The contemporary world is yet suffering the consequences of the US- USSR cold war of which Afghanistan is a live example. What’s going on in Afghanistan derives its roots from the last century. What led Afghanistan to this sorrowful fate ? Was it only Taliban, only US ? Or there are big hands involved ? What were the blunders US did in re- forming Afghanistan Defence Forces ? Let’s try to conceptualise and summarise.
History of Afghanistan
According to studies, Afghanistan was not always a place of turmoils and bloodsheds as it is visible today. Historians believe that it was a peaceful and full of prosperity, beauty e and immense wealth. It was called Gandhar then whose existence is approved by the present city of Kandhar. Experts believe that ‘Gandhar’ had a vast geographical stretch it is said that it covered the areas of present day North Pakistan and East Afghanistan. According to archaeological surveys the greatly stretched land was also spread to Pathohar valley and Peshawar valley of Pakistan and Kabul.
Demography of Ancient Afghanistan
“Kandhar is this city of Rajputs” writes Al-Masudi (c. 935 CE), Arab scholar who is widely considered as Herodotus of Arabs. What’s even interesting is that Rajput kept on fighting Islamic invaders till the end of 10th century, subverting the plots of Arab caliphates. An Ekamukhalinga found in Afghanistan of the same period projects a very distinctive Corpus of religious imagery. Sculpted in white marvel, right now finds itself in metropolitan Museum of art at New York. The invasions in India started in 7th century AD with the invasion of Arabs. The all conquering Arab suffered their first defeat in ‘Hindu’ Afghanistan. The kingdoms of Kabul and Zabul had held of Arab invaders.
What Do Hindu Texts Say
‘Gandhar’ finds its first mention in Uttar kand of Valmiki Ramayan and Mahabharat by Ved Vyas. ‘Gandhar’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Gandha’ which means fragrance, so ‘Gandhar’ means ‘the land of fragrances’. As per texts, people used to live on the banks of river Kabul (Kabol or Kubha) right tell its confluence with the river Indus since the Vedic times. According to studies, the land of ‘Gandhar’ what’s the significant route for commercial purposes to ancient Iran, India and Central Asia.
The Journey from 'Gandhar' to 'Qandhar' and beyond.
‘Gandhar’ is said to have a ‘Shaiva’ demography (Hindu Dharma has two sects- Shaiva and Vaishnava. The Vaishnavas worship Bhagwan Vishnu as main deity whereas ‘Shaivas’ worship Bhagwan Shiv as main deity, nevertheless both sects also worship other gods). With the spread of Buddhism, worship of Shiva gradually wiped out and the name ‘Gandhar’ got corrupted to ‘Qandhar.’ Some Mauryan rulers ruled it until Muslims took the reign in the 11th century.
Taliban: Why and How ?
Urdu term for education is ‘Taleem’. The one who obtains ‘Taleem’ is called ‘Talbilm’ or ‘Taliban’. It’s seen literally, these are the educated man in the eyes of their self-proclaimed name !
Taliban actually used to be an organisation of students who were ‘educated’ in madrasa of Pakistan. Under the leadership of Mullah Omar, Pakistan hosted this gang in the name of “fight for Afghan rights.”
The Story of Taliban's birth
The story of Taliban’s birth finds its roots in Afghanistan. If one sees a map of Pakistan, it tends to have a ‘longer’ geographical length than its width. It has India in its west, with which it doesn’t enjoy very good ties and Afghanistan in the East with which it has knowingly worsen the ties. Due to its bad relations with the neighbours and that due to its critical geographical area, it’s deep state it is in constant fear that if India launches an attack against Pakistan, then it can lose significant territories of strategic and defence importance. This fear has increased rapidly after the 1971 war and running counter operations. The mentioned fear has led the Pak authorities to rethink of its defence strategy and this rethought strategy device that terrorism is the only oxygen to the state on the death bed. As in contemporary world, the expansion of area is not possible, Pakistan has tried to enhance its influence in the Indian areas of Kashmir and Punjab so as the civilians of the influenced areas act as a barrier to the armed forces of India. The same fate Pakistan has tried to do with its Western neighbour through the organization of Taliban and playing a ‘double game’ which is called ‘split- personality’ in strategic words. So, the fear of losing territories was the reason of using radicalized Islam to unite forces of Taliban. It basically found support from the geo- political situations in the area at that time along with the monetary help from the US, which would be discussed below in “Foreign Interference”
Tahreek- e- Taliban (Pakistan)
