Unfolding of grimmer reality of Afghanistan
The new reality of what Afghanistan would look like came with a big bang outside Kabul airport on August 26 exactly 11 days after the Taliban took over the country on August 25 in a supposedly bloodless coup. More than 100 were killed and several others wounded. It was not an attack on the physical structure of the airport but a designed bid to kill the hope of those seeking to flee the land of bombs and massacres. Kabul airport had become a symbol of flight to safety for tens of thousands who thought that they have lost every stake in the land after the Taliban took over Afghanistan.
These bombings were neither the first nor the last. It is a proven fact that conflict zones evolve their own dynamics of terrorism where massacres determine power of the groups involved in contest of the control of the land. The people become cannon fodder. That is what is happening in Afghanistan. This is the reality for which United Nations or US inputs are not needed, it is a well-established pattern in the conflict areas.
Pentagon is seeking solace and trying to assure the credulous that its over-the horizon counterterrorism operation against ISIS-K planner in the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan has achieved the desired result. No one knows it better than America that all these claims are phoney. When the US itself declared that more such attacks were likely, it admitted that the future in Afghanistan is riddled with more violence. And, to be honest, the whole of the international community is groping in dark as to how to stabilise Afghanistan, where security, stability and peace has eluded the people for the past 40 years , and it won’t be an exaggeration to say that for how many more decades it would suffer like this. This is the only certainty amidst all uncertainties of the times.
The Taliban that promised peace and security in Afghanistan after taking over the control of Kabul on August 15 is accountable for what happened. That American forces were in control of the Kabul airport, and that the ISIS-K was responsible for the massacre are as glaring facts as is that the Taliban is in control of Afghanistan. The control of the country brings responsibilities in which the peace and security of the people figure on the top. Yes, there is a complicated situation, and the genuine responsibilities cannot be discharged because there are so many players in the game, some dragged by the Taliban into ensuring the next step for it, others drawn into the conflict by Pakistan. The lessons of the past are clear - no extremist force, howsoever, powerful it might be, can guarantee peace on its own or with the support of foreign powers. This is the story of the past 40 years of Afghanistan and the conflict is ongoing, the disastrous results of this would tumble out time and again on the blood-soaked landscape.
How this bloody reality can be reversed? This question can be addressed only when we know whether there are intentions to do so. And even if the intentions exist, is the atmosphere conducive in making to translate those into reality. Unfortunately, the answer to all these questions is a big no. It is a reality stemming out of the ground of Afghanistan. The burial of the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned political and peace process came when the foreign players started playing their game on the soil of Afghanistan.
Never-ever Afghans were given chance to decide their own fate in the past 40 years, and the foreign countries, guided by their lust to fish in the troubled waters and to expand their ideologies and influence, have played the role of spoilsport. The Soviet Union – America contest for supremacy in the region in Cold War era brought endless disasters in its wake. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the US’s support to Mujahedeen to fight the communist forces with the help of Pakistan created a situation where consequences were far more dangerous than anyone could have anticipated that time. To my mind, the 9/11 was just one big bang. Its larger effects were felt worldwide when the attitudes changed and the clash of ideologies became fierce. The result is that there are more violent places in the world than in 2001. The 9/11 terror attack was preceded by many terror attacks, and there were hundreds of terror attacks thereafter too. Today anti-Americanism is more widespread than it was when the US and the Soviets were engaged in their contest to capture the world by their ideologies and power.
As of today, the primary responsibility lies with the US and Pakistan to set things right in Afghanistan. Both the countries should retreat from Afghanistan. America should remove all its presence and Pakistan should take back all its “ jihadis” from its neighboring country. Let Afghans decide what they want for themselves. Today, the foreign interference is the biggest threat to Afghanistan. Taliban cannot do much on its own unless Pakistan, eternally obsessed with India, keeps on egging the militia against India and the US. Once America that has already created so many fault lines in Afghanistan keeps its hands off Afghanistan, things will chart course on their own, in a natural fashion. There is no other alternative on the horizon.