British tabloid terms US President as ‘Joke Biden’. When this article is being filed, Taliban fighters are storming into houses in Afghanistan in search of young girls and women. They are raping them in front of the family members and taking them for sexual enslavement. The dream of a new Afghanistan, free from evil influence of radical Islam and jihadism was conceived in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks: to enable the development of a progressive, pluralistic, democratic Afghanistan, liberated from the draconian Taliban regime and its regressive legacies. According to analysts, that dream of a new Afghanistan is now lamentably truncated as the Taliban took over Kabul, buoyed by their success in several other provinces, and enabled by the Biden administration’s indifference. If the United States doesn’t urgently provide material and symbolic support to the Afghan people and ensure that the Taliban exercises moderation in its governance, the ambition of a democratic Afghanistan may be forgotten forever. It will be a shame for the United States—the boldest champion of democratic development in the world.
Prakhar Sharma, a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at Maxwell School, Syracuse University said: for the last twenty years, the vision of a new Afghanistan that would democratically represent the aspirations of its largely young population, negotiate its internal strife, and become a meaningful stakeholder in regional development inspired millions of young Afghans. After experiencing unceasing death, destruction, and despair brought by the Soviet invasion, civil war, and by the Taliban regime, Afghans longed for peace and stability and a political order that would be representative of their collective aspirations. That dream was mercilessly compromised, first by a desperate deal between the United States and the Taliban that would relegate the Afghan state to the role of a spectator in its own future, and then by a hasty withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, leaving the Afghan forces vulnerable to the Taliban.
Scores of Afghans have been perishing daily, mostly in the hands of the Taliban—a Pashtun-dominated armed group that was ousted from power in 2001 and is now back in Kabul after a twenty-year-long war. Members of the Afghan government and its armed forces; private organizations; civilians, activists, and artists; schoolteachers and students; men, women, and children—No one in Afghanistan is spared the humiliation of living in a context where daily survival from violence is now an unstated accomplishment.
Many would argue that the Afghan state is fundamentally flawed, corrupt, deeply unstable, predatory, and ineffectual. The incompetence of the Afghan state, they many would contend, fueled support for the Taliban. They are right. The Afghan state is unable to communicate its moral authority to most Afghans, and it is hapless against the inflating expectations of the population. But many of its imperfections are hard to separate from U.S. policies in Afghanistan. It was irresponsible for the United States to encourage and incentivize deal-making over formal institution building for twenty years and then blame Afghan culture for not being ripe for democratic development. Or to create a winner-takes-all electoral system and then pin the electoral chaos on Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani. Or fight proxy wars by empowering warlords and delegitimizing the very government it supported. Or build Afghan national security forces in a way that would have them rely heavily on American equipment, and then decide to withdraw without a plan to sustain those arrangements. So, while we rightly point to the dysfunctions of the Afghan state, we should also take a moment to reflect on the US role in systematically enabling those dysfunctions.
It may be mentioned here that, Prakhar Sharma has studied in Afghanistan since 2006 and lived in the country for four years between 2006 and 2016. So, his knowledge on Afghan issues is certainly based on ground realities.
In my opinion, to Afghan Taliban leaders and fighters, withdrawal of US and NATO troops is certainly been seen as “victory of Islamic jihad” against the “enemies of Allah”. This withdrawal is being celebrated by the Taliban as it had been following Soviet Union’s retreat from the country. Taliban may now think, Afghanistan is the ‘Islamic Emirate’ that should patronize, shelter and encourage other jihadist forces including Al Qaeda and Islamic State (ISIS). The ultimate consequence of what is happening in Afghanistan now is dangerous.
Please follow Blitz on Google News channel