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  • Writer's pictureSaleem Qamar Butt

Afghan Taliban’ Second Great Victory

The fall of Kabul to victorious Taliban on 15th August 2021 was long overdue and reminded many of 'Saigon moment' of the US unceremonious exit from Vietnam on 30th April 1975. However, as expected, Taliban made it a peaceful takeover avoiding bloodshed, giving safe exit to all people fleeing Afghanistan including puppet Afghan president Ashraf Ghani and his team of lustful advisors, Afghan spies, families and supporters of invaders, foreign diplomats including invaders’ foreign missions reminding of amnesty given by the Holy Prophet Muhammad PBUH at the time of conquest of Makkah (in December 629 AD, 10–20 Ramadan, 8 AH). What a historic moment that registered victory of so called ragtag Taliban fighters who remained steadfast in the face of self-styled super power of the world along with more than 30 allied countries who had invaded their motherland for fabricated reasons and with multiple undeclared objectives and kept committing strategic blunders for 20 long years with arrogance of an imperial power intoxicated by high-tech weapons and equipment. This is of course the second great victory for the Taliban having defeated the former Soviet Union after fighting for more than 9 years (December 24, 1979 – February 15, 1989). But this time around, Taliban are showing more political maturity, magnanimity, better internal organisation and above all much enhanced stature and acceptability by regional and extra regional states like China, Russia, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Qatar, CARS and many more; all committed to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan by ensuring that the spoilers of tranquility do not succeed in initiating a civil war in Afghanistan.

In the last two years, based on my first hand experience, I have written extensively about Afghanistan and US policies with strategic recommendations to all concerned; thankfully Government of Pakistan paid heed to it, whereas US and her allies and Afghan puppet government kept getting misled by their self created academic advisers, tunnel vision think tanks and foolhardy intelligence wizards as pointed out in “US wars in Afghanistan and Vietnam”, “Looming Scenario for Afghanistan Post Doha Peace Deal”, “Kabul Crumbling yet Again”, “Let’s Make it a Graceful Exit”, “Taliban’s Victory: yet another Strategic Worry for India”, and more recently in “Pentagon’s Foolish Friends”. Ironically many Western embedded writers in Pakistan and elsewhere still continue to churn out naïve narratives and misleading data that in the first place became the raison d'être for US’ greatest politico-military failure. Once bitten twice shy, Pakistan and other like minded countries need to be extremely careful in separating the wheat from the chaff as battles of false narrative will henceforth precede and multiply as a main tool of sowing the seeds of suspicions, discord and mischief.

While American President Joe Biden is being criticized by his unenviable predecessor Trump for the outcome in Afghanistan; however, if Biden could prevail upon his incompetent advisers who continued to embarrass him till last moment before 15th August by feeding him false and faulty assessments, his name would go down in American history as a wise person. It is also a time for introspection by the American administration to take stock of their consistent failure to correctly see the bigger picture, failed policies and strategies in the last 70 years as the international community including NATO allies see the US on a downward slope due unrelenting blunders. As regards prospects of resetting Pak-US relations, attention is drawn to my latest article “Pak-US Relations: How to Bridge the Widening Gap”. POTUS Biden will have to ensure that he is not led into initiating equally costly and destabilizing covert war in Afghanistan and elsewhere or get embroiled in yet another Cold War in the Asia-Pacific region. Indian media is nevertheless gone berserk with frenzied whimpers on the social media as all Indian ambitions and conspiracies in Afghanistan and Central Asia have been blunted successfully. Indian 20 years’ investment in Afghanistan to pose a multi-dimensional and two-front war against Pakistan stands quashed and his proxies are running out like scared rats. India stands exposed and embarrassed as a Bollywood heroine after face wash; with a badly exposed false image created in the region as a strategic partner of America that could step over Pakistan and deliver against China. Nevertheless, Pakistan will have to ensure that PTM and BLA/BRA approximately 15000 terrorists and saboteurs operating from Afghan soil as Indian trained and funded proxy (akin to Mukti Bahni of Agartala 1968-71 as a proxy in former East Pakistan) meet their natural end right there with no mercy for their political handlers inside Pakistan. A lot of emotional symbolism is being attached to the date of Taliban’ victory on 15th August; i.e. Indian Independence Day is observed as a black day in IIOJ&K and henceforth in Afghanistan too for their dirty role as spoilers of peace there.

While it is moment of great pride as well as thankfulness to Almighty for the people and Afghan Taliban, they must not ever forget the extreme endurance shown by Pakistan in hosting millions of Afghan refugees for over 40 long years; besides Pakistan taking all blames, accusations, pressures and multi-dimensional international coercion under the blame for supporting Taliban. Besides, acknowledgements are due for Pakistan’s key role to make Taliban sit on the dialogue table with USA in February 2020; an opportunity deliberately missed by cowardly runaway Ashraf Ghani who continued to spit out RAW-NDS mixed venom till disgracefully boarding out plane for his eventual hideout with his sponsors. Moreover, Pakistan’s continued efforts, which paved the way for peace returning to Afghanistan need to be appreciated by the people of Afghanistan, the Taliban, the USA, regional and extra regional countries and all other stakeholders in Afghanistan. The people of Pakistan in particular should also thank Almighty Allah and greatly appreciate the Armed Forces particularly the Pak Army, all law enforcement and national intelligence agencies who successfully defeated all nefarious designs to shift the war on Pakistan soil. It is hard earned victory against global terrorism that was unleashed on Pakistan at a great social, economic and human cost; the immense sacrifices rendered by the people and Armed force must be remembered with reverence in all times to come(a lot of payers for all martyrs and Ghazi).

As highlighted earlier in a number of previous columns and analyses papers, while the peace process will take time to settle in Afghanistan, Pakistan must not suffer from complacency on any front. Pakistan has to brace up for a host of diplomatic, political, economic and military eventualities without any waste of time. The pitfalls of a potential civil war or at least political mayhem cannot be brushed aside. The war of narratives already in motion to further malign Pakistan, attempts to bolster proxies within Afghanistan to create geographic or ethnic division, heightened covert war inside Pakistan to exacerbate law and order situation in the urban centers, efforts to generate political chaos by on the anvil corrupt political elite, flux of refugees, efforts to create cleavage among Pakistan, Turkey, Iran and other Muslim states, targeting BRI/CPEC projects, energising ETIM against China are some of the important aspects that need detailed preparations and timely firm response. China in coordination with Russia, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and Central Asian Republics will have to take the lead role in handling the Afghan situation being the strategic competitor of the USA. It goes without saying that the Taliban will need a lot of political, diplomatic and economic support from regional countries as well as the larger international community to bring around an inclusive political dispensation for long term stability in their war ravaged country. Meanwhile, Pakistan needs to keep international borders with Afghanistan sealed and effectively monitored to avoid repeat of history besides maintaining high vigil on internal security and along the Eastern front. Allah blesses Pakistan and Afghanistan. Ameen!

16 August 2021

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