“Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it” Edmund Burke.
Pakistanis are back to square one with good Taliban and bad Taliban naivety and don’t realize the gravity of the situation. Pakistan needed a stable neighbor free of foreign occupation, so China could replace NATO/Hindustan as a major player in the region.
Prosperity in Afghanistan meant peace and progress in Pakistan. More Chinese/Pakistani influence in the region meant fewer chances for the Hindustan/Iran corridor to be successful and domination of the Pak-China Belt and Road initiative.
Fears of a blow-back
China was concerned about security risks in Pakistan, so it thought about deploying an army in some zones of Pakistan but they were assured that the country was safe. This was one of the reasons why they tried to negotiate with Hindustan and fence Gawadar to ensure security in Balochistan on top of banning militant groups.
Now there are 3 million Afghans in Pakistan. Many among them plus some locals still have a soft corner for the so-called good Taliban. Action against them means a blow-back that can cause security issues in Pakistan. This can affect Pak-China relations and raise concerns over security issues in Pakistan, especially after the recent attack on Chinese workers.
They were assured that boots on the ground won’t be necessary to ensure the safety of their people and investment. However, what’s happening in Afghanistan has started affecting Pakistan already. Pakistan was using families of Afghan Taliban, who live in Pakistan, as leverage to bring all parties to the negotiation table.
The plan was to end the war in Afghanistan and send refugees back home to reduce the chances of seeing another insurgency because many Afghans due to Pakistan’s past policies are still anti-Pakistan. Many still don’t accept Durand line either but share the Ideology of the Afghan Taliban at the same time.
They follow the same sect, have the same customs and traditions. They have the same end goals. Anti-Pakistan elements just want their Islamist Pashtunistan along with it. These elements can go rogue or can be exploited by enemy forces as before. TTP itself was an offshoot of the Afghan Taliban and both shared the same background, the Mujahideens.
Afghanistan continues to become miserable
People are taking handful of Taliban leaders’ words seriously. They have 100,000+ militants under their belt; all battle-hardened and heavily equipped. But not all of them share the same views as a hive mind. They’re just united against a common enemy at the moment.
Not to mention their sect allows them to deceive people for what they consider the greater good. Under this doctrine, many religious parties and people who follow the same sect in Pakistan have flourished despite being against the concept of nation-states. Through lies and deception, they have successfully infiltrated our governments and institutions to transform the state into something else. You can’t trust these hardliners (good or bad) or their words.
Many of them are even fighting for bounty. They’re guns for hire who, not so long ago, were fighting with the Afghan military against the Taliban. Now, these people from poverty-stricken areas have joined the Taliban for riches and ghaneemat.
They’re not and can never be our heroes or guardians. And radical Afghanistan/Pakistan will never progress. No one would invest or send its people to die in this region. Can a developing country afford that? The only solution is the complete end of extremism including hate-filled school books which create sympathies for such elements from a young age.
Another important thing is sending refugees back home when it’s stable. However, chances of that happening are deteriorating every day because the Taliban are consistently gaining ground and not ready to compromise over the established democratic system in Afghanistan.
The Afghan government and people in urban areas are not ready to give up on the progress they’ve made in recent years either. So they’ve picked up weapons to fight shoulder to shoulder with their weak military against the Taliban.
I’ve no idea how they will find a peaceful solution when both parties have completely different end goals. But whatever happens will affect Pakistan greatly, so it would be great if we stopped glorifying guns for the hire of those who are living in the stone age and don’t know how the world works.
Taliban intensifies restrictions
Restrictions on women return like old days in Taliban-held areas. All imams directed to provide an insurgents list of girls above 15 and widows under 45 to be married to Taliban fighters. This is terrifying.
No foreign occupation can modernize a nation for too long by force. Sometimes when they leave, the locals go back in time further. I don’t know what is the point of posting pictures on social media of Afghan and Iranian girls in skirts.
Afghanistan was a satellite state of the Soviet Union. Behind all those red flags and charming Soviet slogans, there was a majority with its centuries-old tribalism. When the locals became tired of regime changes and external interference, the mirage disappeared and real Afghanistan emerged from the dust of illusion and rubble of the Soviet Union.
Meanwhile, Iran would’ve progressed on its own but the US decided to impose the Shah of Iran on them. Shah did put bikinis on women pretty quickly but brought a ton of other issues that made the lives of common people miserable. Then Iranian Revolution took place which made Iran worse than how it used to be before Shah’s takeover even.
The same thing happened in British India with its flawed concept of unity. No nation can progress because of hostile takeovers from outside or so-called superior values imposed by outsiders. The blowback is way worse than temporary progress. There is no shortcut. Only the blood and sweat of locals and centuries of evolution make a society or a nation great and progressive permanently.
The author is a lawyer and can be reached at email@example.com. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.