By Mir Shahid
Civilizations develop and fall with problems that hit them internally. The Indus valley civilization and the Mesopotamian civilization are but a realisation of this novel social study. The social structure apart, from mores and traditional ethos is guided and modified by religious commandments. That’s to say role of religion in shaping the social system of particular community or society is so significant to be denied. Afghanistan has been described as “Graveyard of Empires” in majority of political analysis at global stage. Afghanistan has always been a strong independent nation that no country could ever hold. It is so incredibly difficult that even Afghans themselves have a hard time controlling Afghanistan properly. Even the strongest empires of history, such as Mongols, barely had a strong grip on the main cities of Afghanistan, such as Kabul and Kandahar.
One popular story about Anglo-Afghan wars concerns the 1842 retreat from Kabul. Almost the entire 17000 strong army of the British were either captured or slaughtered. However, one Scottish surgeon was left alive, to deliver a message back to the British to never invade Afghanistan again. This stiff resistance to every invading country has left undeniable mark on the golden pages of history. What promotes such a culture of commitment to national glory and sacrifice is indeed a complex of numerous parameters. However the modern contemporary Afghanistan has left a stern message to superpowers like USSR and USA to read the idealistic pursuits of nation before any illogical and unreasonable invasion of any small nation. What prompted US to exit? Has Taliban overpowered NATO? Has Taliban’s sustenance paved way for US retreat? The like millions of questions asked these days in and around world await answers. But the way the Afghanistan reeled under severe disaster during long war battles is commendable. The story of US started in the early 21st century but the war has its origin in the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Cold war was around and the Superpowers were engaged in the win-win tussle of allies. There were either US regions or USSR regions barring some miniscule in the NAM. The Western Europe and Eastern Europe were more extreme in this case. Similarly Pakistan and India were politically aligned to two opposite poles. These and other events forced USSR to look for majority geographical area around its circle. In this scenario Soviet Union tried to fish in troubled waters of small countries. The events that occurred in the internal politics of USSR paved way and armed Soviet Union with blades to invade. Prior to the arrival of Soviet troops, Afghanistan’s communist party took power after a 1978 coup, installing Nur Mohammad Taraki as president. The party initiated a series of radical modernization reforms throughout the country that were deeply unpopular, particularly among the more traditional rural population and the established traditional power structures.
The regime’s nature of vigorously suppressing opposition, executing thousands of political prisoners and ordering massacres against unarmed civilians, led to the rise of anti-government armed groups, and by April 1979 large parts of the country were in open rebellion. The government itself experienced in-party rivalry, and in September 1979 Taraki was murdered under orders of his rival and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hafizullah Amin, which soured relations with the Soviet Union. Eventually the Soviet government, under leader Leonid Brezhnev, decided to deploy the 40th Army on December 24, 1979. Arriving in the capital Kabul, they staged a coup, killing president Amin and installing Soviet loyalist Babrak Karmal from a rival faction. The deployment had been variously called an “invasion” or a legitimate supporting intervention (by the Soviet Union and the Afghan government) on the basis of the Brezhnev Doctrine. This episode turned things sour in taste for US who tried to overthrow the Soviets through some covert means when overt measures like Resolution in Islamic Conference, UN resolutions et al failed to impact Soviet forces. As documented by the National Security Archive, “the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) played a significant role in asserting U.S. influence in Afghanistan by funding military operations designed to frustrate the Soviet invasion of that country. CIA covert action worked through Pakistani intelligence services to reach Afghan rebel groups.” Soviet troops occupied the cities and main arteries of communication, while the mujahedeen waged guerrilla war in small groups operating in the almost 80 percent of the country that was outside government and Soviet control, almost exclusively being the rural countryside. This covert Operation prepared Taliban Mujahedeens for onslaught and the Soviets ultimately left the country in the end of 20th century. Thereafter the country was ruled by Afgan Taliban with pure Islamic jurisprudence and thought.
