End of American occupation in Afghanistan: Will be Taliban 2.0 inclusive?
The fall of the elected government in Kabul on 15th August was inevitable, but the timing and the ways we're not expected, what world were sensing through the media and briefing by the American empire. Afghan army had around 300000 trained forces to confront the Taliban, but Ashraf Ghani’s administration did not have a strategy to face the erupted crisis when the peace talks failed between the USA and Taliban. There is some speculation, USA administration had an agreement with Tiban secretly. Ashraf Ghani’s government did not have alignment with USA moves after the announcement of the withdrawal of the USA army for running the show afterward.
The very first press conference of Taliban in which they tried to project their different face or phase like Taliban 2.0. But, we will have to wait and watch, all those claims for inclusive space for women and other minorities groups. More interestingly, they also talked about the free press.
Exact twenty years ago the mighty USA, NATO, and other partners declared ‘War on Terror, in the wake of the terrorist attack on the USA in September 2001, this was one of worse violence against humanity, that cannot be justified by anyone, no matter where are you from? What is your religious or political stand? But, also this does not give you a license to destroy the county or civilization in the name of counter-terrorism. There are millions of reports, how the USA army and their associated, killed, tortured and humiliated people, those have nothing to do with the terrorist attack or terrorism. The western media mindlessly painted people from one religion as a potential terrorists. And, tried to paint the entire community as a perpetrator.
The USA was in Afghanistan, trying to fight the ‘War on Terror, there was a change in the administration, the elected government took the charge of the country with the help of the USA. The Kabul government was on the path of progress, yes that was very slow due to rampant corruption and limited resources, only based on aids and assistance from outside.
This destructive war in Afghanistan since 2001, an estimated 775000 US troops have fought in Afghanistan, around 2448 USA army lost their lives in this fight. In May 2011, US Special forces killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. In 20113, the Taliban opened an office in Qatar at the USA’s request for reaching out to the peace deal.
The history of making the Taliban is interesting. When the USA with help of Pakistan prepared a guerrilla army to wage war against the communist regime and Soviet occupation in Afghanistan in 1978, with the formation of Afghan mujahideen. About 90,000 Afghans, including Mohammed Omar, were trained by Pakistan's ISI during the 1980s. The Mujahideen were variously backed primarily by the United States, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, and the United Kingdom. This was also looked at as a proxy war with the USSR during the era of the cold war. And, the same mujahideen group had alliances with Al-Qaeda and their terrorists for pieces of training, shelter, and what not? The world witnessed the destructive inhuman actions of those groups. There is nothing to explain, who helped them to grow and to build their arms and ammunition.
The White House was left with no options, the decision of withdrawal of the army is continuity of their policy, which was hinted at by President Obama, and subsequently, Trump decided to pull out from the region. This is more surprising when President Biden failed to provide an exit plan to the Afghan people because they withdraw without fulfilling its promises: freedom, democracy, equal right for women, and the elimination of the Taliban. These promises were just propaganda to illegally occupied the nation in the modern age, these are the new ways to colonize the countries, which continue as they did in the past. President Biden defends his position for going back with his bandwagon, that is nothing wrong with justified own position. The influences of the USA are on the verge of decline as a superpower, this is the first time after the end of the USSR. The USA had unilateral domination in the world. But, now the world is not the same, the emergence of China as an economy is quite evident not only in Asia but China is challenging the USA globally.
There were many rounds of talks in Qatar with the Taliban between the USA and their associates, the recent talk was in a couple of months back but did not yield any concrete outcomes. The Doha Agreement (2020) did not have any significance for the larger peace and prosperity of Afghanistan as of now. But somehow there was momentum in the Taliban at the ground in Afghanistan. As things unfolded the key leaders of the Taliban traveled to China on 28th July, they had cordial discussions with the Chinese Wang Yi foreign minister, they were covered issues like trade and economic ties between both countries. The high-powered Talibni delegates pledged that their county would never be used as a launched pad for the attacks on other states. This gesture by chines is a big shift in their policy to support any group, who may take power in the future. Here is the important catch to understand the Chinese position, they are in the process of expanding their business and strategic weight through the Belt and Road Initiative(BRI), where chines are everywhere around Afghanistan but due to American influence to the outgoing dispensation, nothing was in favor of China or BRI. Even though, Afghanistan has formally joined the BRI in 2016. The new government will require money to run the show, the Chinese ambitious projects will have many investment opportunities as well as to present at this important strategic location.
