CONTRARY to widely-held belief that the withdrawal of the foreign occupation forces from Afghanistan could push the country into yet another vicious cycle of civil war, the Taliban secured control of the entire country just in ten days and entered the capital Kabul on Sunday in a peaceful manner, assuring residents and foreigners of their security and vowing to protect lives of the people in the backdrop of melting Army and police security arrangements.
As against this, Ashraf Ghani, who claimed to be elected President and was responsible for security of life and property, fled the scene leaving his people at the mercy of circumstances, confirming the impression that he was just a puppet in the hands of his foreign masters.
The way the Taliban returned to Kabul after two decades of fierce resistance is a clear indication that the Taliban are now an entirely transformed entity who have learnt lessons during the long struggle and that people of Afghanistan, in general, are also weary of the unending violence and anarchy and want their homeland to have a strong Government and enduring peace.
This is evident from the fact that district after district and province after province fell mainly as a result of negotiations between the Taliban and the local administration/tribal elders.
The Taliban were always portrayed in a highly negative manner by the US-led Western and Indian media and even on Sunday a report by India’s NDTV yelled “Taliban terrorists have entered Kabul” but throughout their onslaught the Taliban proved their peace credentials and behaved responsibly despite the fact that about three thousands of their colleagues were crammed into metal containers and left in the scorching heat to die while petrol was poured into mouths of others and then set them on fire during fall of their Government in 2001
The takeover has been bloodless and whatever lives have been lost were mainly because of desperate bombing by the US and the Afghan air force as well as conspiracies hatched by Ashraf Ghani to trigger a civil war by encouraging different warlords to resist the Taliban.
The victory of the Taliban has once again reconfirmed the oft-quoted lesson of history that Afghans can never compromise on their sovereignty.
What a shame that after twenty years of occupation, in which Afghanistan was bombed to the Stone Age, Americans were forced to hand over Afghanistan to those against whom they carried out an aggression in 2001.
They raised a so-called international coalition, carried out carpet bombing, used most lethal weapons on their inventory, spent trillions of dollars, raised a 300,000 strong Afghan National Army (equipping it with latest weapons and training), used all propaganda tactics to portray the Taliban as enemies of Afghan people as well as the humanity and claimed to have spent billions to win hearts of Afghan people but at the end of the day all this proved to be a house of cards.
The US knowledge of the ground realities in Afghanistan can be gauged by the fact that the most recent intelligence assessment predicted the fall of Kabul in 90 days whereas the Taliban accomplished the mission in just a few days.
This explains why the United States miserably failed in Afghanistan and also that a nation determined to defend its independence and sovereignty cannot be defeated even by a superpower.
Unfortunately, during the last over four decades, Afghanistan has not seen a strong and acceptable government in Kabul but analysts now believe the objective was realizable provided the Taliban are able to thwart conspiracies by spoilers of peace and deliver on their promise of establishing an inclusive Government with representation from various segments of the society.
The Taliban are fully entitled to establish an Islamic state as it is none of the business of any foreign country to propose a system of governance in another sovereign country but at the same time they should address concerns about human rights as this would create a conducive atmosphere for their recognition.
There are also reports that Americans opted for hasty and clumsy withdrawal in the hope that this would lead to a long civil war that suited their regional designs but this did not happen – thanks to sagacity on the part of the Taliban and other Afghan factions.
However, Americans and Indians are unlikely to sit idle and both the future set-up in Kabul and regional countries will have to guard against conspiracies of the spoilers of peace.
The establishment of a strong central government in Afghanistan would also brighten prospects for regional economic cooperation especially extension of the CPEC to Central Asian States and energy/communication corridors.
As the Taliban have repeatedly vowed that they would not allow use of Afghan soil against any other country, Pakistan legitimately expects swift demonstrable action against the TTP.