History has passed on to us, the tales of various people- through times- experiencing a painful exodus. In the contemporary times, it is perhaps the Afghans who lost their home- not once, but twice, in almost the same decade.
It is estimated that current residents in the country amount to approximately 33 million , whereas the Afghan diaspora is spread across 78 countries- primarily as refugees; several of whom reside in Pakistan.
In this so called age of information, where even a tiny personal life choice is prone to exploitation- it is amazing how well guarded the truth regarding Afghanistan continues to be—every source carrying a different opinion , a different truth.
It has indeed become a hub a terror. 2016 witnessed approximately 85 deadly attacks (the reported ones) . 9,800 US troops and 3000 NATO troops remain, several terror groups have gained a foothold. ISIS too, has opened up a Khorasan franchise.
Who knows what carnage is actually carried out.
But, the obvious and known fact remains: millions have lost their lives , homes, any sense of normality and have been subjected to perhaps one of the lows of this worldly existence I.e a refugee… nameless and formless.
Worst of all is- there appears to be no hope of improvement; because it has become a battleground for everyone to covertly fight their own little war.
There appears to be some sort of budding alliance in regards to supporting Taliban. Talks of easing up on Taliban did take place last month , Taliban in the recent past also agreed to protect the Chinese companies operating at Mes Aynak copper mine; naturally the Afghan government did not take this well.
The emerging support for Taliban perhaps stems from viewing them as less deadly than the other groups which have surfaced due to continuous political turmoil.
The Taliban’s demand is also relatively simple: the want and end to the foreign occupation and then negotiate.
However, the recent attacks which targeted security forces & diplomats from U.A.E. ( who have been rather charitable to the Afghan government) were claimed by the Afghan Taliban… not the wisest time for a pressure building strategy…
Post attacks , Mr Modi did not miss his chance to slander others , in his discourse terror has its epicenter in our region. A French foreign minister stated decisive action needs to be taken against ‘Pakistan based’ LeT, JeM and Hizbul mujahideen— he may be right , but they had nothing to do with these attacks.
The new US president appears ready to increase the fight against ‘terror’– A recent US report claims that Taliban has increased their footings this year and the Afghan government now controls 65% as compared to 70% territory last year.
However, the Afghan government immediately rubbished the report.
Some Afghan elders- who don’t support the Taliban- have also begun asking the local forces to take charge against the Taliban, so some sort of a settlement is reached.
Given the recent directions, the foreign forces may extend their stay , especially since their findings state that Taliban is expanding territorially, and there is little doubt in the fact, that India too, would try to support the US presence for as long as it can.
But , ultimately , a puppet or not – a lot does rely on the final verdict of the Afghan government, the instant denial of Taliban gaining more foothold suggests a yearning for some space.
Pakistan too, appears to be actively reaching out to the Afghan government— General Bajwa after the surprise new year eve phone call, has once again called Ghani to pay his condolences and assured him that Pakistan has destroyed all terrorist hideouts- Surprisingly- unlike the usual ‘slander Pakistan’ mood, Mr Ghani acknowledged Pakistan’s effort. Again- puppet or not- he is an Afghan and the suffering of his people would at some point impact his actions.
A lot is changing, the Russian-Chinese axis appears to be gaining strength, General Raheel is believed to be the new chief of Islamic military alliance; he further wants negotiations instead of force wherever possible and wants to add other Muslim countries such as Iran. Afghanistan too, is not a part of the alliance as of yet. However , the alliance holds no restrictions – any Muslim country is welcomed to join, perhaps good negotiations may make that happen.
The biggest incentive to Afghanistan should perhaps also come from witnessing the fast paced constructive development, the Chinese words usually follow. Because What has exactly improved in Afghanistan since 2001? It appears things have only become grim; and perhaps a different approach maybe required.
Though Clearly , the Afghan government would not handover its power to someone else, but that may not even be the demand and several other settlements could be reached.
One can only hope that Mr Ashraf Ghani undergoes a change of heart and chooses to work together with Pakistan, benefits from the ongoing development and puts the people of Afghanistan first.