Time for introspection by stakeholders
THE resurgent Afghan Taliban have returned the hard way and appear to have learnt their lessons, which is reflected in their measured change and outlook in a fast evolving regional and global scenario without compromising on their principles.
Compared to their ascent to power following bitterness over US desertion after Soviet withdrawal followed by a protracted civil war; infighting between various warlords and recognition by just three Islamic States, they had this time assumed command through a relentless struggle against foreign occupation of their motherland by the same power which they had helped oust its rival (former) Soviet Union.
This time, they have pre-empted the Western propaganda against their fundamental beliefs by inviting womenfolk in all walks of life to resume their activities but within the framework of an Islamic polity and to observe Hijab while at work or in public, as those nations which had reneged from the path of the believers were already paying the price of unbridled liberalism, in devastating their social values, eroding the sanctity of their homes and denigrating women who enjoy a unique position and rights in Islam which no other religion affords.
They have declined to hand over to Pakistan the TTP leadership and elements who had been carrying out attacks with Indian patronage inside Pakistan, just as they had refused to hand over Osama Bin Laden to the US, as they considered him their guest.
They have all the same declared that they will not allow their soil to be used by anyone including India against any country and warned the TTP to lay down arms against Pakistan seek clemency and return home.
It is a pledge, implementation of which Pakistan will closely watch; having bitterly experienced previous Kabul Government’s hypocrisy in either denying involvement in any anti-Pakistan activity or saying they had no control over the TTP while its intelligence arm NDS was fully coordinating with Indian RAW in launching the TTP and BLA against Pakistan.
There is nonetheless no prescription for those who refuse to learn their think-tanks and the biased West, as well as the United Nations for its inability to act judiciously, barring an occasional lip-service by the Secretary General which in essence remains inconsequential; starting with the UN doing the US bidding, authorising wars against Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, clamping sanctions against certain nations refusing to play ball to US diktats and proscribing their nationals for allegedly supporting terrorists while failing to distinguish between Freedom Struggle and Terrorism, and, therefore, being instrumental in promoting imbalance in the world.
As for the US on the whose bidding the Allied Forces had engaged in a fruitless protracted war in Afghanistan, they should be answerable for squandering 2.26 trillion US dollars of American taxpayer’s money in Afghanistan, raising and training a spineless Afghan Army and installing unrepresentative governments with a tailored Constitution; striking at the social fabric of the Afghan society and eying to use the country as a launching pad for its intended inroads into Central Asian riches.
The US misadventure has ended up in humiliation for the greatest power on earth due to stark corruption of its own ranks and cronies; reviving poppy growth as top world supplier and plunging its forces as well as the puppet regime into illegal trade, whereas the Taliban who back in their time had brought poppy growth down to zero and disarmed its traditionally gun-slinging people signalling total security for the population, triumphed without any lethal armoury, Air Force or any tactical support relying on their commitment, sincerity and faith in themselves; above all in the Almighty, and got all that in reward as spoils of war.
Instead of putting the past behind them and healing the wounds inflicted by the myopic campaign through reconstruction of Afghanistan, the US went on with its blinded surge; while concurrently launching India to penetrate the Afghan society by luring it into its developmental plans and projects, which allowed it to establish multiple Consulates in Afghanistan finding it fertile ground for launching anti-Pakistan mercenaries like the TTP and BLA into Pakistan from Afghan soil with full support from the puppet Afghan, and Indian Intelligence.
But “man proposes and God disposes” is how it actually resulted; the Allied Forces withdrawing in disgust, India has been squarely told by the Afghan Taliban leadership that while its development assistance would be welcome, it will no longer be allowed to use Afghan soil against any other country particularly Pakistan which was their second home.
This, besides allaying fears and apprehensions about rights of women under their rule being a major policy declaration by the Afghan Taliban, coming days will require the new regime to work overtime to translate it into reality.
Most of the West along with many of its client States are already sowing the seeds of distrust among Afghans through a relentless media disinformation campaign in an effort to fail the Taliban.
Already according to Gen (R) Khalid Naeem Lodhi, Daesh has been allowed to carry out a false flag-operation with two blasts in the precincts of the Kabul Airport which is under US control, killing 72 including 12 US soldiers.
With the dust settling, things are beginning to become clear. One notices distinctly that most visuals emanating out of Afghanistan are Kabul Airport-centric, ignoring situation in the rest of the 35 million strong country and a land-mass of some 652,864 SQ KMs where barring the Panjshir Valley pocket, the Taliban were not only in total control but life was fast returning to normal, whereas the Western media blitz was projecting as if most Afghans wished to flee their homeland.
Those being egged on to leave might harbour the impression that the West would afford them a life of luxury, but will soon be disillusioned because there is no match for your own motherland which gives you identity and a sense of belonging.
Elsewhere in the world even if you roll in money you are at best, a second class citizen and no more.
The vulnerable among you once parked in different foreign lands will be ultimately sought to be used against your own country; specimens of which from the past are already being aired over foreign media.
As a first objective; besides sorting out their differences with Ahmad Shah Massaud’s Panjshir Valley leadership, the Afghan Taliban will need to make their countrymen trust those who made alien occupation forces vacate their motherland, as against the Americans who deserted them twice during the last three decades.
—The writer is a media professional, member of Pioneering team of PTV and a veteran ex Director Programmes.