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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Is Ruling Afghanistan the exclusive right of the Taliban?

2010 The Politics and Development Magazine
Is Ruling Afghanistan the exclusive right of the Taliban?
Oct 16th, 2010
By Izhar ul Haq
It seems the US has decided to quit Afghanistan, sooner or later. On September 1, President Obama announced withdrawal of troops from Iraq. This good work has been done by the US after a lot of blunders. In Iraq, 4,500 US soldiers died and the number of the injured is over 30,000. The Iraq left behind by the US has plunged into darkness, divided in ethnic groups and is suffering from sectarianism. There is an unending series of blasts from Karbala to Baghdad. This is the “freedom” and “democracy” given to Iraq by the US!
Has the US learnt any lesson from Iraq? Or it will leave Afghanistan after getting more of its troops killed? Till to date, 1200 coffins have been sent to the US from Afghanistan. The injured are more than that. The US has yet to achieve a single goal in Afghanistan – there are no traces of democracy!
Whether the US leaves today or after one year or after two years, the situation in Afghanistan will remain the same. The question is, what will happen in Afghanistan after it leaves – whose government it will be? How issues will be settled between the northern Afghanistan or former Northern Alliance and Pakhtuns of the southern Afghanistan? Will it be pro-Pakistan or pro-India? Another irony is that majority of the slogan-chanting people do not know the history of Afghanistan nor do they know as which ethnicities are settled there and what are their internal relations? How many people know that the northern Afghanistan is called ‘Minor Turkestan’ inhabited by Uzbeks? The second largest population is of Tajiks while Pakhtuns are settled in the southern and eastern part in a big majority.
Majority of historians agree that Ahmed Shah Abdali, who united Pakhtuns for the first time in history in 1747, is the founder of present Afghanistan. This officer of Nadir Shah Durrani had extraordinary intellect. One tradition is that while devastating Delhi, Nadir Shah had told Ahmed Shah Abdali he would succeed him as king. At the time, the present Afghanistan was a part of Khurasan and Afghanistan did not exist as a name. After the assassination of Nadir Shah in 1747, Ahmed Shah, however, took over as the king and united the Pakhtuns. Durranis, Qizalbash and Yusufzai, all were with him. He soon occupied Ghazni and then snatched Kabul while Herat too was under him after three years.
But Soviet Union entered Afghanistan from the north and first resistance was offered by Uzbeks and Tajiks of northern Afghanistan. Thus, the Uzbek and Tajik minorities came to fore after 230 years. They got leaders like Rashid Dostum and Ahmed Shah Masood and thus Burhanuddin Rabbani became the president after the Russian withdrawal and he was the first non-Pakhtun head of the state after Ahmed Shah Abdali. Burhanuddin Rabbani belonged to the Persian-speaking Tajiks. The northern Afghanistan also got other important positions for the first time.
Do you think that the Pakhtuns, who remained dominant for 250 years, can accept this situation? Their ancestor Ahmed Shah Abdali had founded this empire for Pakhtuns. So how was it possible that they would have offered the power in a plate to the party of Burhanuddin Rabbani, Jamiat-e-Islami, wherein Uzbeks and Tajiks were in majority.
When we analyze the history and international politics, our personal loyalties and emotional associations cannot interfere with it. Some people cannot tolerate analysis about the Taliban. There were very good characteristics of the Taliban but they were humans. And it is a historical fact that Arab, Chechen and Uzbeks of Uzbekistan were with them and still are but it merits thinking that Hazaras, Uzbeks and Tajiks of Afghanistan are not with them so it cannot be denied that ethnically Taliban are a group of Pakhtuns.
Are the Uzbeks and Tajiks of Afghanistan  not as good Muslims as Taliban? Has any single group hegemony over Islam in Afghanistan? Its answer in accordance with the logic and intellect is very clear. A graduate of Alazhar University, Burhanuddin Rabbani is one of the few Afghanistan who translated the books of Syed Qutab Shaheed in Persian for the first time. If the monopoly of Arabs over Islam is not possible, how can the monopoly of any other ethnic group is possible?
This is the ethnic war in Afghanistan. When the Uzbeks and Tajiks tasted the power for the first time after the Soviet withdrawal, would they accept being pushed to the background after departure of the Americans now? Or would they seek an equal share in the power? Whether the Taliban, who are today an important power again after nine-year struggle, will enter into a practical deal with the north? The past history shows that it is very difficult. This has been corroborated by Qazi Hussain Ahmed in his recent article. “Mulla Omar had refused to hand over Osama bin Laden to the Americans before the war. He is a person of such a sort that if talks are held with him, instead of inching towards any middle ground, he would insist on his earlier stance that all other parties in Afghanistan should accept him leader of the faithful and pledge allegiance to him.”

Qazi Hussain Ahmed has a stature and respect. Alas, instead of talking of the US withdrawal only, he would have offered such a formula that may make Afghanistan a better place in future. The children of Uzbeks and Tajiks, living in peaceful cities, have advanced much in the field of education during last nine years. After all, why the death and destruction is destiny of the Pakhtun children? Numerically, Taliban are elder brothers. They should once come forward and embrace the Uzbeks, Tajiks and Hazaras and suggest a practical solution to the power-sharing problem so that Afghanistan comes out of infighting. If this affection of the Taliban is not responded with affection, then no allegation could be leveled against the Taliban and the world would have to accept that Taliban want peace.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is of course a good question as to who will rule Afghanistan after the Americans have left. And yes, we have been hearing that they are leaving. No one knows when, though. The Americans did not invade Afghanistan to go after Bin Laden or Al-Quida – that was only a smoke screen to dupe and appease the American voters and any one else who was ready to buy that excuse. The real reason was the control of the region and to build Unocal oil/gas pipe-line from the Caspian region to the Arabian Sea through Afghanistan and Balochistan.

The Americans were also hoping to assert themselves, some how, (through Balkanization of Pakistan, if possible?) to have better control over Balochistan to acquire a gateway of their own into the central Asia, the same old Great Game that has been played by other empires; namely, the Russians and the British in the past and now the American empire had to try its luck. Thanks to the tenacity of the Afghans they have managed to survive each and every invasion and the invasion currently in progress may not be any different.

In Afghanistan, the rule is established on ethnic lines. The Pakhtoons make the single largest ethnic group in that country. They get additional help, when required, from the 5 million Pakhtoons in Wazeristan. The chances are that the Pakhtoons will rule Afghanistan after the Americans leave. These are the people who are also dubbed as the Taliban – the authentic Taliban, not to be confused with TTP from Wazeristan.

According to the Wikileaks, the ISI has been covertly helping the Afghan Taliban. In case they did, I am all for it. Those who have sympathy for Pakistan, such as myself, would like to see the Taliban get into power when the time comes. All other Afghan ethnic groups are in bed with India. It goes without saying that Pakistan would not like to see India on its eastern border and its undue influence at the western border as well.

As far as the question of what lessons the Americans have learned from the invasion of Iraq. Here is my take on it: first of all, the empires are too arrogant to learn any lessons. They get too big too fast and that is how they crumble under their own weight. Second, the Iraqi invasion had two goals, both achieved success. One goal was to provide strength and reassurance to Zionism (Israel) by destroying a potential threat to them in the region, and the other goal was to control Iraq’s oil fields. Both goals have been fully achieved. This is how the empires operate.


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