India and a Talibani Afghanistan
It is a reality now that Afghanistan will be heading back to Taliban rule. As elsewhere in the Islamic world, the near 10% Jihadists duly supported by about 30% radicals, be it Taliban or the other groups, will control the remaining 60% population to its dictats. Anyone opposing, will be eliminated as it is happening elsewhere. The 20 yrs of democratic freedom of Afghanistan, even if somewhat limited, will be undone. On February 29, 2020, the United States and the Taliban signed a so-called peace agreement in Doha, Qatar, officially titled the ‘Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan’ but the actual purpose was for the exit of US forces from there. The writing is on the wall…’bye bye democracy…bye bye rule of law’. Hereafter the Talibani radicals will rule. After what is there in Afghanistan that made the Russians to leave unceremoniously and now the US lead allied forces of several nations have been made to retreat? Russian were driven out by the US and Saudi sponsored and Pakistani enacted Jihadists in the form of Mujahids who inflicted moderate costs on the occupying force. But what lead the US lead allied forces to exit?
It is the radical Islamic ideologies of Taliban duly supported by the double speak & acts of Pakistani ISI, which kept fooling the US govt of their support on ‘war against terror ‘and at the same time kept aiding and abetting the Haqqani network and the jihadists against them. Having carried away the numerous body bags, the Americans have been looking at some face-saver way of exit and they got it the worst way the mighty Americans could have ever imagined… by signing a peace deal with Taliban…the ones against whom they had come to Afghanistan…to root them out. But that did not happen. Now the Taliban is firmly rooted in Afghanistan and the Allied Forces have to flee…in the disguise of the so-called peace-deal. This even must make every single nation to think whether it is worthy of sacrificing your men for the betterment of Islamists? It may be worth pondering.
Pakistan is a major stakeholder in the Afghani insurgencies. It houses nearly a million of the Afghan refugees who fled the war-torn state from the days of US led allied forces war against the Taliban. The US that kept on looking for Osama bin Laden in each nuke and corners of Afghanistan, was fooled by the Pakistani establishments who had been housing him in Abbottabad under close cover of the Military and the ISI. All major terrorist attacks in Afghanistan is believed to have been engineered by Pakistan either directly or indirectly. Pakistan would love to have a weak and destabilized Afghanistan so as to dictate terms and exploit their natural resources all along its 2670 km border. Their trade & transit to Turkmenistan and beyond is through Afghanistan. They are highly skeptical of Indian presence there…even if doing good. They fear encirclement by India in the times of any possible future action. However, India too has its strategic interest in Afghanistan. The Indian govt would like to see a strong self-sustaining Afghanistan, preferably led by their Pashtun majority constituting nearly 42%. Although radicalism is inherent to Islam, a strong Afghan govt may not permit the numerous jihadi factions flourishing at present. Being rich in natural resources of over 1,400 mineral fields, containing barite, chromite, coal, copper, gold, iron ore, lead, natural gas, petroleum, precious and semi-precious stones among many other minerals, it could be a self-sustaining nation.
No sooner the deal was signed, Taliban started dictating the Afghan govt…release all Talibani fighters from all jail or else… There have been numerous instances of violence thereafter. Initially Taliban denied its involvement saying it was the acts of other splinter groups…but soon, the truth came out. It was the arm-twisting act of Taliban through threats and violence…its known approach. Educated women esp those in some position in the administration have been especially target conveying them to remain within the 4 walls or else. Women journalists, women TV personalities, women judge included…have been attacked. Lowly placed women teachers and other professionals in Afghanistan societies have already received the message…go back to the four walls. Whispers have become loud enough to be heard that there are strong apprehensions of the closure of Women institutions incl Schools and Colleges. It seems Afghanistan is heading to the dark days again.
