The world considers Afghanistan as a friend. The people of Afghanistan also view the world as a friendly community. Only the Taliban do not fit in this vast landscape of mankind. Taliban’s cult of violence is responsible for such a world view. It needs to change this perception. Only the Taliban can do it. There is no credible government in sight even after a month of the formal withdrawal of the American forces from Afghanistan. On the other hand, an Afghanistan Government in Exile has been set up by the former Vice President, Amrullah Saleh, on 30th September 21 in Switzerland. Saleh had declared himself as the Acting President of Afghanistan when President Ghani fled the country.
Even China has changed drastically. The Chinese President Xi Jinping addressing the UNGA said “peace and development remain the underlying trend of the times, and people everywhere crave even more strongly for peace, development and win-win cooperation. The baton of history has been passed to our generation, and we must make the right choice, a choice worthy of the people’s trust and of our times. Let us join hands to uphold the values of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom shared by all of us and build a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind. Together, we can make the world a better place for everyone”.
It would have been considered rebellion during the lifetime of Mao Zedong to even think on these lines. An estimated 20 million people were killed and the economy was ruined in the name of cultural revolution. Traditional culture of China suffered greatly. The Tiananmen Square peaceful protests in 1989 by students for human rights and democracy were quelled by the Army, killing large number of unarmed students and other civilians. But China quickly learnt its lessons.
Today it has arrived where all member countries converge: peace and development.
It is a revolutionary change that should inspire people trapped in the cult of violence in the name of religion or political ideology or any other dogma.
The world is a lovely place to live. It is a silly idea to condemn it and seek a non-existent heaven. Only the moonstruck people dream such illusions. Religious hierarchies exploit the concepts of heaven and hell, even though it is they who have turned this heaven of our beloved Earth to hell inflicting the wounds of climate change, pandemic and starving masses.
The right thinking people have put out a vision for development and prosperity of all mankind. It is democracy, equality of men and women, universal education, employment, livelihood opportunities, peace, cooperation and justice.
Humanity has to respond positively to mankind.
The Taliban have an opportunity to be one with mankind. Instead it is provoking of them to threaten return of executions.
The tragedy with Afghanistan is its proximity to Pakistan.
Even if the Taliban were to decide to join the modern democratic order, Pakistan will not allow it to do so.
For Pakistan, the Taliban are a godsend for shifting its terror factories to Afghanistan.
After the Osama Bin Laden incident Pakistan has been exposed as the greatest danger to peace and democracy in the modern world.
It has been desperately looking for a way to shed that tag of being the world’s terror factory, which it had earned after perfecting the art of deceiving the civilized countries and practising it as a powerful weapon of state policy.
Afghanistan under the Taliban will suffer and come under pressure to buy humanitarian aid from Pakistan, for which the latter would ask for re-locating its factories of terrorism to the Afghan land. It has already made a hero of Osama Bin Laden and may even sell the notion of celebrating his services by creating terror infrastructure in the Tora Bora hills region, which is part of the imaginary Khorasan.
Pakistan stands isolated in the world today because it has refined the mechanism of using terrorism as a State Policy.
It has forfeited the trust of even the Muslim countries because they too, like the rest of the world, fear its nasty terrorism operations and blackmail in the name of Islam.
So, Pakistan has come to heavily rely on China, the only country supporting it for its policy. It is under the illusion of sustaining terrorism under the patronage of China. China is pursuing its own policy in the region.
The china policy has two important parts. The China Pakistan Economic Cooperation is one part. Pakistan’s politicians and army general have already sold out its economic interests to China making their country so poor that the masses are starving due to very high inflation and non-availability of essential food items like flour, rice, lentils, sugar, edible oil etc. Besides, Pakistan has taken so much loan from China that it will not be able to service the debt in time.
Pakistan is in the grey list of FATF (Financial Action Task Force) for funding terrorism and money laundering. It is going to be included in the black list soon. In such a situation, it will have to sell its territory to China, which it is slowly and surreptitiously doing in Gilgit Baltistan and POK and which it is keen to do in Afghanistan too both for China as well as itself.
