This TALIBAN and all that! By Ismail Misbahu



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In it,  so many lessons there’re for Nigeria to learn.  20 years after US-led invasion,  TALIBAN has re-taken Afghanistan back to their control.  Being the second successful attempt in its history, the seizure took effect on Sunday,  15th August, 2021 and the spokesperson of the group,  Zabihullah Mujahid promised to protect women rights and press freedom in what became their first News Conference since the takeover. 
Wayback to 1996, the first successful attempt saw the seizure of the Capital,  Kabul and the nation’s last communist president,  Najibullah Ahmadzai hanged to death.  Known as students in Pashtun with puritanical leaning and ultra-religious interpretation, the TALIBAN declared Afghanistan as an Islamic Emirate and was then recognized by only three countries : Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Pakistan. 
Earlier before 1996, leading TALIBAN members were but a group forming part of the Afghan Mujahiddeen (‘freedom fighters’)  against the Soviet occupation, financed and assisted militarilty by U.S.  Government—the Soviet chief ‘bipolar’ rival. After the Soviet pulled-out in 1989, widespread chaos, lawlessness and criminality became the order of the day. Endemic corruption,  fierced contests and ceaseless hustle of power became the overriding principle among the Afghan Mujahiddeen.  The abuse of women and children as well as the constant harassment of ethnic minorities had become the accommodated vices against the social order.  All these, combined with the growing dissatisfaction and widespread discontent among the Afghan Mujahiddeen had caused to lay a solid foundation for the emergence of a splinter armed group,  the TALIBAN in the wake-up of the 1990s. 
Given the severe state of a post-war society,  many Afghan citizens welcomed the TALIBAN—it managed to bring normalcy and decided to tackle endemic corruption while winning popularity from the larger population.  However,  the abuse of ethic minorities and gender-based violence including the ban on women from education,  freedom of press and pastimes such as music and television which were known to have existed prior to their takeover,  had later continued unabated.  He story of a young woman,  Nina Berman; an American photographer and film maker she’d more light on this. 


Almost six years of the group’s chaotic manner of leadership, the U.S. Government which initiated the pulling out if the Soviet Russia had seen nothing to call a spade by the name until October 7, 2001 when they began to mount pressure against the alleged taliban’s hiding of Osama b.  Laden—the al-Qaeda leader, the mastermind of ‘September 11’.


A hint from the foregoing must not leave the reader without  the realization that, all that was concocted as TALIBAN today was a ’cause’created by the U.S. Government, bred and germinated by the ungodly activities of the Afghan Mujahiddeen,  as well as the corruption and disorder that ensued after the Soviet pulled out in 1989. The view that the U.S. Government has laundered 2 trillion dollars for 20 years ‘experiment’ in nation building and ‘democratic governance’in Afghanistan was nothing but a charade!  The fact of the matter is that the U.S. couldn’t spend the larger chunk of this money if it couldn’t contain the influence of Soviet Russia (and now China) in Afghanistan.  Neither was this view a justification of their commitment to peace building nor was it so for the withdrawal if their forces.  It is not even a justification of the old charade that they’re training the Afghan Army to take control of their country. The most convincing narrative is that U.S. Government took this decision as part of its containment campaign against the overbearing Chinese hegemony in Asia as well as the latter’s technological and cyber (digital)  authoritarianism across the globe. 


Just like the divisive tactic of re-basing the withdrawn U.S. forces from Syria to Saudi Arabia,  so was the re-basing of the withdrawn U.S. forces from Afghanistan to countries where the minority Chinese including the Uyghur Muslims sought safety—among which include Kazakhstan,  Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.  Unlike majority-Muslim countries of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt and UAE where Uyghur are also found, these three countries will provide a seameless operation for the U.S. Government to build guerilla camps and exploit the Uyghur living condition against the Chinese influence in Asia and Middle-East. taliban’s seizure of power is a us-temporary skip!  Recall the visit of the U.S. Assistant Secretary of States,  Wendy Sherman to China and Biden’s exhibited interest to play the Taiwan card—selling arms and a munitions to the latter just to widen the scope of U.S. tactics against Chinese hegemony.  TALIBAN is a part included in this range of scope!  The respite given to it was to facilitate U.S. preparation—perhaps the most vibrant underground work that may scale-down the Chinese global.

