By Bimal Prasad Mohapatra
No sign of let up in massacre, violence, rape, murder and human right violations in Afghanistan which have their ugly beginning in late 1970s in the height of Cold War. Apart from the above, millions have been living in refugee camps away from their motherlands in abject poverty and deprivation in Pakistan and Iran. In hapless landlocked nation, it isn’t the government and its state machineries such as state police and military used by autocratic rulers as seen in several nations around the world involve in human right violations.
What is the fault of Afghanis for which they have been paying such a huge price for generation? Already four decades have passed without any sign of normalcy.
Here, the violators -mixed of internal and external elements- are religious extremists called Taliban, who have huge support from battle-harden Pashtun tribal mostly living in North-East Afghanistan and North-West Pakistan hilly regions (with porous border between Afghanistan-Pakistan), supported and remote controlled by external vested interest. And Taliban wants to implement Islamic governance; while Afghanis, who refuse to abide Islamists dictum to a great extent as they have already accepted democratic form of governance, are paying the price.
Who has forced this fate on landlocked under-developed nation? Afghanis en bloc hadn’t invited these extremists. These are the questions need to be addressed and normalcy/peace be restored before NATO led by the US thinks to leave Afghanistan at the mercy of Taliban and its affiliates.
The fact is though the victim, a landlocked small buffer state between erstwhile giant communist ruled Soviet Union in the north and Islamic fundamentalists run governments in Pakistan and Iran in its south-west and south-east, had nothing to do much in super powers’ power struggle for supremacy in world politics. The super powers were expansionists. When one power encroached into Afghan territory, other one instead of fighting head on engaged third party i.e. Pakistan and her intelligence agency ISI, to fight her war in the Afghan soil ultimately victimizing Afghanis. Further, the pain of victims aggravated when third party used Islamic extremists called Taliban and Al-Qaeda together having theirs set of vested interest, to fight Soviet forces. Post-Cold War when Soviet Union collapsed and her forces withdrew from Afghanistan, Taliban overthrew Soviet puppet’s government in Kabul in a bloody coup, and started ruling as per 7th century Islamic holy book dictums.
Subsequently, NATO and the US left the region leaving their financed and built terror infrastructure, provisioned arms and immunizations, and trained terrorists in the disposal of vested interests Taliban and Pakistan. For a decade and till Al-Qaeda terrorists, whose primary target was the US, attacked the then only super power deep inside its territory in 2001, terrorist organization Taliban was de facto barbaric ruler of Afghanistan, while the entire world including European Union and the US (members of NATO), which have been in the front line for so-called human right protection all over the world, was silent spectators.
After 9/11 terror attack, NATO and the US again returned to Afghanistan via Pakistan. They could manage to overthrow the Taliban from Kabul and installed democratic government in early 2000s, but the terror monster they had planted to fight Soviet Forces were still at large spread over the large rural pockets. And, in the meanwhile, Taliban and its affiliates have been so bold and powerful that they don’t spare the nation’s most fortified cities such as Kabul, Kandahar, Jalalabad, Herat, etc. and US bases in Afghanistan from their attacks. Now, as per the latest reports, the dreaded terrorist outfit called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has joined the Taliban.
As per 2016 pre-poll promise, now defeated, the US President Donald Trump during his tenure in the world most powerful mansion The White House has drastically reduced the number of US force in Afghanistan pending complete withdrawal despite no sign of let up in terror violence. Side by side, as the worst thing to do, his administration negotiated with unrepresentative Islamist Taliban by-passing elected government in Kabul for future governance in Afghanistan. And, before any concrete agreement was made, he got release of large number of dreaded Taliban terrorists from Afghan jails. In the meanwhile, election has been held in the US and new occupant to The White House has been elected. It isn’t known what step the next US President will take in regard to force withdrawal, which is so far considered as stabilizing force in not only landlocked nation but also to a great extent in the entire South Asia where Pakistan born terrorists have a great sway.
The Afghanistan crisis, which was rooted in 20th Century Cold War, is about to reach 21st new Century Cold War, christened by Defense and Strategic expert as Cold War II, with new super power and the most determined Communist China replacing erstwhile Communist Soviet Union.
Lately, it’s understood that China has offered infrastructure investment proposal in Afghanistan to Taliban under its BRI scheme in exchange for peace. If this effort be fruitful and assume that US withdraws its forces, Taliban will get back its prime position it was enjoying in post-Soviet withdrawal in Kabul. Now, China has been building BRI projects around Afghanistan in Central Asia, Iran and Pakistan apparently reducing their rulers as Chinese puppets. These are all Islamic nations who can’t cohabit with China’s brutal atheist regime in long run. In view of this, conflicts between local and Chinese puppets a la Afghanis had with Soviet Union’s puppets in Kabul in 1970s cannot be ruled out. And forget the peace; the violence will rule the region. Apprehending this possibility, new US administration shouldn’t think for hasty withdrawal of its forces before peace is established in hapless Afghanistan, and protect the human right the West has been championing for decades. And in particular the Super power US shouldn’t surrender her super responsibility.
(Author is Assistant Professor of Management Studies at Bhubaneswar based Trident Group of Institutions. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)