Return of old guard in Afghanistan spells major trouble not only for its hapless people, but for India too

It was incumbent upon India to aid the Northern Alliance and provide a bulwark against Pakistani aggression in Afghanistan, not just for the sake of Afghans but also to protect its own interests

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Representational image
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Faraz Ahmad

The entire world, including India, has forfeited the right to even utter the word ‘terror’ because of the way it has capitulated and meekly handed over Afghanistan on a platter to the listed terrorist Haqqani group of Taliban, the brute medieval barbaric proxy mercenaries of Pakistan.

I don’t want to say, “I told you so,” but the fact remains that I was hundred percent certain that the Taliban are incapable of tolerance and peaceful coexistence. Also that Pakistan has been nursing expansionist designs on Afghanistan from the day they lost East Pakistan and Bangladesh was created thanks to the courage and resolve of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

I had seen a video somewhere quite some time back in which a learned scholar of Islam in Pakistan spoke very honestly and frankly on Zia-ul-Haq’s brand of Jihadi Islam which has systematically ruined Pakistan. Asked about Jihadi terror, he said that as long as the young boys in the madrasas are taught day in and day out that Muslims alone have the right to rule the world and the nation state is anathema to the Islamic Ummah, there can be no end to terror, be it inside Pakistan or outside.

In an interview with India Today and Kuldip Nayyar soon after Indira Gandhi was voted back to power in 1980, Zia-ul-Haq rejected the concept of nation state, describing Muslim Ummah as one homogenous entity. He also dismissed modern democracy as alien to Islam and in fact called himself Ameer-ul-Momineen, a title bestowed on Hazarat Ali.

Ironically, for their own narrow interest of finishing off the Soviet Union, nee Communism, the United States in collusion with the Wahabi Saudi Arabia and the mullah in khaki, General Zia-ul-Haq, nurtured this variety of Islam. Sure enough, they succeeded in sabotaging almost all progressive nationalist democratic movements and governments in Muslim countries.

Later, after the demolition of Twin Towers of New York by Pakistani-Afghan-Saudi terrorists on September 11, 2001, the hawkish US administration made a huge noise about its resolve to wipe out terrorism from the entire world. But all that they did was to wipe out Saddam Husain and ruin a prosperous and modern country, Iraq.

As for Afghanistan and Pakistan, they quietly let the Taliban sneak into nooks and corner of Pakistan and thrive there. Imagine, Osama Bin Laden was living comfortably with all his harem and brood next to the military base in Abbottabad, evidently under the protection of Pakistan army which runs its military academy in this hill town, around 150 kilometres from Islamabad, akin to our Indian Military Academy (IMA) in Dehradun on the foothill of Mussoorie.

Both the USA and Pakistan feigned that they knew nothing about Osama for a long time. It is obvious that Pakistan was hiding Osama and the USA was aware of when and where. When the time came, the US sent a small force to kill him right under the nose of Pakistan army and not a leaf in the academy fluttered barely 800 metres from Osama’s home while the US helicopters descended, killed Osama, took away his body and flew off in a swift operation.

Later, the Pakistan military establishment blamed it all on a poor doctor whereas it is obvious that this was a US operation in collusion with the Pakistan military establishment.

Returning to the issue of Afghanistan and Pakistan, two things are always clear to all those watching Pakistan. One, they have not forgotten the separation of East Pakistan and nurse a grouse against India to this day. I am not talking of ordinary people of Pakistan who are like any of us, if perhaps a little more generous and hospitable. After all, we both are from the same stock.

But the Army-mullah ruling clique nursing a grouse against India over the creation of Bangladesh and unable to do much harm to India, turned their expansionist designs in the direction of North West again under Zia’s leadership and guidance. Pakistanis always looked at the next door smaller state of Afghanistan as easy game and therefore the Afghans always resented and suspected Pakistanis.

And their suspicion and resentment against Pakistan has proven to be justified what with all the assurances extended by the US and its allies on behalf of Taliban proving ethereal.

Lt General Faiz Hameed, the chief of Pakistan’s military espionage agency ISI descended upon Kabul on September 4 and on September 7 the Taliban announced, amidst huge demonstrations by women and young men against Pakistan on the streets of Kabul, that Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund will be the new acting Prime Minister of Afghanitan.

Thus, all the apparent so-called moderates led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar showcased by Qatar and USA in Doha are now out of reckoning and the reins of the government will be firmly in the hands of the hardline medieval, communally charged Haqqani group, remote controlled by Pakistan’s military establishment, with no representation of women in the government nor any pretence of an “inclusive and “representative” government in Afghanistan, as tom-tommed in Doha.

How much the Afghans fear and resent this mullah dispensation became evident with the kind of risk the people of Afghanistan took to come out on the streets and demonstrate against this treachery and tyranny, knowing full well that the Taliban will hunt and hound each one of them.

But the international community is happily sitting and watching this farce. After all, they had a deal with Taliban to let out their men safely and the Taliban honoured their deal. But soon as they left, all doors and airports were closed.

The US had been preparing to leave Afghanistan for long. We have invested heavily into Afghanistan. The people of Afghanistan love India and Indians. The Northern Alliance, which was fighting Taliban at Panjshir, was reportedly defeated by Taliban yesterday through treachery and deceit. First, they offered peace to Ahmed Masoud’s men and while pretending to negotiate, thus silencing their guns, they succeeded in besieging them, cutting off their supplies and even electricity and then pounding them, while the world looked on.

The establishment of Haqqani rule in Afghanistan is not a death knell of poor Afghans alone, but more importantly major trouble for us. They are a sworn enemy of India. It was incumbent upon us to go to the aid of the Northern Alliance with all our resources and provide a bulwark against Pakistani aggression in Afghanistan, not just for the safety of the Afghan people but equally to strengthen our defences.

One wonders, would Indira Gandhi have allowed Pakistan to swallow Afghanistan like this, just watching it all from the sidelines? No, she would have gone all out to ensure that it didn’t happen.

Views are personal

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    Published: 08 Sep 2021, 10:20 PM