Taliban's Victory in Afghanistan: Lessons and Challenges
- at 20 August 2021
Dr. Firoz Mahboob Kamal
The new peak of excellence
THE Taliban forces took over Kabul –the capital of Afghanistan on Sunday, 15 August. They took the whole country only in 10 days –much quicker than the USA could achieve in 2001. It gave a sense of great victory all over the Muslim World. After series of defeats and enemy occupations, it is the only victory in the last several hundred years that the Muslims could celebrate. The US President George W. Bush declared a crusade on Muslims, and the US Army occupied Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. After a war of 20 years –the longest war in US history, the US-led crusade met a humiliating defeat. This is the third time that the poor Afghan Muslims have fought and defeated a World Power. In the past, they defeated the British Army twice in the mid-eighteenth century. They also defeated Soviet Russia at its peak in the eighties in the last century. So, they proved that the World Powers are not invincible; and Afghanistan is the sure graveyard for empires.
Taliban made history in other ways. While taking over Kabul, they showed high morality, humanity and sagacity. Kabul is a city of 5 million people. The Taliban killed not a single man on the day of the takeover. Not a single man or woman was harmed or humiliated. Not a single bullet was fired at any living object on that day. Whereas when the USA took over Afghanistan in 2001, the history was otherwise. Deaths, blood and destruction, were everywhere. Taliban leaders declared amnesty for all men and women who fought against them, tortured them, killed their colleagues and collaborated with the occupying forces. It is unbelievable. In the whole span of human history, it has happened only once. It was at the time when the city of Makkah was taken over by the Muslims under the leadership of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Those who tortured and killed Muslims and evicted Muslims from Makkah empty-handed and tried to kill the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions were forgiven. The same kindness and forgiveness are repeated by the Taliban while taking control over Kabul.
All people all over the world with moral sense got amazed with such a peaceful takeover. But not unsurprisingly, in the western media, such an astonishing act of moral highness didn't get any mention. The western media were found busy vilifying the character of the Taliban fighters. They are described as terrorists, extremists, murderers, and oppressors of children and women. They were busy expressing their concern about the fate of women and children under the Taliban rule. In comparison, such concern was not seen when the Afghan and Iraqi cities were taken mercilessly by the US Army. Hundreds of cities and villages were razed to the ground. Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children were killed or injured by the US bombings. The US bombers even bombed wedding and funeral gatherings. In prisons in Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Guantanamo Bay and many other places, innocent people were tortured on an industrial scale. But the western media didn't show any concern for that. As if they had seen nothing and heard nothing in those days of the US occupation. It is also accused that the Taliban will take Afghanistan to Stone Age. The Stone Age people didn't have clothes. Many westerners like such nudity. But burkha or hijab for women in Taliban rule is not a Stone Age symbol.
In the war against the USA-led coalition and the US-raised Afghan Army, the Taliban fighters showed extraordinary skills and excellence. They successfully resisted the victory of the US-led coalition of more than 50 countries. The Afghan Army had 300,000 soldiers and was trained by US trainers. The British, the German, the Italian and the other nationals from the EU countries also took part in the upbringing of the Afghan Army. They had tanks, artillery guns, armoured vehicles, helicopter gunships and bomber planes. They were raised in US-built modern cantonments and trained in modern military academies. They also had high-quality war attires like well-fitted dresses for all seasons, shoes, helmets, bullet-proof vests, night-vision goggles, and long-vision binoculars.
On the other hand, the Taliban fighters didn't even have shoes. Their battle filed dresses were traditional loose shalwar and kameez. Instead of the helmet on the head, they wear a turban. Their weapons are only AK-47 rifles and rocket-propelled grenades. They didn't receive any training in any cantonment.
The learning point
Jihad is the highest act of ibadah in Muslim life. It is the only defensive tool of the Muslims –prescribed by Allah Sub'hana wa Ta'la. Hence, if there is no jihad, there is no defence. In fact, here lies the cause of enemies' strong distaste against jihad. The best jihad is to defend a Muslim country from non-Muslims' aggression. So, the Taliban's jihad against the US-led war was pure. Those killed in such jihad get direct entry into paradise without waiting or facing any trial on the day of judgment. A Muslim can't be a Muslim if they possessed any doubt on such Qur'anic promise. Such jihad can never be the work of those secular opportunists who join the Army to take it as a profession for grabbing powerful jobs, property and status in society. Unlike a mujahid, saving life gets the number one priority for these secularist Army professionals. Instead of sacrificing life in a war, surrender always remains a preferred option –as Pakistan Army did in 1917 to the Indians and the Egyptian Army did in 1967 to Israelis. But for a true believer, surrender is not an option. It is like turning the back to the open door of paradise.
