Taliban fighters entre Kabul

 The Taliban victory is an utter political humiliation for US and its allies who have been spending millions in Afghanistan.  

by Dr SLM Rifai

It is often said that no nation has managed to invade Afghanistan in its history. Neither British nor Russians managed to occupy Afghanistan except for a few years. Today, history is repeating itself in Afghanistan soil. A nation of around 30 million population is very much resilient in its struggle for its political freedom.  It has been a graveyard for foreign armies and military power. US with its allies have been fighting for decades in Afghanistan. It has  spent billions of  dollars in Afghanistan war.  US has learned its historical lessons and decided to withdraw its troops. It is a moral victory for Taliban and a psychologicaldefeat for the mighty military of USA. USA has created a mess in many Muslim countries, and it has toppled some legitimate governments in Arab and Muslim countries. It has utterly failed in its foreign policies towards Muslim countries. Nothing illustrates this failure than their phycological defeat in Afghanistan.

Taliban fighters patrol a street in the city of Herat. [Reuters]

The Taliban victory is an utter political humiliation for US and its allies who have been spending millions in Afghanistan. Many western experts, diplomats, and politicians have said that this is a moral, psychological, and political defeat for the west. Now, it is very much clear that Taliban will form a new government. Will the West  happily accept and recognise the new government run by Taliban? What about so-called human right violation by Taliban? What about those resentments between the West and Taliban in the past? Will there be any reconciliation between Taliban and the West? Will the US take revenge from Taliban or reconciles with its? Will US put sanctions on the new Afghanistan government? 

            It looks that the Afghanistan politics is entering a new phase. It is going to be hotspot for a new geopolitical tension between China, and USA once again. China, Russia, Pakistan, and Iran will be on one side. USA, India, and the West will be on the other side of this geopolitical competition.All these countries have an eye on Afghanistan.The Western countries have spent millions on Afghanistan. Now what will they get in return?  Does Taliban leadership has got enough diplomatic and political wisdom and stratagems to play around with these countries? Can Taliban do politics with all these political and geopolitical resentments and hostilities? Today no country could survive economically and politically without outside support and help. Can Taliban win over the goodwill of local and international community?  Will UN recognise new government in Afghanistan?Will Taliban rule be a viable alternative? What would be the next move of Western counties on this matter. British Parliament has already allocated a day to debate this matter. 

Taliban has been depicted by many western governments as an evil radical group.Much has been said and written about them negatively for the last three decades and yet, today, it looks that Taliban has reincarnated with a new image in a dynamic and vibrant force. What has changed the mindsets of Taliban? What made them to change their mind set and political philosophy? Why do I say that Taliban has changed? It is reported that Taliban has captured the former War-Lord Ismail Khan and yet, Taliban leadership has protected him.  Even they have given him security and let him live in his own house with all protection. Can you imagine this would have happened two decades ago with old Taliban regime?  This time, people have welcomed them in all the cities they have captured, and Taliban leadership has asked their fighters not to harm any public. They have given protection for the members of army who have surrendered so far. An amnesty declaration was made by Taliban to all government officers.  No one will be harmed, and no revenge will be taken.  This time, Taliban have radically changed their mission and vision. 

People of Afghanistan have been suffering for more than 40 years now.  People are frustrated with the political leaders for the last 40 years. Politicians are corrupt in Afghanistan like in many Muslim countries. So, people want to see a change in politics. They want to see a change in government. They want to free the country from the grip of corrupt political leaders. People no longer tolerate the corrupt political system in Afghanistan. That is why people are supporting Taliban.? 

       Taliban  have realised that they have made many mistakes in the past. They undermined the human right issues, education of Muslim girls, rights of different ethnic and religious minority groups and they tried to apply rigid form of Islamic rules in the past. They have realised they have made some grave mistakes in their local and international politics. They have realised that they have made some mistake in their public relation. They have realised that they have made some mistakes in their geopolitical relations, and in their hostile attitudes towards different political and military groups. For instance, some radical groups destroyed the historical monuments  of Buddha status in Banyan. I do not think Taliban will make such mistakes this time. Taliban leadership knows well that geopolitics has dramatically changed today than 20 years ago. It looks that they have renewed their Islamic learning once again. It looks that they have more flexible and lenient political and religious ideologies this time. It looks that they have learned some good lessons from the past mistakes. So, I do not think that Taliban leadership will repeat the past mistakes this time. I hope that it will give freedom for girls to go to schools and it will give freedom for ladies to work. Likewise, people will be given more freedom. 

     Moreover, their understanding of Islamic teachings too has dramatically changed. Taliban are no longer following outdated Islamic rulings rather they are reading the  current socio-political, economic, educational, and religious problems from a holistic perspective of the general philosophy of Islamic law ( Maqasid al-Shariah). They go beyond the literal meanings of the texts to understand the rationale of religious texts in their application. They go beyond the legal schools of law to find the viable solutions for their religious problems. It looks that they have dramatically changed in their politics and policies. They will try to understand the social realties of modern digital world. They will try to understand the modern geopolitical realities between China and US as of today. They will try to understand the regional geopolitical tension between India and Pakistan, and they will try to understand the geopolitical tension between India and China. Taliban know the limits and limitation of applying Islamic rules in the modern world. They know well what aspect of Islamic shariah is viable today and what aspects of Islamic law is not viable today. A lot of thought transformations  are taking place among Islamic groups. There are so many moderate people in the high ranking of Taliban. They are good experts in geopolitics. So, they will not be repeating the past mistakes once again. So, it is in the  interest of the West to let the tree of democratic traditions grow gradually in Afghanistan . It is in the interest of neighbouring countries to promote the democracy in Afghanistan. 

Views expressed in this article are the author’s own not necessarily reflects the views of Sri Lanka Guardian’s editorial 

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