The People of Afghanistan have been facing uncertainty, hopelessness, and kind of cheated by their people as well as by the international community, after facing the long forty-years of conflict in the country. Where they have seen different kinds of rules and restrictions? During the last Taliban rule, people had to faced hardship, and violations of human rights were countless, the women and girls were attacked in the name of implementing sharia law. The freedom of the women and girls was restricted; they were stopped from going to school or college for education. At least, after the occupation of the USA, there was a free movement for women and girls for education and to go for work. Many young girls have come forward to join the workforce. Now, the Taliban is saying there will be no restriction for study and work for women as per sharia law, here is a big caveat. The struggles of women in this country are far from over. Time will tell us, about the inclusive of the Taliban 2.0 administration. In the outlook, they have been trying to change their old images. What we are seeing through the media reports and their press conferences.
India's relations with Afghanistan are deep, not only through the diplomatic channels but India has historical and cultural linkages with the people of Afghanistan. They have seen India as a true friend, there were a lot of cracks developed during the Taliban’s previous regime, primarily for two reasons first they demolished the Buddha of Bamyan. Which was more than religious symbols for people of the regions. Secondly, there were reports that Afghanistan soil was being used for the terrorist attack in India. Moreover, the Indian Airlines Flight (IC 814) was hijacked on 24 December 1999, when it was on its way to Delhi from Kathmandu and taller that was landed in the Kandahar, Taliban militia played an important role in safeguarding the interest of the hijackers at Kandahar, subsequently, Indian government chose to swap 3 terrorists with 160 passengers. The Indian government also contributed to the reconstruction of the nation after 2001, The Afghanistan government was also very close to New Delhi always, except for the Taliban regime in the past. For India, Afghanistan is important from a security and strategic point of view.
What will be the administrative formulation of the Kabul in the Taliban 2.0? As they announced in their very first press conference, the upcoming administration will be inclusive and promised space for women and girls to education and work, as per sharia laws. This is most difficult to understand, because their no book on the sharia law for governing the state, they can take one verse from the Quran here to there to define based on their convenience, to punish the weaker section of society. The Taliban is in talks with various groups and factions before any announcement of the new government, if they are thinking to end the 40 years conflict. There is a need to form a joint government, where every group and region can be part of the decision-making council. Their participation should be not only notional. And, the state should have its constitution to run the county. Moreover, the way Afghan people have suffered due to hostility among the various groups. For making peace in the society or country, there should be a reconciliation commission. For all of those required technical and financial support from the Afghan educate youth and from the people/county wanted to help the county to stand on their own. But, everything will depend on the Taliban’s next move, what kind of administration they are going to form in Kabul? Many countries are watching development in Kabul closely, at least more than half a dozen Nations have already been in talks with the Taliban for securing the interests of their people and own Nation. The Indian government has not given any clear statement, whether they are in touch or keep a distance so far. Pakistan administration is working closely with the Taliban now, as they have had their connection in the past.
The new administration in Kabul will need money and recognition to run the government, many countries and multilateral institutions have already stopped the assistance, they have been providing for the various development projects as well as for humanitarian needs. It all depends on the new administration, how to make sure to the international community, there will be no human rights violation by the state based on gender or ethnicity. There is also fear among the vast numbers of Afghan citizens, who were part of various missions to help people. As things are evolving so far China is taking lead in shaping the new development in Kabul. This time Taliban was interested to retain diplomatic relations with India, it is now to the acumen of Delhi, how to use this pitch for a safe gourd to the interest of the country? And to decide through negotiation for a new role in Afghanistan. where there should be no compromise on terrorism and violation of human rights as per international treaties.