The CPEC sounds the danger bell for Pakistan, its assets already hypothecated to China. If the Taliban government of Afghanistan still closes its eyes to the reality of the developing economic and political situation in Pakistan and the region, it will only harm itself and the people of Afghanistan. China will not allow the Taliban government to survive long for its Mullahs are a threat to China equally as they are restless to do something striking in Uighur in China. China being a communist country has never supported the Mullahs in Uighur.
The equally important second part is China’s eagerness to trap the QUAD powers in Afghanistan, away from the South China Sea.
It was surprised, like the British government, by the sudden exit of America from Afghanistan. Keeping America and the NATO countries in Afghanistan was serving the Chinese interests without a penny of investment.
Now these countries are moving to the south China sea under the banner of the QUAD(Quadrilateral Security Dialogue of US, India, Japan and Australia). It places heavy costs on China besides compelling it to concentrate on the south China sea region or the larger pacific region. It has started threatening countries like Australia after the AUKUS (Australia UK US) trilateral security pact was announced on 15 September 2021.
This trilateral pact engages China far away but relieves the US and NATO from Afghanistan.
It is a major tactical shift.
It is going to redefine the rules of global engagement by shifting the theatre of conflict to a new conflict zone.
This shift will force China to seek as many concessions from Pakistan and the Taliban as it can extract in the shortest possible time in exchange for its support to the Taliban government. It might seek land in Afghanistan similar to what Pakistan has gifted to it in Gilgit Baltistan, POK and Baluchistan.
China might initiate the historic instability in Afghanistan whose name has undergone several changes in the last 5000 years. For those same historic reasons, China now wants to capture the Afghan territory too. Afghanistan was and remains one of the most important trade routes in Asia connecting it to Europe. It is akin to the Chinese concept of the Bridges and Roads Initiative (BRI). China has been looking for the facilities to re-open the famed “silk route”. It needs the territories acquired from Pakistan and seeks from the Taliban to complete its BRI project. Once it gains foothold in Afghanistan, the Taliban would be too pigmy to resist the giant.
With active support of Pakistan, China will succeed in Afghanistan, unless developments in the South China Sea take place fast forcing it to concentrate first on the region leaving Afghanistan to Pakistan to manage it as China’s Satrap, like Alexander the Great had done in Afghanistan of the ancient times.
The Afghanistan of Alexander’s time was famous for its thinkers, writers, philosophers and poets. Today’s Afghanistan has only Mullahs to boast about. That Afghanistan overthrew the Arab Muslim dynasty and took over the reins, redefined Islam to suit its purpose and did not resort to the violence perpetrated by the present day Taliban. The history of violence in that Afghanistan is engrossing to understand how the cult of violence succeeds in a society rich in knowledge in science, astrology, philosophy etc. besides a talent pool of highly skilled elite in many fields. But China is not planning to settle down in Afghanistan for research in ancient Afghan history or learn philosophy or Afghan poetry. It will only spur the Taliban to destroy all such remnants of history and eliminate any surviving advocate or practitioner of the past skills as they had done to the Bamiyan Buddhas.
The Taliban have not expressed any desire for reconciliation. They have not regretted killing the innocent. They have not announced cessation of executions or amputations at the behest of the Mullahs. The Mullah of Kabul has called for treating the workers of the previous government as “spies” and asked for death for them. Torturing people by hanging them by the crane or tied to the pole are released to terrorise the ordinary people and make their intentions of governing by the gun and not the constitution clear. The Taliban have started ethnic cleansing by asking the Hazara community to leave their houses. Is this how the Taliban government wants the world to take their words of a changed Taliban at face value?
If the Taliban continue to go on indulging in acts of savagery and brutality to the people, they will end up forfeiting human faith in them. The Taliban are perceived by the world presently as extremely dehumanised. Unless they separate governance and religion and relieve the Mullahs of powers of governance, it is going to end up worse than its mentor Pakistan. The Mullahs in Pakistan have not been able to become powerful enough to punish the army generals. On the contrary the generals have punished the mullahs whenever it was necessary.
Without a radically reformed religious ideology, the Taliban have no future in the world today.