energy.
In Afghanistan, the threat of infighting still looms large for a variety of reasons. Notable ones include tribal propensities to have individualism or attain petty gains. The possibility of allures by its nemeses is another dimension to lit the fires of civil war.
At present, the situation in Panjshir Valley is becoming ominous and may test the imagination, understanding and flexibility of Taliban to the limit.
The Panjshir Valley holds a great symbolic value. It has the potential of a flash point for other areas if a fight erupts there. This would be a dangerous development and needs to be averted urgently and amicably.
— The writer, a retired Lt Col, is a senior columnist based in Islamabad.