The desertion of Afghan army solders and officers continues as they are facing difficulties in the fight against the Taliban.
During the last 13 years, the US, NATO and ISAF deceived all their partners, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, about the real motive behind the war against terrorism in Afghanistan. The US toppled the Taliban government, invaded the country and declared war against terrorism. We were told they had come to eliminate the Taliban and al Qaeda from the region, and we supported them. They killed thousands of innocents and bombed their houses on the pretext that they were Taliban fighters or terrorists, and we supported this as well. Finally, a genie came out of the bottle and announced that the terrorists they were fighting are not terrorists. This news shocked Afghan and Pakistani politicians and civil society, who asked that if the Taliban were not terrorists, why had the US wasted money and resources in Afghanistan?
For more than 13 years, people around the globe almost took it for granted that the Taliban is a terrorist group that shares many similarities with al Qaeda. The White House spokesman also denied that the Taliban are a terrorist group. What does the US want in Afghanistan? The answer is murky. Now, the real concept of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Taliban has also become limpid; on January 23, 2015, the US declared Pakistani Taliban leader Mullah Fazlullah a global terrorist and Mullah Omer a mujahid.
If we focus on the contradictory statement of the White House Secretary, we find a clear picture: “They (the Taliban) do carry out operations that are akin to terrorism. They do pursue terror attacks in an effort to try to advance their agenda. The Taliban is very dangerous and we have expended significant sums of money. US service members have given their lives fighting the Taliban because they do pose a threat to US interests and to US service members inside of Afghanistan,” the White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, said.
On October 31, 2014, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani invited the Taliban to join the so-called political reconciliation process but they refused. He also called them political opponents and offered ministries in the new cabinet but these they also refused. During the Afghan peace and reconstruction conference in China, Mr Ghani told the audience: “Peace is our highest priority. We invite the political opposition, particularly the Taliban, to join and enter Afghan dialogue and ask all of our international partners to support an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.” His call was immediately echoed by the Chinese Prime Minister (PM), who urged that all groups in Afghanistan should lay down their arms and join the peace process. “We think that the Afghan issue has to be solved by the people of Afghanistan. We believe that the Afghan people have the ability and the knowledge to solve their own issues. The international community should respect Afghanistan’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, not interfere with its internal affairs and support Afghanistan’s efforts to realise security and stability,” the PM added.
In Kabul, some former ministers and members of parliament criticised the policy of the unity government towards Pakistan and the Taliban, and advised that the president keep a distance from the country as it has never designed any constructive strategies towards Afghanistan. Former National Security Advisor Rangeen Dadfar Spanta said that Ghani’s terminology was politicised and indicated weakness in the government’s stance on the militants: “They are terrorist groups and kill our people and security personnel, and resort to murder. We cannot call them our political opponents because political opponents are those who oppose or criticise the government through political means.” In response to Mr Spanta’s criticism, the spokesman for the Afghan president said: “Political disagreements are resolved through political channels. A review will be conducted for those that resort to violence.”
Chief Executive Dr Abdullah sternly criticised the so-called political opposition for the killing of Afghan civilians in Laghman province. He condemned the attacks and said that his government would never surrender to the terrorists. He reiterated the national unity government’s commitment to ensuring peace in the country, a goal he has struggled for in the past too. “The government condemns the killing and harassment of civilians, whether such acts are committed by the Taliban militants or Islamic State (IS),” he remarked.
The desertion of Afghan army solders and officers continues as they are facing difficulties in the fight against the Taliban. Every day, they face tough resistance from the Taliban. Recently, some Afghan newspapers reported $ 250 million worth of corruption in the defence ministry of the country. Corruption is on the rise while Afghans are facing exponential violence, starvation, homelessness, unemployment and dangerous diseases. In one of his recent columns in the Daily Outlook Afghanistan, senior Afghan journalist Muhammad Rasul Shah exposed the uncontrollable corruption within the Afghan government departments: “But the biggest blow of this corruption was to give birth to a system where corruption and bribe acceptance has become the trend of the day. It is considered as something of routine, starting from a watchman to important government officials. As this virus has penetrated deep into society and its members, it will take many years before the people get rid of this habit. But if not, the resultant consequences might bring an end to an already tattered country.”
The US’s decision was welcomed by the Afghan government as it is engaged in talks with the Taliban in China. The unity government understands that now it can easily achieve its goal and, with the progress of negotiations, peace will return to Afghanistan. China, Pakistan and Afghanistan are committed to bring stability to the region but it also depends on the attitude of the US and its allies. What will be the reaction of India that has invested millions on some insurgent groups in and outside Afghanistan will depend on the result of negotiations. The US will now concentrate on the Pakistani Taliban terrorist network in Pakistan and will help Pakistan in fighting extremism and sectarianism on its own soil.