The Changing Environs

Taliban is “an armed insurgency” rather than a “terrorist organisation”, thus the White House spokesperson accords legitimacy,, almost, to Afghanistan’s resistance.
The Changing Environs
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Taliban is "an armed insurgency" rather than a "terrorist organisation", thus the White House spokesperson accords legitimacy,, almost, to Afghanistan's resistance.

United States of America finally accrediting Taliban, in default if not more explicitly, is a clear acknowledgement of Afghanistan's complexities by the so-called superpower.

For that matter, wherever, America has intervened militarily or sought to occupy a land, may it be, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, and its continued meddling in other Muslim countries, it has only added to the complexities of the problems rather than resolving any.

This week only, I asked an Indian journalist friend, (who had the good fortune of covering the beginning of American intervention in Afghanistan after the incident of 9/11, from Peshawar for almost five weeks) could he then anticipate that America sometimes in future will be forced to accept Taliban as a legitimate stakeholder in Afghan conundrum?

Presently when America is negotiating to minimise its ever-expensive involvement in Afghanistan— costing it hundreds of billions of dollars—this question may sound to be a bit out-of-place. Recall the moment after 9/11, when America, deeply hurt and with badly bruised ego, driven by a war of vengeance, had invaded Afghanistan.

That it described as a global "war on terror". America had vowed to obliterate forever, the "barbaric" "inhuman" and "medieval" Taliban from the face of earth.

America in hubris had also undertaken the mission to bring western style democracy to tribal Afghanistan. In this backdrop America conceding even a partial legitimacy to Taliban, is enough of indication that much water has flown down the Kabul River, since 2001.      

The journalist friend responded in somewhat nuanced manner; "In Peshawar each and every person well-versed with the complexities of Afghanistan had sufficient reason to believe and told us that America has willingly walked into a trap, but the gung-ho embedded Western media had made the world believe that the annihilation of Taliban is already a foregone conclusion".  

Afghans are indomitable, is a historical fact. Americans finally coming to realize this very fact only after being confronted by the resilience of Taliban brings to fore two undeniable realities; that if a nation decides to stand against the occupation it can never be brought to submission against its will; that after all there is a limit to every power.   

America after a bloody war of attrition, compelled to recognise the complexities of Afghanistan, undoubtedly is a remarkable development. That apparently brightens the prospects of peace in the war ravaged Afghanistan. Maybe this is not to be a true expectation. Perhaps peace in Afghanistan is still a pipe-dream.

Afghanistan has been at the crossroads for many decades now. Taliban, however, are more at the crossroads at the present juncture.   The idea of peace in Afghanistan is captive to the question that how Taliban will evolve in the coming days?  

International recognition, even if tentative one, burdens Taliban, with a genuine expectation that in search of peace, it will strive to find accommodation with all the indigenous stakeholders of Afghanistan. In worst case scenario, the newfound recognition of Taliban may eventually deepen the stalemate in Afghanistan. 

Taliban were not trounced.

Yet it's equally true that Taliban too are not fully triumphed.  A superpower is ultimately constrained by the limits of power—every power in the end is limited. Similarly will Taliban also realise that resistance is sustainable up to a point only. Will Taliban ever recognise that there are other ethnic and political, moreover legitimate stakeholders in Afghanistan?

Is Taliban prepared to sit across the table, with the government of President Ashraf Ghani, to work for a power sharing agreement? Or else Taliban in pursuance of its traditional, all or nothing approach, will continue to condemn the President Ashraf Ghani's government, as a puppet regime? Stagnation is in death only; everything else is dynamic and evolving.

From a successful resistance, is it possible for Taliban to evolve into one of the significant or for that matter, primary stakeholder of peace in Afghanistan?  The real prospects of peace in Afghanistan, truly depends upon the question whether Taliban is capable of undertaking this quintessential transformation. 

 Then the questions are already being raised, does Taliban still remain an effective organisation under the command of Mullah Omar? Where is Mullah Omar?

Some western intelligence sources speculate that he may have died some years ago.  Taliban doesn't harbour any extra-territorial ambitions, is a well acknowledged fact. Yet the questions remain, as an ideological movement will it continue to pursue the complete destruction of present Afghan state apparatus?

The emergence of ISIS—Islamic State of Iraq and Syria— has already created an upheaval in the West. In this highly perilous security environment, will America and its allies, allow the complete destruction of Afghan state? In whatever manner and affect, Kabul regime continues to survive presently, is hardly an issue.  

Pakistan Army chief, General Raheel Sharif, during his second visit to Kabul, in as many as months and third overall, this week, is reported to have assured the Afghan leadership that; "The enemies of Afghanistan are the enemies of Pakistan. We stand shoulder to shoulder with Afghanistan in the fight against terrorism".

If General Raheel Sharif really means what he has stated, then this statement hardly requires any further elucidation. Who is the enemy of Kabul regime other than the Taliban? Few months back Islamabad was deemed to be the only other detractor.

And if Kabul and Islamabad have reached to an understanding about a "common enemy", this fully reveals the apprehensions of Pakistan about any further instability in Afghanistan. Peace in Pakistan is solely dependent upon some semblance of stability Kabul regime is able to carry forward, if not peace entirely.

And if Pakistan continues to be trapped more in chaos, how long can India remain immune to the instability in its immediate neighbourhood?

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