Tahreek- e- Taliban Pakistan is an Afghani Pashtoon based terror organisation which once used to be a fraction of Taliban. But in the winters of 2007, Mehtulla Maisood found this group which is also early good to be responsible of the attack in the school of APS Peshawar on 16 December 2015. Pakistan Ali that the sister gang of Afghani Taliban is funded, armed and trained by India which has been proved hallucination of Atankistan (as it’s fondly called in India). However, Mehtulla Maisood was shot dead by a hellifire missile in an American drone strike. The subsequent chief of this group also met the same fate as their first commander in chief. This organisation is usually composed of Pathans belonging to the Frontier areas. They want to enforce Sharia law till Margali hills of Pakistan due to which it’s also called “Pakistani branch of taliban”
The foreign interference in the land of Afghanistan dates back to the 12th century, but the last century there have been significant jio strategic as well as jio political changes on the Afghani land. The changes by foreigner and external forces since last century can be classified into:
- 1) Before 9/11
- 2) After 9/11
During the declining fraction of the last century in 1979, when the cold war was on the its peak between USA and USSR, the latter crossed the Aamu river to enter in Afghanistan. (Cold war was a type of proxy war which was not characterized with bloodshed, it included spreading the propaganda against each other, spying, purchasing the Nations and Afghanistan is one such nation which suffered the plight of the cold war.) So, as a result of Russian boots on its land, Afghan King fled to Oman and Soviet army hosted their flag in Kabul. After Soviet occupied, a civil war was its fruit due to which hundreds lost their lives, livelihood and thousands got displaced as a result to which refugee crisis started in South Asia. The local freedom fighters of Afghanistan were majorly villagers. These men, though had the spirit to fight, but did not have advanced arms as Soviet. They had primitive guns, muskets, swords etc. Whereas the Soviet army was equipped with modern and advanced weapons, fighter aircrafts, helicopters, machine guns word major of them.
Here comes the twist in the story. At the time when these changes were going on, Pakistan witnessed a coup. The then- military chief General Zia- Ul- Haq sentenced, father of Benzir Bhutto, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to death in Pindi jail. After this destruction of democracy, Zia-Ul-Haq was restless to get used by us so that the black spot on his character gets nullified. So he saw the desired chance in the turmoil of Afghanistan. Afghanistan was the territory which Pakistan wanted to occupy and it could benefit Zia-Ul-Haq, he approached us a foreign interfere in Afghanistan through Pakistan. Zia- ul- Haq provoked US to get boots on Afghani land because USSR, which ruled then, was the major collaborator of Vietnam in US- Vietnam war. The dictator proposed USA to support local freedom fighters in the form of alms and monetary funds. As a result US supplied Pakistan with monetary funds, arms and weapons which Pakistan used to supply to local freedom fighters along with sending the Pak army there due to which the army is also called “rental ponies”. Dozens of tons of guns, AK- 47 and stinger missiles was supplied to Uzbegs and Afghans. They were trained by Pak army. Stinger missile is one which can be shot by putting it on the shoulder to shoot the flying Mig 21 fighter aircraft and the popular AK47 got famous in South Asia from this time only.
As a result, Afghani freedom fighters got successful in defeating USSR armies. They stepped in, in 1979 and fled in 1989. After the the soviets fled, USSR got disintegrated.
Split personality of Pakistan
Indian defence analysts believe that Pakistani army is the mother of Taliban as they equipped, armed and trained these forces. They got funded by us to defeat USSR by supporting local freedom fighters and repress and suppress Taliban. Nevertheless, the special service group of Pak army, went inside Afghanistan to support taleban instead of fighting for US.
this is supported by a statement by former dictator of Pakistan. He said in an interview to a Pakistani news channel that, ” Taliban from our madarsas were trained, equipped, armed and sent in. I am from the special service group. I know some of the colleagues of mine who went inside with 1,500 people as mercenaries to fight the Soviet”
After the terrorist attack of 9/11 at the World Trade centre in USA attacking 3000 civilians and injuring many, then- US president George Bush promised to “hunt down” the criminals. US invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. In Iraq, it captured and executed Saddam Hussein and in Afghanistan, it started bombing the land and Taliban head in the caves of Tora Bora. After decades of hard work, Osama bin Laden (who fled) was found in Attackabad in Pakistan where he was secured by ISI and Pak army. Hate the US found an excuse to remain in the South Asia in the name of establishing democracy in Afghanistan.
Why China is Interested ?!
Till US was on the ground, China was completely safe. Now we will try to understand the chronology of China behind having negotiations with the new Taliban.
