Across the Divide

The Taliban are moving towards power in Afghanistan. They realize the world
has changed and, this time around, the country they will govern must be
treated with more tolerance and open-mindedness.

By Major General Inam Ul Haque (R) | April 2020
Taliban leaders sitting in the hotel lobby before the signing of the Peace Agreement with the United States.

It is interesting to see the gloom and doom analyses and disappointing commentary on the 29th February 2020 US-Taliban peace deal. One is saddened by the subjectivity of the debate, as most analysts follow the Western talking points. Some go to the extent of accusing the Taliban of feigning peace; they are described as untrustworthy and would again brutalize society as they did before. It is important to resurrect the basics, as basics are generally forgotten in a debate without focus.

It is instructive to remember that it were the Taliban who brought a semblance of peace and stability to Afghanistan, after the era of the warlords of the 1990s, when they stood as guarantors of the most important human right - the right to life. The Taliban were driven from power by the US-led Western military might for crimes they had never committed. It were the Taliban who fought the war of liberation, nurturing it with their blood and sweat. Throughout the two decades of war, they remained steadfast and tethered to their fatherland without leaving for greener pastures, and then they returned to rule their country on the shoulders of invaders, like the present political elite did. They wrote the glorious chapters of contemporary military history by defeating two superpowers. They are still standing like a bulwark against the greater menace of ISIS. And, in reality, they are the only party who can make Afghanistan peaceful and protect its nationhood.

The foregoing is an undeniable fact check, so a little realism in analysis would help the war-weary Afghans, whose love causes the analyst community many a sleepless nights. Who has forgotten the CIA paramilitaries riding with the Shumali warlords to drive the Taliban from power through incessant intrigues and carpet bombing? Speaking of human rights, who can forget the Sheberghan fiasco and the errant bombings by US/NATO planes killing and maiming innocent civilians in marriage parties?

The incidents of US soldiers running amok killing any Afghan in sight - including women and children - and collective brutalization of a hapless people are still fresh memories. The US and the West conniving with the Shumali warlords and opportunists of all shades, under the coat and tie leadership of the imported expat community - with dual-nationalities - took upon itself to “modernize Afghanistan making it heaven on earth”. And for 19 long years, through social experimentation, shifting politico-strategic goals, humungous corruption and vacillation augmented by lack of sociological understanding, this enterprise failed and failed spectacularly. The US and its allies reeked with PTSD, suicides and other ailments as a result, and the agony goes on.

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