FRAGRANCE OF IDEAS
Thanks, US Joe Biden administration, Afghanistan has emerged as a fresh and long term epicentre of geopolitical chaos.....! This time US surpassed its earlier phases of diplomatic surrender, military fatigue and political defeat, as those happened in Vietnam, Iraq and elsewhere in the near past. Unfortunately, US withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan proved to be its most unprofessional military and diplomatic action leaving behind uncertainty, death, destruction, terror and possibilities of a civil war in Afghanistan.
The future US generations will definitely be forced to think retrospectively as to where they went wrong in choosing their leaders in crisis in context of Afghan situation. In order to force the then USSR (now Russia) to leave Afghanistan in 1980s, the US entered into a dangerous deal initially with the Mujahidin and later with the Taliban. The Reagon administration was the first to 'trade' with Mujahidin in 1980s paving way for a four decade long series of innumerable episodes of military and political deals, dramas, defeats, deaths and deceits. In fact, Ronald Reagon met Mujahidin leaders in the Oval office on 16 June 1986 recognising their efforts to evict USSR from Afghan soil.
US's relations with ISI of Pakistan initially were mostly driven by its 'self-interests' than by doing good to Afghans or Pakistan. US is squarely responsible for the current situation that it created for itself, Afghanistan and the world. US was instrumental to materialise ISI and militarise Mujahidin to the hilt notwithstanding the fact that the same material and military equipment could be used in different territories other than Afghanistan and Pakistan. India's Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir became the initial victims of the US policy of militarization of Afghan Mujahidin initially and Tiliban ultimately.
US had knowledge of the past experiences with Afghan leaders when under President Najibullah, Afghanistan started creating resistance to terrorist elements therein. However, Najibullah failed to give protection to his own followers in a war ridden country and so even to his own family and sent them packing to New Delhi for their security. The minority communities of Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan were forced to opt mass exodus from 1989 to 1992, the same period when mass exodus of Kashmiri Pandits took place in Kashmir. People from Afghanistan were given shelter in Delhi under the aegis of UNHCR. The minority communities were greatly helped by the then Indian ambassador to Kabul Vijay K Nambiar to make exit from the horrors for them in Afghanistan.
It all happened when Mohammed Najibullah Ahmedzai was the President of Afghanistan between 1987 and 1992. The Taliban, which captured the capital Kabul in September 1996, executed him and brutalised his body under full global glare. US knowing it fully well, left President Ashraf Gani and his family to their fate when it decided to withdraw from Afghanistan. It was good luck of Ashraf Gani that he didn't commit the same mistake of wait, watch and trust as Najibullah did, and made right decisions at the right time.
Now, when Afghanistan is in a complete crisis situation, US seems to be merely interested in saving its men and women in Afghanistan. However, it miserably failed to do that even when thirteen of its well equipped marines fell victim to a twin bomb blasts at Kabul airport despite having pre-intelligence feedback about it. It has been left to console itself with the drone bombings on ISIS camp in remote Afghanistan killing two of ISIS's men. Those other 200 men and women who were killed and wounded in the twin blasts at the airport were virtually left as orphans thereafter. Those scenes of the blasts were most painful and heart-rending.
Failures of US in Iraq gave rise to ISIS in Iraq and Syria and failures in Afghanistan give rebirth to Al Qaida against whom US made formal entry into Afghanistan post 9/11 attacks on World Trade Centre towers in New York. The fact of the matter is that currently there are three visible major terror elements in Kabul like ISIS, Al Qaida and Taliban, all equally equipped. Taliban has an extra edge since it has pounced upon the government infrastructure including the defence paraphernalia. Then there are resistance forces active in Panjshiri provincial territory with the "Working President" Saleh guiding them along with the other tribal forces. They are also equipped with highly sophisticted warfare arsenal and have given a number of signals that they were ready to fight till last leading to a situation of near civil war.
The exodus of people from Afghanistan is unbated and relentless. Scenes of people jumping over moving aeroplanes and falling from them through the air depict desperation of the people and untrustworthiness of the new regime. Truly so, the past experiences of the people and the recent dictats of the Taliban regime about women and minors in particular coupled with their on-the-ground treatment with the minor girls and their parents are enough to show the intent of theè fundamentalist regime in Kabul under Taliban. An internecine war, between opposing groups within the country or even within a terror organization is well written on the wall. It is also this developing situation which people want to avoid to be a part of.
For the Hindu and Sikh minorities in Afghanistan, it is the end of the story. Prominent among the minorities had already left Afghanistan in the early 1990s along with their kith and kin. Most of them are currently living in the US, Germany, India, UK, Belgium and Netherlands. While Anand Khanna Kabuli, a prominent activist is in the US, Dr. F.C.Chandihok, their human rights activist, is in Germany. The Indian Express reporter on 23 August 2021 reported 'that according to reports, the group of minorities fleeing their country had 24 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, including the two minority MPs, Narinder Singh Khalsa and Anarkali Kaur Honaryar'.
“India is our second home. We have been living there since generations. We pray to God that Afghanistan is rebuilt, and we can go back to tend to our gurdwaras and temples and serve the people,” Khalsa told PTI. “I thank the government of India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian Air Force for lifting us from Kabul and saving my life,” Honaryar said in a video message.
“All achievements of the last 20 years in Afghanistan have been lost. Nothing is left. It’s zero now,” said Khalsa. “I feel like crying. Everything is finished. It is a very difficult and painful decision to leave the country. We have not seen such a situation. Everything has been snatched away. It’s all over,” he said. The evacuation efforts began Friday (20 August) night, when 72 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus were moved from a gurdwara to the airport in Kabul. But they were stopped by the Taliban on Saturday, and sent back to the gurdwara. The group again made its way to the airport on Saturday, and some of them, including the two MPs, were finally allowed to board the IAF plane". “At each of the airport gates, 5,000-6,000 people were standing. Initially, we could not go inside,” said Khalsa. “Then around 8 at night, we entered the airport by a VIP entry point,” he said.
Afghanistan is now a fresh epicentre of geopolitical chaos with Taliban in the saddle in Kabul having its hands on everything that has potential to sow the seeds of third world war. The terror groups heavily militarised and technically armed like ISIS Khurasan and Al Qaida have a lot of animosity with both the Taliban and the US. In such a scenario, UN, US, NATO, India and Pakistan have a responsibility to protect the world from a future catastrophe waiting for multiple mistakes. US has an added obligation in this context as the progenitor of this huge crisis and chaos, hope it realizes its responsibility, sooner than later.
(Senior BJP & KP Leader, Incharge: J&K BJP Political Feedback Deptt, Author & Columnist. Feedback: email@example.com)