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Taliban Takeover: ‘End of Time War’

Alok Bansal

Alok BansalAug 25, 2021, 12:00 AM IST

Taliban Takeover:  ‘End of Time War’
WRITING ON THE WALL: Soon after Taliban capture, images of women were defaced in public places

 


REGION ON FIRE: Taliban’s capture of Kabul provides a major fillip to Taliban-Al Qaeda agenda, which is in no way confined to the geographical frontiers of Afghanistan. Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan will provide a perfect launching pad for the export of jihadi ideology that Al-Qaeda has been propounding for years


 

On August 15, 2021, India‘s 75th independence Day, Taliban entered Kabul.Taliban’s return to Kabul was almost two decades after they had vacated in the face of US-led invasion, which followed the 9/11 attacks by Al-Qaeda. With the fall of Kabul,  almost the entire Afghanistan has fallen to Taliban hordes. Although, the countryside had been dominated by Taliban for some time, the fall of major cities was too abrupt. There is no doubt that the policies of successive US administration precipitated this collapse. The Trump administration by talking to Taliban bolstered their position in an extremely hierarchical tribal society.  Simultaneously, by ignoring President Ghani and his administration, he marginalised the Afghan Government in the eyes of ordinary Afghans. President Biden continued with Trump’s policies and to aggravate matters, made an announcement about the timeline of withdrawal, which led to the domino effect and crumbling of Afghan National Army. While no can find fault with the withdrawal of troops, the announcement of withdrawal was deeply flawed, both in content and timing.  Finally, President Ghani by his ignominious exit offered Kabul to Taliban on a platter.

 


According to Islamic theology, ‘End of Time War’ between the believers led by resurrected Jesus and Dajjal (Antichrist) will be fought in Khorasan, a territory that includes Afghanistan, Eastern Iran, and parts of Central Asia and South Asia.  This is primarily the reason why Al-Qaeda, an Arabic outfit relocated their leadership to Afghanistan and subsequently after its liberation, to Pakistan


 

In last few weeks, Taliban in the territory captured by them, have given enough examples of their medieval mindset and barbarism.They have clearly shown that they are not going to abide by the assurances given in Doha and in other talks. It needs to be appreciated that Taliban is driven by an obscurantist ideology, which aims to create a puritanical Islamic Emirate, where women and minorities would virtually enjoy no rights. The ideological links of Taliban with Al Qaeda are well established.  It is often forgotten that Al-Qaeda has always talked of waging a jihad in the name of Amir-ul-Mu’minin, who was Mullah Omar earlier and now is Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada, the leader of Taliban.  It is often ignored that one of the primary prerequisites of jihad is a ‘righteous leader’ and that requirement is fulfilled by the Taliban leadership. Consequently, without the Amir-ul-Mu’minin, Al-Qaeda’s jihad would theologically become illegitimate. Another prerequisite of jihad is control over a fort, city or territory. It needs to be understood that the prophet Muhammad, did not fight in Mecca, when he was opposed there, even though, he had adequate support. He simply migrated to Medina. However, once Medina was under his firm control, he conquered Mecca. So, according to ulema, control over a territory is sine qua non for jihad. With the capture of Afghanistan by Taliban, this significant theological precondition of jihad has also been fulfilled. 

According to Islamic theology, ‘End of Time War’ between the believers led by resurrected Jesus and Dajjal (Antichrist) will be fought in Khorasan, a territory that includes Afghanistan, Eastern Iran, and parts of Central Asia and South Asia.  This is primarily the reason why Al-Qaeda, an Arabic outfit relocated their leadership to Afghanistan and subsequently after its liberation, to Pakistan. It has always believed that it is waging the End of Time War against Dajjal (The West) in Khorasan. The significance of the region also led the Islamic State (IS)to establish a Khorasan Chapter as soon as it was joined by some leaders of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Absence of territory was the major reason why many jihadi outfits moved away from Al Qaeda and gravitated towards the IS. However, with the elimination of Abu Bakr Baghdadi, and now the capture of Kabul, there could be a movement in the reverse direction, where in transnational jihadi outfits like Boko Haram, Jemaah Islamiyah and Al Shabaab, could shift their allegiance to Al-Qaeda. More significantly, a surge in jihadi recruitments could be witnessed across the globe, as was seen after the fall of Mosul to IS.

It therefore needs to be understood that Taliban’s capture of Kabul provides a major fillip to Taliban-Al Qaeda agenda, which is in no way confined to the geographical frontiers of Afghanistan. Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan will provide a perfect launching pad for the export of jihadi ideology that Al-Qaeda has been propounding for years.  This will impact not only Afghanistan’s neighbours, but also other countries in the regionas well as the world at large, albeit at a later date.

 


With the departure of the duly elected President from the country, the Vice-President automatically assumes the mantle as Amrullah Saleh has done and India should consider supporting him. However, unlike 1996-2001, at the moment Panjsher is totally cut off from Afghanistan’s borders and it would be difficult to sustain the resistance without logistics support 


 

For India, the developments pose three-fold challenge, first, the establishment of Islamic Emirate could see jihadi fervour within India as well. It is, therefore, quite possible that some youngsters driven by jihadi ideology from India would want to join Al-Qaeda or its affiliates.  Consequent, resurgence of terrorism may follow the same trail as the one witnessed after the fall of Mosul to IS. Second, as Pakistan has helped to nurture Taliban, it would exercise enormous influence in Afghanistan, at least in near future. Consequently, ISI and Pakistan Army will not have to worry about their western frontiers and will have all the time to focus on their activities against India across their Eastern borders. Finally,the foot-soldiers of Taliban and its affiliates, who have been engaged in warfare for the last two decades, will not start farming, just because Taliban has captured power in Kabul. They will in all probabilities look for new battlefields to fight new wars and some of them could be in India. Many of the radical Islamist outfits like IS believe that parts or in some cases, the entire India to be part of Khorasan.

There are questions about what India should do? At the moment there are Indian citizens in Afghanistan and extrication of Indian citizens and Afghans, who have been collaborating with us, should be India’s primary objective.  To this end India would need to establish some communication with the Taliban authorities, but India should in no way fall in to the trap of recognising the Taliban Government.  With the departure of the duly elected President from the country, the Vice-President automatically assumes the mantle as Amrullah Saleh has done and India should consider supporting him, if he draws support from other groups. However, unlike 1996-2001, at the moment Panjsher is totally cut off from Afghanistan’s borders and it would be extremely difficult to sustain the resistance without logistics support from across the border.

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