Sifting the grain from chaff in Afghanistan

The world press is abuzz with the reportage involving the developments in Afghanistan and the expert commentaries/opinions flooding the media around the world. Rather than spin my own yarn on these developments, all I have to say is that the sheer bulk of reportage and opinions surrounding the kerfuffle in Afghanistan paint a picture of the Taliban which surely suits their agenda but does not quite reflect what had actually motivated them in the first place to stand up to the mighty America who, one should know, had merely invented the ruse of 9/11 to invade that country in 2002.

Come to think of it, unlike other nations in the region, Afghans are long known to be a self respecting lot who are loath to accepting dictations or their subjugation, especially by those who think they have the sacred duty to brazen their presence in a country of their choosing. That thought has been the chief reason and inspiration of a majority of Afghans not to be subjugated and thus to rid themselves of the stranglehold of foreign powers who had occupied their land in 2002 or earlier in 1979 or still earlier throughout their long history of stiff resistance against foreign occupation. Which is the singlemost reason why the sole superpower has been made to eat dust on the soil of Afghanistan barely thirty odd years after another superpower had to beat a hasty retreat from that country in the teeth of a relentless onslaught from the Afghans.

All the same, there are strong indications that the Talibans of 2021 are way different from their predecesdors who had ruled Afghanistan during 2996-2002. There are strong reasons to plead that we won’t see a repeat of something like the 2001 bedlam in Bhamiyam, or that the women’s rights or the rights of minorities of Afghanistan would be compromised in the new setup. On the other hand, America and India are being seen as the greatest losers in the endgame that has just panned out in Afghanistan and that’s perfectly understandable! In the case of the former which has suffered an ignominios defeat at the hands of the Taliban, even as it had boasted of getting into there with the ‘pious’ mission of restoring peace, democracy or human rights in that country and in which it has singularly failed, it’s because its sole desire was to expand its footprint there and to exploit and loot the vast natural resources of the resource-rich Afghanistan, exactly like it had done earlier in Iraq. And India’s woes in Afghanistan are to be understood in the light of its huge investment there which now stands frittered away on account of its close ally Ashraf Gani having lost power there.

But wait! Those who happen to have followed the developments in Afghanistan over the past twenty years would know that India had invested there, not out of any concern for the Afghans but only with a view to worm its way into Ashraf Gani’s favours to carve out a space for itself so as to use the Afghan soil to wage a proxy war against its western neighbour which, one must acknowledge, was successfully executed during the past twenty years. After all sowing wild oats and then harvesting the bitter crop for that is quite natural, and ought to be seen as such!

Finally, there are questions being raised about the role of Pakistan in supervising and even directing the endgame that has just unfolded in Afghanistan. Here what is important is to distinguish between a direct military involvement and a desire to wish an end to the Ashrad Gani government. The plea that it was the latter scenario for Pakistan is understandable in view of what has been said above: that the Afghan govt. had provided unfettered access to India in fuelling and funding the long regime of terror activities in Pakistan, especially in Balochistan. Obversely, if indeed Pakistan had a role that made Americans eat the humble pie in Afghanistan like they had done to another superpower in the late eighties, then one should not grudge Pakistan being seen and acknowledged as the real superpower, having defeated two superpowers on a trot. It just can’t be “heads I win tails you lose”. On the contrary, the reason why that country is being demonised for its ‘active’, but hypothetical role in Afghanistan is because of this: the so-called Chinese angle – the close proximity between Pakistan and China and its implications on the emergence of a new world order, with the US being relegated to the backseat. 

The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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Written by M A Sofi


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