In the aftermath of 9/11 attack where Al-qaeda was accused to have carried twin towers blasts and like in 2001. US President George W Bush demanded that the Taliban hand over Osama bin Laden and expel al-Qaeda; bin Laden had already been wanted by the FBI since 1998. The Taliban declined to extradite him unless given what they deemed convincing evidence of his involvement in the 9/11 attacks and ignored demands to shut down terrorist bases and hand over other terrorist suspects apart from bin Laden. The request was dismissed by the U.S. as a meaningless delaying tactic and it launched Operation Enduring Freedom on 7 October 2001 with the United Kingdom. The two were later joined by other forces, including the Northern Alliance troops on the ground. This initiative was carry forward through what’s termed as war on terror with active involvement of Pakistan to eliminate top Taliban leadership and introduce the western styled government or democracy and make it ideologically aligned to west. However the ideology of Resistance to invading nation like past was taken forward by Afghanistan Taliban who were armed by the coalition of Pakistan and US during Soviet struggle. What led to such steep resistance which forced 30-member NATO to ultimately reconcile with Taliban now? There are historical, cultural, global politics, religious principles and covert operation of US et Al, factors responsible for such a debacle for US hegemony in the 21st century. History has repeatedly proven the resistance of people against colonial power. The colonial prowess has always been struggled with sacrifice of millions of native citizens to achieve freedom from foreign yoke. In this case the Afghan Taliban first proved heavy for USSR forces. Culturally almost every colony perceives the encroachment of cultural values by colonial power.
Afghanistan including Taliban in this case has been much more ahead than other countries. They tried to preserve the Turban culture and Language which was antagonistic to cultural values of Hegemonic power. The Taliban although armed with modern weapons kept their identity intact through their rich cultural values. Since culture always unites under one umbrella, the Taliban sustained this identity which peeped into the social structure of society and kept their support base intact. The most reliable parameter which Taliban relied was to infuse Religious jurisprudence of Jihad against America. It’s to be noted here that immediately after Taliban’s reign started under Mula Umer, the whole government system was converted into Islamic Caliphate like structure with complete realisation of Islamic principles. This structure in some ways endorsed the ideology of Al-qaeda which was antithetical to prowess and Hegemony of America. The rise of Islam as per P Huntington thesis was taken serious by in-place US government to overpower Islamophobia. The Taliban regime or Rebels never coincided at concept of reconciliation due to extreme religious antagonism. In this way idealistic equations of allegiance were measured through prism of realism with Taliban taken as light hand force to deal with They took US invasion as threat to Islam rather than Taliban itself. As is said when the religious safety becomes priority over nation or life the concept of sacrifice in the path of Allah prepares the ground for Jihad or rebellion in layman’s terminology.
This infusion however proved worthy for sustenance of long lasted battle for a mammoth 17 years with modernised weaponry and trained forces of 30 member NATO collation. And the case of Global Politics Avant-garde of the time proved big gamble for US itself. The Francis Fukuyuma theory motivated the Americans to universalize western model which propelled the revealing invasions in remaining history. The US Ist armed Taliban or Mujahedeens with help of ISI of Pakistan against USSR. After Soviet withdrawal the Mujahedeens established their own regime which was not accepted by those who helped them. This political gamble played by west was rather taken as Islam Vs Non Islamic kingdom where Jihad became the cry of the day. Now after the exhaustive war which incurred mountainous losses on either side ,the rallying cry for reconciliation to accept the Taliban as Political force has inked new drizzle into the blossoms of Global efforts for peace and development. In the end the whole narrative can be described in saying “Son’s hindsight is father’s farsight”. The illogical and unreasonable war and invasion by Hegemony of US ist on Afghanistan followed by one on Iraq and Syria et Al are but a shining example of small nations as playing tools on chessboard of miniscule powers. The recent episode shall be a remarkable lesson for future course of action in International relations with modification of Realism with induction of idealistic principles for peace and stability. The Fukuyuma theaory and Realism have reached saturation point where only P Huntington theisis could save the Globe if taken into consideration by actual power equations. Else the poisonous toad may uncover the ugly head in form of unimaginable WWIII. Let’s hope the big powers awake from slumber after US debacle in Afghanistan.
President George W Bush demanded that the Taliban hand over Osama bin Laden and expel al-Qaeda; bin Laden had already been wanted by the FBI since 1998. The Taliban declined to extradite him unless given what they deemed convincing evidence of his involvement in the 9/11 attacks  and ignored demands to shut down terrorist bases and hand over other terrorist suspects apart from bin Laden. The request was dismissed by the U.S. as a meaningless delaying tactic and it launched Operation Enduring Freedom on 7 October 2001 with the United Kingdom. The two were later joined by other forces, including the Northern Alliance troops on the ground.
(The author can be reached email@example.com).