Opinion and Editorial

KT edit: Taleban need to shun old tricks

Filed on July 5, 2021

In total, nearly 1,600 soldiers have crossed the border.

Over the last few years, the Taleban, a militant group that certainly doesn’t deserve any stake in Afghanistan’s present or future, has been able to secure a seat in the discussion table. It has received international recognition of sorts and has been portraying an image of change, using words like peace and reconciliation during their discourse. But on the ground, their tactics and political agenda have not changed much.

The militant group has talked about giving women rights “granted by Islam — from the right to education to the right to work”. But the recent video of public flogging in Obe district of a woman for apparently committing adultery says otherwise. It is a gory reminder of how they plan to ‘rule’ the country. The haphazard retreat of Western forces is giving them the confidence they need. The Taleban have been fighting hard across the north of the country for the past few weeks, and have increasingly seized territory from Afghanistan’s security forces, who have been fleeing to the neighbouring Tajikistan to save their own lives. In total, nearly 1,600 soldiers have crossed the border.

The strategy is clear — exhaust the Afghan forces into giving up the fight and seize control of the country as the Western forces retreat. Going by the regularity of such operations and their success, the Afghans are fearing the worst. The insurgents have hoisted their flags on various goal posts, announcing their renewed control over the territories. In the absence of official Afghan military, there would hardly be any government to speak for the people. Fearing the worst, a return to the dark ages, ordinary men and women have taken up arms and are trying to fight off the Taleban. Unsurprisingly, the government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has welcomed the emergence of this so-called uprising for it lacks a coherent strategy of its own. But come to think of it, such a strategy is fraught with risks.

To ward off one set of Taleban fighters, the country is aiding the rise of another. Historians and older generations can draw similarities between the Afghanistan of the 80s and the rise of the mujahideen. The human shields of today would eventually seek more political weightage in the system that is already grappling with several pockets of selfish interests. The country is more fragmented than ever along ethnic lines. What can stitch it together is anyone’s guess. The White House provided a boost to the Afghan government recently when US President Joe Biden met Ghani and promised financial and logistical support to Afghan forces. But will this support fuel corruption or genuinely help rebuild Afghanistan is hard to ascertain.

The military adventurism of the last two decades has failed to defeat terrorism and extremism. The Western forces are leaving the country more or less in the same way it was in 2001 with Taleban enjoying the power. The only difference is Taleban are now calling the shots as well and have secured the spotlight on international platform.

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