The Taliban— arbiters of peace in Afghanistan

What an irony of social justice that powers such as Russia, the US, NATO and Pakistan, who tasted defeat at the hands of the Taliban at one time or the other, have made the declaration after the Moscow conference, supporting Biden’s’ “moon-shot” Afghan Strategy. The Taliban are not to launch the spring offensive, but to negotiate and conclude the peace agreement leading to an all-inclusive democratic order. But the ground situation suggests that it is not possible to achieve the objective of “an inclusive democratic order”.
The Taliban have maintained a respectable level of resistance, establishing their writ over 80 percent of Afghan territory. They are now expecting the occupation forces to leave by May 1, 2021, when the road will open for them to form the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, something they have stood for over the last four decades and have not wavered in their resolve. In 2003, Mullah Omar gave a strong affirmation of this resolve:
“We have decided to fight to the end to win our freedom. For us to follow the agenda of the occupation forces of a democratic order is not compatible with our traditions, our national ethos and purpose. We will fight and win our freedom, InshaAllah, to establish the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, friendly to all neighbours and countries beyond. Pakistan does not stand by us at the moment, yet we stand by Pakistan, to safeguard our interests at all times.”
This declaration has remained the guiding principle of the Taliban movement, and also determines the dialectics of the opposing will, establishing the power equation, which enables the Taliban to establish control over a large part of Afghan territory while the opposing forces’ control is limited to cities and towns only. The Taliban can sweep them away and none of the supporters of the Ashraf Ghani regime would stand up to the Taliban surge.
Leaving Afghanistan is so tough for the US, because, despite decades of intervention, Afghanistan remains weak and poorly governed. The political distraction of a troop withdrawal could lead to the US getting bogged down in a war it cannot win and will suffer “a bigger loss of face” if it decides to stay on. This is the dilemma of the devil and deep sea. The turning point will thus come after May 1, 2021, when Taliban resistance will grow in intensity, gradually consolidating their writ over the areas, and laying siege to towns and cities, held by Ashraf Ghani’s government.
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan thus would be established, to form the hardcore state of the Muslim world based on three bastions of power—the Revolutionary Iran, Jihadi Afghanistan and Islamic Pakistan. This is the emerging reality causing concern and fear in the minds of the secular world.
At this point in time, history appears to repeat itself. For example, thirty-three years ago in 1988 the turn of events heralded the dawn of a new order, beholden to the Taliban movement, the irresistible force which had defeated the mightiest of the mighty—the two superpowers and the regional powers of European Union and India, in a short period of four decades—an unparalleled feat of military achievement. Now it holds supreme over Afghanistan. Unfortunately, Taliban were cheated in 1990. They won’t be cheated again. Rather, they are the ones who will lay down the conditions for peace in Afghanistan.
All eyes are now focused on May 1, 2021, when foreign troops are to leave, and if they do not, the Taliban will sweep across the country to establish their writ over territory which they already control, pushing the Afghanistan government to the besieged cities and towns, which will also fall to the Taliban as they consolidate the larger swathes of territory.

The writer is a former COAS, Pakistan. He can be reached at

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