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9/11 - 20 years: Power of the catastrophic event, Will US revisit Kabul?

Nirendra Dev

Nirendra DevSep 11, 2021, 08:01 AM IST

9/11 - 20 years: Power of the catastrophic event, Will US revisit Kabul?

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham suggested the US could re-invade Afghanistan.


New Delhi: The story of valiant Taliban has its origin in something else.

In Afghan society, women are shut indoors. A good-looking boy would have 'dozen attempts' made on him. Over a period of time, one can grow angry about the boyhood trauma. 

But as argued in Christina's Lamb's book, 'The Sewing Circles of Herat - A Memoir of Afghanistan', one could "never talk about" this. 

Certainly, "it must leave a permanent scar". So, that's the 'warrior'. 

The Taliban is a term borrowed from the word 'Talibs' meaning students. In a real sense, they are 'student warriors' of the 'holy war' or Jihad committed to a fundamentalist Islamic caliphate.

Talibs also draw inspiration from Indian backyards, the Deobandi philosophy, which views the Quran as a 'blueprint' for everything. But which 'sacred texts' called for such brutal treatment of women or legitimize the use of drugs is certainly not known.

In the 1990s, during the heyday of Taliban 1.0; one Education Minister had said - "If you want to be an engineer then go and work for three months in a garage...." similarly, they believed even butcher's shops could teach you to become somebody in life and in the medical stream.

Even Russian President Vladimir Putin has diagnosed a 'mess' the United States has created in Afghanistan as it never tried to understand the local issues and sentiment. 

After two decades of war and the 'unceremonious' withdrawal marred by a chaotic takeover by the Taliban, it is true President Joe Biden, like his one of the illustrious predecessors, George W Bush, faces a test of his tested and untested leadership skills.

Of course, from an Indian's perspective, what went on in Afghanistan is certainly related to Pakistan.

Over the decades, the Pakistanis have backed the Taliban and decided to virtually op for 'Talibanisation' of their own politics.

Thus, Pakistan has emerged as an 'enabler' of terror and its victim. 

Even during the peak of US engagement in Af-Pak, it lost a former Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, in 2007 to a dastardly terror attack. But for them, life goes on. Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) always presented a clear danger to Afghanistan, the US and Pakistan.

Benazir Bhutto's husband became the country's President, and there were other rulers such as Nawaz Sharif and a few generals, including Pervez Musharraf.

For all of them, deep penetration into Afghanistan meant 'winning over' Kashmir.

A firm Narendra Modi government has done a killer blow to Imran Khan and the military regime in Rawalpindi when Article 370 was abrogated in 2019.

So, as the Taliban-led chaos prevails in Afghanistan and violent 'law-breakers' and internationally wanted individuals are part of the ruling regime, the world is not quite certain of the ramifications.

Some years back, Barack Obama himself had said: "Unlike the war in Iraq, the Afghan campaign had always seemed to me a war of necessity. Though the Taliban's ambitions were confined to Afghanistan, their leadership remained loosely allied to Al-Qaeda, and their return to power could result in the country once again serving as a launching pad for terrorist attacks against the United States and its allies." 

Biden is making a case that he had little choice after Donald Trump - even otherwise known for whimsical style and mannerism - had started the Doha talks and laid a roadmap.

The Democrats are putting forward an argument that the war had to end. 

But there is always another argument. If one doesn't have the patience to sustain wars, then one need not embark on them either.

Similarly goes the argument of so-called 'nation building' as articulated by Biden himself.

In the words of Jonathan Powell, an aide of former British PM Tony Blair, ".... if we don't help countries rebuild institutions after participating in a war, then we end up with a spectacular mess like Libya. The challenge is doing these things properly."

The mess is not over yet. 

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham suggested the US could re-invade Afghanistan.

"We will be going back into Afghanistan as we went back into Iraq and Syria," he said, adding - We will have to. Because the threat will be so large ... It will be a cauldron for radical Islamic behaviour."

The US invaded Iraq in 2003, withdrew its forces in 2011, but sent them back in 2014.  


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