There is are corridor called Wakhan Corridor which is 2500 to 3500 km long and 25 to 65 km wide on average. It joins Afghanistan 2 to the Chinese province of Xinjiang where China is exploiting Weauger Muslims which can cause Taliban attacks. Taleban is a don in Mangar in South Asia for China. The main reason for China negotiating with Taliban is that if taleban is not friendly with China, then the Chinese investment of $ 400 billion in Iran would be wasted and the oil deal, as a result would not benefit it. Moreover, China is in heavy need of fuel and it wants to use the strategic location of Afghanistan to transport crude oil and if it does not happen, then the oil would be traded to Central Asian countries which can address the situations for Beijing.
Why ANDSF Couldn’t Hold the ground ?
according to Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), USA spent $ 88 billion to train, equip and fund Afghan Defence Forces.
Less Experienced Commanders
After Taliban’s outer in 2002, G5 Nations were assigned different security sector reforms in which US led military reforms. In 2003, DDR (Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration) program was launched to address SSR. A new army of 7000 personnal to address “the potential security vacuum that this a moment process would produce” was appreciated. In the new army “of Afghanistan, by Afghanistan and for Afghanistan” only 10 to 20% of former militants and ex- combants were included. The figure was 838 of 7530 officers. It would have benefited from the officers’ command and control experience, knowledge of the terrain and proficiently in tactics. This would have provided unparalleled virtues in shaping up new ANA.
Replacing Former Warsaw Pact weapons with NATO weapons
To rebuild ANSF, US replaced FWP system in haste. AK- 47 gave way to M16 rifles and MI- 17 helicopter to Black hawk helicopters. During the height of civil war of 90’s there was an immense shortage of military supplies; ANDSF crew kept fleet flying and ANA ensured their guns boomed. The recruits of this unprofessional army were majorly illiterate due to which the military lacked the “military discipline”. Defence experts believe that replacing FWP with NATO was an err of US. The existing weapons had to be expertise but America’s haste spoilt ANA.
Limiting ANA's role to counter terrorist operations
Training of Afghan National Army was primarily limited to counter-terrorism operations roles. The army was checking military force monitoring and conveying protection. The u.s. militants did not teach tactical drills and tactical manuals to Afghani militants due to which they could not hold the ground. ANA’s senior echelon didn’t learn how to execute both operational and tactical level operations. Moreover, young soldiers and tactical level commanders left the understanding and knowledge of holding the ground like a conventional army.
Admitting only Pashtoons to ANDSF.
The US was reluctant to involve non- Pashtoon ethnic groups of Afghanistan and Uzbegs, Shias and others were kept out of their doors.
Pashtoons belong to their respective village tribes and are strongly committed to their respective chieves’ commands. Taliban had a way with the chieves who ordered the soldiers not to fight on attack. The limited number of bon- Pashtoons were convinced to surrender by filling their pockets with dollars because after US withdrawal, they were worried of their salaries.
Bad Supply Line.
USA, after spending billions and billions, goat reluctant of feeding fields to donkeys and was not interested in supplying Afghanistan with arms, food and war stuffs due to which lack of stuff played a major role in weakening Afghan militancy.
USA was only interested in reforming the Afghan institutions rather than the local citizens as a result to which Taliban got support from the ground. According to a study conducted in non- Taliban times:
- 99% of 99.7% of Afghan majority supports Sharia law.
- 43% agreed toTaliban’s fight of Sharia law.
- 78% believe maulvi should have power to decide personal laws.
- 67% believed Sariya has single interpretation and is rigid.
- 39% justify suicide bombing, 99% believe in the concept of Jannat and 72 hoors.
- 61% want Sharia law to be enforced on everyone.
- 85% agreed stoning to death as penalty for adultery.
- 79% support death on converting from Islam.
- 94% believe that wife should obey husband.
- 70% say women don’t have choice to choose they should be veil or not
Changes Following the Turmoil
As a result of the running turmoil in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan may witness severe changes in every sphere. The most important consequence that will be following this genocide is the refugee crisis.
The subject of refugees running from Afghanistan to Pakistan India will be the most major one. The same happened in 1995 when taleban first seized the power. Almost 5 million refugees ran to Pakistan and got settled in the city of Karachi from where 95% of Pakistani trade gets managed. As most of the refugee population will be Pashtoon so, the control of the financial capital of Pakistan will ultimately go into the hands of woman’s rather than of Pakistani government and if refugees come to India, which is already struggling from the problems of population explosion as well as illegal migration, the original inhabitants of India will be sharing resources with the ones who do not legally live here and it may affect demography which can ultimately effect decision making. So India should not take refugees as it already, has been bearing the load of the ones who do not live here and the people of India are struggling on their own land.