Is outright demand of inclusive Afghan govt fair?
THE demand of an inclusive Afghan government is being chanted and pursued by the US and its allies as a diktat born of some international treaty as of Treaty of Versailles, signed between victorious world powers and defeated Germany after World War-1.
It was an instrument in hubris to heap humiliation on Germany under its notoriously known clause “war guilt clause” with a set of harsh penalties to deter its insane behaviour in future.
Amazingly, other countries have also joined the chorus for reasons best known to them. In Afghanistan, the situation is entirely opposite. The Afghan Taliban are the victorious and the US and its allies are the losers.
Doha Afghan peace agreement was at best an agreement between two equals albeit reality defy this liberal statement because the US had the watch to withdraw from Afghanistan whereas, Afghan Taliban, determined as ever, had the time to humiliate US for committing aggression against their homeland which ultimately, they did by capturing Kabul in a swift sweep while US was still in Kabul and it had to run from pillar to post to complete its withdrawal by the deadline.
The US had the plan to push Afghanistan into civil war.
It assumed that its puppet Afghan government with Afghan security forces in lockstep would hold themselves for at least six months and it was considered enough time to achieve its mischief but to its chagrin, they melted all of sudden as something evaporates in thin air. Whole structure crashed as twin towers collapsed on 9/11.
With down and out, the US has now turned to subtle means to achieve its mischievous end of fuelling chaos, anarchy and instability in Afghanistan.
This is mainly linking economic rehabilitation of Afghanistan/international recognition of Taliban in power to formation of an inclusive government. This has never been its demand in earnest.
It decided to leave Afghanistan abruptly without waiting for its formation despite calls to the contrary.
The US has frozen about $ 9 Billion of Afghanistan, lying in its banks. The IMF, World Bank and other world organizations under its influence have ceased their operations/programs in Afghanistan.
These are straightway attempts to strangulate Afghanistan economically, thus blackmailing Afghan Taliban for an outright acceptance of their demand of inclusive government.
This is a contemptuously and absurdly unfair demand and blatant bid to achieve underhand what it wants maliciously when seen in context of the situation at hand.
Afghan Taliban are sole liberators of freeing Afghanistan from foreign yoke after waging heroic armed fight over two decades single-handedly and bare-handedly.
All honours exclusively belong to them, thus the right of ruling Afghanistan rests with them, not as a bounty doled out but a hard earned reward, sanctioned by history.
There is no reason to grudge it at own whims/fancy. It is also a flagrant violation of international norms that a particular type of dispensation is thrust upon a country from outside.
Why should other people pick the Afghan cabinet when they don’t let anyone do even a fraction of it in their own case? Mainly two reasons are being advanced for the said infringement.
These are: complex and vast ethnic makeup of Afghanistan and alleged misrule of Afghan Taliban during their past stint in power.
In history, a particular ethnic/nationality has been ruling others with vast diversity ethnically and ideologically, not necessarily to impose tyranny of majority or brute force but of spreading tranquillity, equality and diffused prosperity; however, prose and poetry of present time abhor such a mode.
Present concept dwells upon empowerment of all segments in a polity albeit full of flaws. It is increasingly outgrowing its utility.
Even now in the US, it is being called a flawed system. Given conditions, this may be even far more arduous and counterproductive in Afghanistan, at least for the time being.
Taliban are being asked to include those factions in government which have served as a pawn to occupation forces and still their loyalty is suspected.
With their inclusion, Taliban would have to invariably remain on watch out. Amid such mistrust, no government could function effectively.
Firstly, on bidding of their foreign masters, these factions may remain intransigent to thwart consensus on formation of inclusive government to keep Taliban in limbo.
The centralized control is more prudently practical when going is tough and diverse. At present, the scenario in Afghanistan is exactly the same.
One would require to summon all energy to put it right. The singleness of the purpose and determination are the keys. The Afghan Taliban have announced an interim cabinet with some representative look.
Probably, they could ill afford to go beyond this to guard against the possibility of a divided house in place, working at cross purposes at a critical time.
It is less than fair to prejudge Taliban on their alleged past, particularly when they have shown a large measure of consideration, flexibility and imagination to move forward for collective benefit of the Afghan people.
They have given impunity to even those who have worked directly with occupation forces to make their stay safe and comfortable while also inviting them to join their efforts to pull the country out of the crisis.
Coupled with this, the Taliban are saviours of Afghanistan. They have given blood aplenty. They have seen privations of life in extreme adversity to rid the country of foreign occupation.
It is entirely inconceivable how now they could allow it to slip further in swamps of dangerous kind. They need to be trusted.
This is also in some long-term interests of even their nemeses that Taliban are kept engaged because they are the reality. They have faith, determination and resilience to pull surprise upon them. They could do it again if they are continued to be blackmailed to the limit.
Earlier they have done it bare-handedly. Now they could do it while living/surviving off the country. They could subsist on even half loaf. Impoverishment is in Afghan genes.
— The writer, a retired Lt Col, is a senior columnist based in Islamabad.