Who are these bandits on the Afghan streets issuing threats and committing deaths so rampantly? It is the humanitarian wing of Islamic Brotherhood who are supposed to help Muslims under various pretext of personal piety. So, if the human face of todays’ Islam is that of a Bandit, who are the radicals? Radical Islam dates back only to the 1920s with the establishment by ‘al-Banna’ of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Mawdudi’s subsequent founding of the ‘Jamaat-al-Islami’ in British India, that finally led to emergence of Pakistan. The radical Islam gained ground after the Palestine struggle against Israel and became a sticking point between Muslim world and USA backing Israel. This is also believed to be resulting to 9/11. Jihad is one of the seven tenets of Islam. It is implemented and practiced for different purposes. In the case of Afghanistan, Taliban and their Jihadists have spread tentacles all over the nation with a general appeal in the post 09/11… ‘Islam is in danger’ in Afghanistan and that there is a need to commit Jihad against the infidels and devils…the largely Christians of allied forces. This is the reason that numerous Muslims from almost all around the world came to join the Taliban led jihadist to fight against the US led alliance forces. They considered it as a holy war.
The radical Islamists have different names in different regions…Muslim Brotherhood in middle-east, Hamas in Palestine; Taliban in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Hezbollah in Iran, Syria; Al-Qaida in Arabian nations and the recently declared self-destructive Tanzeem of ISIS in Iraq. There are more than 170 such Tanzeems…most of whom came to existence to serve the humanitarian cause but ended up becoming the Jihadists…for varied reasons. Al-Qaeda based in most of the Sunni dominated Islamic nations gained momentum to take revenge esp against the American led Western forces. On the other hand, Abu Bakr Baghdadi’s proclaimed ISIS had a much bigger ambition…to create Global Caliphate through a religious struggle…the Jihad. Of course the stupid person has been eliminated by the US led allied forces along with 10s of thousands of his fighters, but the concept that he generated, has caught a general appeal and many Jihadists and fundamentalists are trying to keep that ideology alive. ISIS has got the backing in Afghanistan too, on their own as well as through Islamic State in Khorasan (ISK). ISIS in Afghanistan works both through their Salafi and Takfiri beliefs (by which a Muslim may declare another as an apostate). This group is largely made of radicals & jihadists from Pakistan (mostly the cadre of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, TTP) and some Indian Muslims too joining Jihad in Afghanistan. They are largely managed by Paki ISI. ISK allegiance to ISIS of late seems to be fractured after their funding dwindled. Today their allegiance is with who is funding them. Of late, there are isolated reports that US drones and aircraft are trying to help Talibani forces in /Afghanistan by targeting the ISIS and ISK. It is a very complex scene indeed.
Today, Islam forms only about 25% of the world population and they have ambition of creating global caliphate essentially because there is no unity among other religion. World Caliphate means to virtually eliminate all other religions from the world. It could be a food for thought for the world populace esp those afflicted by the radical Islamist to join hands to eliminate Islam from world. In the medieval period, it were the Hindu and the Buddhists who suffered most in the hands of Islam, today it is the Christians undergoing genocide in middle-east nations and elsewhere in the African Peninsula. What if the Pope issues a Crusade against Islam? Where will the Islamic radicals and Jihadists hide? It is just a food for thought since Christians, Hindu and the Buddhists are not barbarians.
Afghan Taliban alone could not have sustained the attacks by the allied forces. They have the backing of various other Islamic radicals and fundamentalists in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is believed that Most of the Islamic nations are helping jihad in Afghanistan in some form or the other. If nothing else, a part of global Islamic contribution of ‘Jakat’ goes to them. Radical Islamic nations send their contributions too. As such Al-Qaida, ISIS, Iran & Pakistan have shown the world that despite sanctions, their terror networks remain functional, they continue getting weapon to commit terror and that their Madrasas continue produce the home-grown radicals & Jihadists. They are brainwashed to such extent that they will continue fighting…even blow-up themselves…a trend so common in the Islamic nations…be it Asia, Africa or elsewhere.
Now comes the main question…where does India stand in the complex issue of Afghanistan? How can India keep its objective relevant? Surely not by Military presence as they will surely be seen as occupying forces drawing jihadi ire. Here comes the Indian diplomacy that will be tested seriously. Indian support to the strong Afghanistan must continue essentially through non-military objectives. Now the advanced education institutions as well as women education will be under serious Talibani threat. India can impart that for the young minds who seek modern education.