by Saleem Samad

Dhaka, Bangladesh: Outspoken physicist Prof Pervez Hoodbhoy is based in Pakistan. In his popular column in the Dawn newspaper, published from Karachi says that Russia and the United States are squarely responsible for Afghanistan’s tragedy but Pakistan is certainly not innocent.

The political historians cannot hold their emotion that Afghanistan is often described as the “graveyard of empires” and never have been conquered by invaders.

The British or Soviet Russia failed to dominate the ferocious nation. The fiercest tribes fought all the invaders from the Persian and Arabs. Several centuries ago, Alexander the Great (Greek) and Tamerlane (Mongol) had to pack up and head for home.

After Russia’s withdrawal in 1988, Pakistan’s military hawks in Rawalpindi trained the Taliban to take over Afghanistan following a devastating civil war with the Mujahideen.

Some apologetic security analysts argue that new Taliban’s are reformed and have graduated from barbarianism to moderate militants. Many others trashed the argument and said the Taliban leadership has not moved an inch from the radical interpretation of Sunni Islam.

The cleric’s high command moved from Qatar to Kandahar has begun to execute the strict Sharia code, which is slated as misogynist to subjugate the vibrant Afghan women, especially those tens and thousands who rose in the last two decades.

The Taliban’s occupation ushers the demise of the women in higher education, sports (football and cricket), fashion industry, musical choir and choreography, not to speak of the fate of award-winning filmmaker Roya Sadat.

Talibanistan will be a living hell for millions of Afghans who dreamt of pluralism, democracy, freedom of expression, and freedom of faith.

Taliban-wallas cannot deny their three-decade nexus with Pakistan’s spy agency ISI bonded in a trusted relationship.

Most of the families of the top Taliban leaders live in Pakistan for their security and safety coordinated by Rawalpindi.

With full knowledge of the Rawalpindi, the Taliban regime provided sanctuary to the dreaded international terror network Al-Qaeda, which launched brazen 9/11 attacks on the soil of the United States.

The emergence of the Taliban after 20 years will surely benefit other regional players from the invasion. The country is obviously a win for all who wish to see the Americans humiliated. Iran is happy to see that the United States and NATO left her neighborhood.

Obviously, the “winners” are China, Iran, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia and Turkey. Most of these countries hosted the Taliban and backed them up.

Landlocked Afghanistan, unfortunately, has two rogue states Iran and Pakistan as its neighbors. Pakistan and Iran should be held responsible for destroying Afghanistan and creating a new Talibanistan state.

Pakistan is also a winner when its Prime Minister Imran Khan said Afghans have broken the “shackles of slavery”.

Pakistan is looking forward to the Taliban joining the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

That would boost Pakistan’s ailing economy amid the Covid-19 pandemic and lack of US aid.

Christine Fair, a security pundit explains that Pakistan will continue to use 1.4 million Afghan refugees as rent-seekers from international aid organizations and sympathy of the west.

Weeks before the collapse of Kabul, both Russia and China held parleys with high-profile Taliban delegations.

Like China and Pakistan, the Russian diplomatic mission remained open in Afghanistan. Russia wants secure borders for its Central Asian allies and to stymie terrorism and drug trafficking.

The two power players, Russia and China for a century have had a love and hate relationship. They played a crucial role in the United Nations Security Council meets on the Afghanistan crisis. With Moscow and Beijing’s support, the Taliban is likely to obtain international clout.

The preceding Kabul government showed cold feet to join the “Golden Ring” nexus – proposed by China’s vision of Road and Belt Initiative (BRI) megaproject in West Asia.

Russia, Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey gave their green signal to the Chinese “Golden Ring” nexus for their superiority in South and West Asia.

The axis of evil has its eyes on energy and rich mineral resources in Afghanistan, plus transnational gas pipeline through the heartland of Talibanistan.

For now, the Afghanistan debacle is a major setback for the image of the USA globally in terms of the perception that US-backed systems tend to be as weak and temporary as the grass that greens with the spring and withers in the fall.

A humorist posted on social media writes: Taliban’s has proved HG Wells’ time-machine is possible, but the device goes backward into the 7th century, unfortunately, it does not have a fast-forward lever.


About the writer:

Saleem Samad is an independent journalist, media rights defender in Bangladesh. Recipient of Ashoka Fellowship and Hellman-Hammett Award. He could be reached at saleemsamad@hotmail.com; Twitter: @saleemsamad