Economic agenda in peace,  or in pieces! The Soviet Russia had never been the U.S. concern for now. May be the new TALIBAN government predicts this. 
Similarly,  EU’s old-fangled ‘pronunciamento’, that they will keep diplomatic relation with the new TALIBAN government provided that the latter respect the rights and freedom of citizens especially women and children,  is also an illusion.  Both the U.S Government and EU have the perfect knowledge of what they’re foing i.e. training anti-Soviet and anti-Chinese guerillas and terrorists who,  ‘morning-after-the-morning-after’,  turned to fight for their own cause against the corrupt pro-American—pro-Western governments all U.S. helped stand up in Kabul.  The smaller TALIBAN forces which hardly trained by any superpower were fighting both,  and many people would actually prefer their own government (however awful)  over foreign ones (however, well equipped).  


Both the U.S. Government and EU know that TALIBAN cannot go back to where it was 20 years ago.  They must know that the new TALIBAN government cannot deliver order,  jobs and security; not even regain the economic prosperity of Afghanistan without foreign aid and investment. They must sense that such aids and investments must surely come from nowhere outside countries America has a lot of interests: Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia,  Pakistan and to some limited extent,  some members of the EU. they must sense that taking-off of their legs out of Afghanistan would,  instead of promoting peace,  prepare the way in-road for heavy sharks like Russia and China, and other close allies like Pakistan,  India and Iran to intrude the country. The U.S. and EU must,  of course predict that the new TALIBAN government will,  ‘the-morning-after-the-morning-after’, surely call the White House for assistance!  Again,  the two power blocs must watch how the new TALIBAN government will find it difficult  to abuse human right on the global tech-eye; they must sense how this was possible in 2001—when smart Iphones, Facebook and Twitter didn’t even exist.  Flash-forward today,  citizens in Afghanistan are increasingly becoming connected with all and beyond!  Besides,  There’re today in Afghanistan, ten of thousands of women attending Universities and the U.S.  must watch from behind how the new TALIBAN government may attempt to shut down all these? 


Twenty years after meddling with the security of the people—their social life and their economic livelihood,  the U.S. government couldn’t avoid provocations—she still defends herself from the torrential terrorism flowing from within and outside Afghanistan.  She purportedly claimed promoted stability and prosperity through various ‘pluralisms’—including religious pluralism, education pluralism,  press (or media)  pluralism etcetera.  It’s a hogwash!  If there’s anything good with America,  it could only be seen from the point of view of Michael Mandelbaum,  a U.S. foreign policy expert and author of “Mission Failure: America and the World in the Post-Cold War Era”, that ‘America can stop bad things from happening abroad,  it cannot make good things happen’.  Afghanistan is an example among many,  of the U.S. mission failure!  It’s in the word of Nina Berman,  a ‘play scene’ for the superpowers—a U.S. anti-Soviet, and now anti-China proxy war base. 


A Lesson for Nigeria


Recent developments in Nigeria show that Boko Haram members are taking their surrender to Nigerian Army.  However,  the difficulty to identify who really are BH members,  as well as to separate the ‘group’ from other criminal syndicates adopting it’s name,  amidst the intense killings and kidnappings going on in the country,  would continue to confuse matters as to what better approach could be adopted to end the insurgency.  The approach in this sense must,  by the obvious reality of the Nigerian experience, be dynamic and complex; multiple and swapping. The challenge with Nigeria, unlike the rest of the World, is not one and definable. In what would become the TALIBAN of Nigeria (and God forbid), the country will be led by not the new government of Boko Haram but by ethnic rectors and tribal warlords—on whom the superpowers be competing for or against! O God,  Your mercy! 


The option before the West,  of course is not to divide Nigeria if at all.  Its coded attempt of intentions was to caused to terrorising,  through indoctrination and,  arming militarily and financially,  of poor and desperate Nigerians largely drawn from disenchanted and disoriented backgrounds.  If by the meaning of unity all these mean to U.S., as to the rest of the West,  any good for Nigeria,  then ‘unity’ must certainly become the slogan for crime and chaos in diversity! Covert recruitment and training if terror groups has been the best option for the West, more so when this attempt is increasingly becoming sharper with interests invested by among the elite politicians, traditional rulers and gold-mining business entrepreneurs—particularly in Zamfara state. If at all unity is what the West cherishes for Nigeria,  secessionists like Kanu, Igboho, and rest would become their crunchy-salads for hyping bold this restructuring agenda to an unmitigated disaster! 
Nigeria shouldn’t let the West watching her disintegrating, as it wished for Afghanistan in the soonest calculated time! God forbids.