Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Founding Chair GSRRA, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, and Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization). (E-mail: email@example.com).
Very unfortunately, Afghanistan suffered a four-decade war. On 25 December 1979, the former USSR invaded Afghanistan, which followed the American-led war against USSR’s occupation, which prolonged for one decade. The next decade was a war among various factions and political groups in Afghanistan in a power struggle, and then the US making a lame excuse of engineered 9/11 drama, invaded Afghanistan. With the support of 58 countries, the US invaded and fought for almost two decades, yet, have to leave Afghanistan with humility. After killing millions of Afghans, Forcing millions to flee the country, damaging millions of houses, forcing millions to live in refugee camps or flee to neighboring countries, and totally damaging the infrastructure, the US finally has to leave Afghanistan. Although there were huge losses of the human lives of the US and its allies, and heavy economic losses, estimated up to Trillions of US dollars, yet, have not conquered the country.
The Current situation in Afghanistan is complex and rapidly evolving. Since the United States began its withdrawal from the country in 2021, the Taliban has made significant territorial gains, capturing several key provinces and even provincial capitals. The Taliban took over power on 15 August 2021.
The Taliban is an Islamist extremist group that emerged in the early 1990s and took control of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. During their previous rule, the Taliban implemented a strict interpretation of Sharia law, which resulted in widespread opposition from the Western World. With the recent Taliban advances, there are growing concerns that their return to power could lead to a similar conservative regime.
However, this time Taliban has been reformed and become moderate and more smart. They have not exercised the strict and conservative approach. They have shown a high degree of tolerance and have not taken revenge. They have pardoned all and created harmony in society.
The Positive Aspects of Taliban Rule
The recent transition of power in Afghanistan has brought about several positive changes under Taliban rule. Despite acknowledging the complexities of the situation, it's essential to highlight some potential improvements that have emerged during this period:
Stability and Security: The Taliban's control has brought a degree of stability to certain regions, particularly in areas where they have a strong presence. This has allowed for a semblance of law and order, which can be beneficial for communities affected by years of conflict. For four decades of foreign intervention, the law and order situation deteriorated and killing was a very common phenomenon there, but, since the Taliban take over, precious human lives are safe to a large extent. The crime rate has been reduced significantly. The reduction in violence across some parts of Afghanistan has provided an opportunity for civilians to live in relatively safer environments. Families can now engage in their daily activities with a decreased fear of bombings and attacks.
Local Governance and Justice: The Taliban has focused on establishing local governance structures, which aim to address the immediate needs of communities. Their approach emphasizes traditional forms of justice, which some locals find familiar and may provide a sense of familiarity and order. After four decades of injustice by foreign invaders, people feel great relief. Especially during two decades of American occupation, the human right violations exceeded to an unbelievable degree, torture, detention, and execution was very common. The so self-proclaimed civilized nation exhibits extreme violations of human rights and injustice. They used the lame excuse of human rights violation and denied the recognition of Taliban rule. It is obvious they have no moral grounds to use this excuse as they are themselves violators of human rights imposing war on Afghanistan and illegitimately occupied for two decades. On the other hand, the two countries that have surpassed the record of human rights violations are India and Israel, yet, very dear to America and the entire Western world.
Infrastructure Development: In certain regions, the Taliban has expressed intentions to invest in infrastructure projects. This commitment to development could potentially improve the quality of life for local populations, providing them with better access to essential services such as healthcare, education, and transportation. Some foreign countries are helping in the reconstruction of war-torn nations. China is playing a vital role in the restoration and building of infrastructure.
Women's Rights: While there have been concerns regarding women's rights under Taliban rule, the group has made statements expressing a willingness to respect women's rights within the framework of Islamic law. Some positive steps, such as allowing women to return to work and pursue education in segregated settings, have been reported in limited areas. Taliban has provided protection to women, unlike the era under US occupation, where they were forced to become agents of the CIA and used as spies or forced to become sex workers.
Regional Stability: The Taliban's control over certain parts of Afghanistan has influenced regional dynamics. Neighboring countries have engaged in diplomatic discussions with the Taliban, aiming to foster stability and potentially resolve long-standing issues through peaceful means.
However, the suffering of the people of Afghan has not reached an end yet. Mostly is economic suffering due to the outside world. First of all, none of the countries has recognized Taliban rule nor the UN. Strict sanctions are imposed on the Taliban, and bans on their travel, economic sanctions, trade embargo, etc., all have squeezed the people of Afghanistan. They are experiencing a shortage of fuel, food, and electricity, especially in winter, the suffering of the common man is a more serious concern.
The Way Forward
The US and its allies, deliberately harm the Taliban in revenge for their humiliating defeat and isolated them from the rest of the world, it is well understood. But, the counter-balancing powers like China and Russia may take the lead in recognizing the Taliban, giving them legitimacy and opportunity to revive Afghanistan. There might be some concern of Russia and China with the Taliban, but, these issues can be well addressed if they establish diplomatic relations and engage them in a positive manner. It is believed, the Taliban are reformed and well-educated, and can understand global concerns. If Russia and China recognize the Taliban, all of its neighbors, SCO member states, and OIC countries will follow them soon. A stable and strong Afghanistan will ensure peace and stability in the entire region.
Contrarily, the US has lost the entire region and may be trying to re-enter in any manner. If the Taliban are not supported, desperately, they might make any deal with the US. Most likely, the West may re-enter Afghanistan under the umbrella of humanitarian assistance – a frequently used slogan. To counter American influence in the entire region, regional powers like Russia and China may extend a helping hand to the Taliban and observe a proactive approach.
The ultimate goal is to end the suffering of Afghan people who have been in a state of war for the last four decades. The development of Afghanistan will ensure the prosperity of the whole region.
(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)