The recent military victory of Taliban (students) against the most powerful army in the world is undoubtedly a remarkable event in the history of mankind. This was the end of the occupation of Afghanistan by foreign forces for twenty years.
The world has witnessed the unceremonious but safe withdrawal of the defeated armies of the US and UK along with their local Afghan Security Forces they had created and trained. As the last act of destruction, the fleeing US soldiers had destroyed huge quantity of military hardware including many aircrafts in the Kabul airport hours before their departure under the watch of Taliban fighters.
While Taliban fighters allowed and helped US soldiers and citizens to leave Afghanistan safely, the US Government froze all the assets of Afghan Government in the USA. However the UN has now called for the release of frozen Afghan assets to avoid total breakdown after UNDP said Afghanistan faces staggering poverty.
Why the USA would freeze the money of another nation whenever the rulers do not obey their orders?
The Taliban, nonconventional fighting militia, mostly educated in traditional religious institutions in Pakistan, originated in Afghanistan to deal with the failure of the Mujahideen led Government that followed the defeat of the Soviet occupying army in 1989 who invaded Afghanistan in 1979.
Although supported by the US and its allies against the Soviet Union, the Mujahideen failed to bring peace and prosperity in Afghanistan due to infighting.
Can the Taliban achieve what the Mujahideen and West-backed governments in Kabul could not do for the people of Afghanistan? Every Afghan is worried and watching closely with hope and fear if the future will be better than the past.
They are not pro or anti Taliban, they are sick of fighting for no common good in their sight. But they are happy to see that the war is over, and hope that Taliban will be able to deliver the common good to the helpless people of Afghanistan.
They are equally worried about the past of the Taliban, and hope that the new Taliban will take this opportunity to turn their controversial past into into an illuminating future by uniting the people and ensuring their wellbeing.
They also know that this is not any easy and quick task, and require support and participation of all Afghans. Taliban believe, “The stage of bloodshed, killing and contempt for people in Afghanistan has ended, and we have paid dearly for this.”
The early signs of the new Taliban are not so bad as many people thought and predicted. Apart from some isolated and small incidences the overall security management of Taliban was reasonably good. No mass murder, no sporadic killing, no revenge attacks, no celebrations, and no violent reactions.
Instead, the Taliban have declared general amnesty to their former enemies including those who directly fought against them as Afghan Security Forces. They have asked all pubic servants, women included, who served under previous Government to join their duties without any fear or reprisal.
They helped with the safe return of US, UK and Australian forces and citizens. They promised to cooperate with everyone and work for a unity government including various sections of Afghan population and international partners.
These are all good signs and indicative of their adherence to their commitments. Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan has asked everyone to work with Taliban to achieve inclusive government and save lives from acute shortage of food, medicine and shelter.
As a traditional society, Afghans have a different way and lifestyle, and they should be left with their choice. Like any other people/nation if they are happy with their cultural heritage and way of life which may be different from mine or yours, we should leave them alone as long as they are not imposing their values to others.
If the Taliban are genuine in introducing Islamic system they must not ignore the rights of different sections of the population granted by Allah in the Qur’an and teachings of His last Prophet Mohammad (s).
This includes equal pay for men and women doing the same job, universal education of women and men, women working outside home including law enforcement and defence force.
The world appears to be divided in recognising the new Taliban government in Afghanistan. Countries like Russia and China are already working with Taliban. On the other hand the USA, UK and their allies are asking Taliban for an inclusive government and respect for human right.
Qatar, Turkey and Pakistan are already helping the Afghan Government, and as a neighbour Iran would continue working with them. Being a best ally of ousted President Ashraf Ghani, India is yet to decide the type relationship they will have with the Taliban.
The Taliban is already working with all parties in Afghanistan including former Presidents and Prime Ministers installed/supported by the USA such as Hamid Karzai, Abdullah Abdullah, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and others to form an inclusive government.
Until, an agreement is reached, the Taliban will rule Afghanistan with an Interim Caretaker Government. Afghanistan will be the biggest loser if it’s government engages or tolerates extremism and violence within and outside its borders, and does not work with its neighbours to overcome the crisis.
The main challenge for Taliban Government is to work for the unity of the country by winning the hearts and minds of people, and working with international partners to manage the humanitarian crisis and poverty elimination.
At the same time, in no circumstances, Taliban should allow to grow any radical ideology and violent extremism within and outside Afghanistan. The notion of killing enemies should never be used to kill innocent.
The most powerful countries in the world who attacked and occupied this unconquerable land with the false hope of democracy and development could not simply abandon over 40 million helpless people taking no responsibility other than those few collaborators employed by them.
The Afghans on average earn only $2.00 per day even though the USA spent $2.3 trillion in the war. So, where the $300 million per day gone? Interestingly bulk of the money did never go out of the USA, just transferred from the government accounts to the US companies that ran the taxpayer funded war.
So, the real winners of the war are the producers, suppliers and dealers of arms, indeed the whole war industry, along with corrupt leaders who have no care and value for human life. Needless to say that the ultimate loser is the American nation who were deceived and misled by their successive Govts that initiated and continued the war with false pretention and claims that they were winning.
The first online meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Pakistan, China, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan on 8 September 2021 provided some pragmatic observations and recommendations to the new Afghan government and rest of the world to ensure peace, stability and development of Afghanistan.
They asked for national peace and reconciliation; adopt policies to achieve durable peace, security, safety, and long-term prosperity; and respects the fundamental human rights including those of ethnic groups, women and children.
However, some Afghans are sceptical of the role of Pakistan and its confusing past as to if it is genuine to support the people of Afghanistan or working as US proxy along with Qatar. However, Qatar brought the USA and Taliban on the discussion table, and working closely with Taliban led government.
As the home of largest Afghan refugees, Pakistan is already working hard with Afghanistan and other neighbouring nations for regional peace and prosperity.
Given the geopolitical and strategic location of Afghanistan it is only a matter of time when big powers recognise the new Afghan Government. China needs passage through Afghanistan to access European and Asian markets.
Pakistan already being a development partner of China and good friend of Turkey and Iran, will try to consolidate its position in Afghanistan. All the neighbours of Afghanistan are most likely to work together for regional peace and prosperity without undue external influence.
The Taliban can benefit hugely if they learn from the recent socio-economic and technological developments and progress in education and research in the leading Muslim countries and initiate effective collaboration.
If they wish to play a key role for the Ummah, they must be an active part of it, and strengthen their moral and economic position.
The Taliban would only be able to effectively help members of the Ummah, beyond rhetoric, in Palestine, Kashmir, Xinjiang, Myanmar, and other places if they could achieve high moral grounds and champion in human right, and lead in spiritual and material development.
Muslims are thankful to the US for its humanitarian and development support to many Muslim countries over the last several decades. Also, the whole world knows the great educational, scientific and technological contribution of the US in the last several centuries.