Uploaded on September 14, 2021
The Afghan Crisis
Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam
The swift takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban had left the world aghast and shocked. After two decades of the Imperialist occupation of the country, the Taliban has emerged as the lone winner as the American-backed Afghan administration dissolved within a few days. This takeover would prove to be a game-changer in the geopolitical scenario and the international political relationships between countries.
Emerged as a revolutionary force, the Taliban first came into power after the withdrawal of Soviet troops. Given the history under the Taliban regime, human rights organizations are worried about the humanitarian crisis the country might face in the upcoming time, especially the human rights violations against women and minorities. Nonetheless, with the Taliban’s assurance to not commit the same mistakes as the last time, the people of Afghanistan are putting their best bet to be not ruled by a coercive and cruel administration that the Taliban has been known for. Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesperson, has assured that “there are many differences” in “experience, maturity, and insight” in the current regime compared to the last one.
The Taliban as a political force is struggling for legitimacy and acceptance, and more or less, this has to do with the misunderstanding of people who synonymously use militants for terrorist organizations. One has to draw a line between terrorist groups such as al Qaeda, ISIS, and anti-imperialist and revolutionary forces like the Taliban. Another crucial aspect in attaining legitimacy is to ensure that the country does not give a protected asylum to terrorists, which is the utmost worry of neighboring countries. As reflected in the BRICS summit this year, the focus on the “new crisis” in Afghanistan was the highlight of the meeting.
The Emergence of the Taliban
The Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union after the Second World War resulted in the US' dominance in the post-Cold War era. Consequently, to present the US as a hegemonic and dominant force, many projects (New American Century) and movements (neoconservative movement) began. The US pushed itself to many wars in the pretext of “intervention,” which resulted in absolute catastrophe for the countries involved. Some of them include the Vietnam War, the Iraq War (2003), the War on Terror, etc. The US has ever since tried to deceive the world by presenting itself as the “savior,” who is above the law. In this regard, Edward Snowden has discussed the ‘Frankenstein Effect’ in the intelligence community to draw a parallel between how the American intervention in any situation ends up wrecking it irreparably. He has explained how the funding and training of Mujahideen to fight the Soviets resulted in the rise of radical groups such as al Qaeda and the devastation of the Iraq war created by the US. Noam Chomsky, in his interviews, had also pointed to America's role in shaping propaganda for "international terrorism" and their consequent "humanitarian intervention." The World Court condemned the US for "unlawful use of force" in 1986.
The images of chaos and desperation of some people to leave the country were highlighted by the propagandist and Islamophobic media houses. However, one could not help but put the onus on the mismanagement and the speedy withdrawal of the American troops that created havoc for those who wanted to leave. The war-torn country has always been in conflict- be it ethnic, political, socio-cultural, etc. With the legacy of continuous conflicts, the country has had poor performances in major socio-economic rankings. For instance, Afghanistan is amongst the world's poorest countries, and the ongoing collapse could be more detrimental for the people of Afghanistan.
In the current scenario, the Taliban needs to start working for the welfare of the people. Besides, the country is in dire need of humanitarian aid. The western countries should come together for monetary as well as other humanitarian aid and not withhold access to Afghanistan's financial assets (the US froze $9.5bn Afghan assets). The humanitarian crisis should not halt the international aid of Afghanistan. Moreover, the Afghan refugees should be accepted by the Western countries with monetary and social assistance.
Critical assessment of the Afghan situation has to be prioritized by those in power. The concerns over drug trafficking and terrorism could come as a hurdle in procuring the “Taliban’s international legitimacy.” Therefore, avoiding violence and adopting a peaceful approach to governance is the only answer for the Taliban administration. Besides, the call for an “inclusive intra-Afghan dialogue” by the BRICS leaders for fighting terrorism and the issue of the drug trade in the region needs the Taliban’s undivided attention. The New Delhi declaration of the BRICS Summit read, “We stress the need to contribute to fostering an inclusive intra-Afghan dialogue so as to ensure stability, civil peace, law and order in the country.” This is the time for a reality check for the Taliban’s commitments, which promised stability for the people of Afghan, fighting terrorist organizations, upholding the rights of people, especially, women, children, and minorities. India’s stance on not associating terrorism with any particular “religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group” in the Summit can have a positive impact in building a stable, peaceful, and inclusive regime for the Taliban.
The Taliban is responsible for bringing an inclusive strategy into their regime, which should be just and ethically sound. The governance should be symbolic of justice, equality, and fraternity for the people of Afghanistan. The leaders of the regime and their commitments need to focus on the growth and development of the nation. Since political recognition of the Taliban can take time as it would depend on their actions on the ground meanwhile, they can propose an inclusive government representing the ethnic groups and diversity of Afghanistan. Moreover, basic human rights should be given the utmost priority, especially on women and minority rights. Afghan polity should be Afghan-led, chosen by the need and welfare of the people.