After all that Pakistan did for the Taliban over the two decades they were fighting against the US-backed Afghan Republic, there was a legitimate expectation in Islamabad that this time around the Taliban would show much greater gratitude and accede to Pakistan’s wish-list on a range of issues.
Ever since the Taliban have re-established their Emirate in Kabul, there is not a single issue on Pakistan’s wish-list that has been ticked by the Taliban : Accepting Durand Line as Border? No; Expelling Baloch insurgents? No; Dismantling, degrading and destroying Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)? No; Keeping India out? No; Inclusive government? No; Allowing education for girls and giving women rights? No!
Education of children, especially girls, is something that many developing countries are paying special attention to. This is in keeping with the international law obligation under Article 28 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989 (CRC), which requires States Parties to “Make primary education compulsory and available free to all”. The same Article also obliges States Parties to make secondary and higher education accessible to all.
Dear Mr. President,
Let’s not abandon Afghanistan again!
At the end of November 1998, three years before his trip to Europe, Commander Massoud, entrenched in northern Afghanistan, besieged on all sides by the Pakistan-backed Taliban, wrote me a long text.
Five pages in which he explained the dramatic situation in his country, the yoke that women were under, the danger that the Taliban represented for the whole world, the threat of Al-Qaeda, the urgency of helping it. He also denounced Pakistan’s role in the war. All these accusations and warnings were repeated, almost word for word, in April 2001 before the European Parliament.
The terrible images of the abandonment of Kabul, with its groups of desperate Afghans clinging to the cabin of an American military plane ready to take off without them, will never stop haunting us. They confirm, twenty years after 9/11, that no lesson can be drawn from history, contrary to what has been preached on all the airwaves, all the platforms. Faced with Islamism, which, from Nice and Saint-Etienne-du Rouvray to Kunduz and Kandahar, slits the throats of both near and far, the “Never again” preachers, under their false airs of optimism, are nothing but pledges of resignation.
The whole world was stunned at the overwhelming images of Afghan civilians clinging, by dozens, to the cabins of American military planes, which were about to take off from Kabul airport, abandoning them to their sad fate under the Taliban cut back to power, twenty years after being driven out, in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001.
A tragic and unbearable distress which leaves no one indifferent. Almost nobody. Because, during this time, in the supposedly moderate Islamist circles, which advocate a “political Islam” known as “golden mean”, supposed to be the exact opposite of the obscurantist and medieval doctrine of the Taliban, some self-congratulate, in an obscene delight, of a “grandiose victory” falling under the “divine will”!
One cannot understand Afghanistan if one does not know its history, written in wars and punctuated by invasions from Alexander the Great, to the Soviets (20th century), via the Mongols (13th century) and, of course, the British in the 19th century. Each occupation obviously provoked a war of liberation until the invaders left. And every liberation of the country has been followed by a civil war. This is the Afghan curse. Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw the last 2,500 American soldiers, along with 7,700 NATO and allied troops, may therefore have far-reaching consequences.
The news from Afghanistan are very disturbing. In less than a week, the Taliban seized half of the capitals of the Afghan provinces. They now control most of the country’s northern, western and southern provinces. Kabul, Mazar-e Charif and Jalalabad are the only major Afghan cities that escape, but for how much longer, their regained control over the country.
On September 7th, after a series of attacks perpetrated by Talibans against Afghan population and authorities, not to mention the 14 000 American soldiers stationed in the country, American President, Donald Trump, in one of his famous tweets, decided to put an end to a year of talks with the Talibans. Talks that were supposed to terminate an 18-year-old conflict.