Like five-time prayer, month-long fasting, hajj and zakat, jihad is also the core responsibility of every Muslim. In Prophet (peace be upon him) 's days, every Muslim man took part in jihad; those who stayed away from jihad were labelled as munafiq (hypocrite). The Muslims' defeat started when this highest ibadah was abandoned by the common Muslims and it turned into a war of the secularist professionals living in Army barracks. Taliban could get the victory because they fought the war as jihad. And whenever there is jihad, Allah Sub'hana wa Ta'la with His angels stands as a concerned party to that. And as per Islamic belief, victory comes only from Allah Sub'hana wa Ta'la –as revealed in sura Anfal verse 10, "wa ma nasru illa min in'dillah (And there is no victory except from Allah Sub'han wa Ta'la).
Believers join jihad on their own –as they join prayer and fasting on their own. Hence it doesn't need any recruitment officer. Allah Sub'hana wa Ta'la Himself prompts His believers to join the jihad. A true believer always tries to bring perfection in his prayer. Likewise, a believer also always tries to bring perfection in his fighting skills. Like improving five-time prayers, improving war skills becomes a part of his life. As a result, every Muslim city and every village becomes a cantonment. And every household becomes a training cell. And every Muslim is a trainer as well as a trainee. Hence Taliban didn't need any cantonment. This is why the best general in Muslim history like Khaled bin Walid, Sa'ad bin Abi Waqqas, and Tariq bin Ziad was not the product of any Army Academy or stuff college. They grew up in the locality where they lived. It was their deep passion for jihad that helped them constantly refining their war skills. Their war strategies are taught in Army academies in the developed countries.
In recent history, those who could stand successfully against the enemies are the jihadis and not the secular Army professionals. Taliban in Afghanistan, Hamas in Palestine and Hizbullah in Lebanon are examples. The joint armies of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan couldn't stand for six days against Israel in the 1965 war. In that war, Egypt lost the whole of Sinai Peninsula, Syria lost the Golan Heights, and Jordan lost the West Bank region. Whereas in 2014, Hamas could stand up against Israeli air and land attacks for 50 days. In 1971, Pakistan Army couldn't stand against the Indian Army even for three weeks. They quickly surrendered –as if they were ready for that. These are the eye-catching failures of the so-called professional Armies grown up in secular cantonments. These secular armies showed their success only in occupying their own countries by military takeover –as happened in Turkey, Iraq, Pakistan, Egypt, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Indonesia, Nigeria, and many others.
Whereas those who could defeat three World Powers like the British, Soviet Russia, and the USA were not the formal Army men. They were the jihadis grown up in villages of Afghanistan. In the early days of Islam, the same happened in wars against the Roman and the Persian Empires. Those wars were won by the fighters grown up in villages. This is indeed the crucial learning point. Like five-time prayers and month-long fasting, jihad should come to every Muslim's life in every community. Teaching war skills and war strategies should return back from cantonments to the people living in cities, townships and villages. This should be part and parcel of every Muslim's life. Only this way Muslims can successfully fight the enemies and regain the lost glory. This is indeed the legacy of the golden days of the Muslims.
The new challenges
The Taliban could defeat the USA-led coalition but now face new challenges. Enemies' war only changes its frontiers and strategies but never ends. The USA has declared that it will withdraw all of its troops from Afghanistan by 31 August 2021. That doesn't mean that the USA's war has ended. It will take new strategies and new weapons on new frontiers to defeat the Taliban's Islamic project. It is a stern and proven reality that whoever stands for Islam instantly faces an imposed war. If a true Muslim stands alone on a mountain, Satan still has a plan against him. As long as the Taliban people stand for Prophet (peace be on him) 's Islam that entails Islamic state, sharia, hudud, shura, jihad and trans-ethnic brotherhood, they will never have a war-free day. The enemies will never end their hostility. Even the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) –the most peaceful man on the earth in the whole of human history, was not given a chance to carry out his mission peacefully. War after the war was imposed on him. Pakistan had only two wars in its more than 73 years of existence, but Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had more than 20 wars in his ten years of rule.
Therefore, those who think that the war in Afghanistan has ended and a new era of peace will overwhelm are living in fools' paradise. There are millions of Islamophobic people inside and outside Afghanistan who vehemently oppose Islam's victory in that strategic country. The neighbouring states of Afghanistan like Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and China will never like the full Islamisation of Afghanistan. All these states are under the occupation of radical secularists. Full Islamisation of Afghanistan will help it emerge as the Islamic civilization state and will initiate a tide of Islamisation in the whole area. Hence there prevails a consensus among the rulers of the neighbouring countries to restrict the Islamisation of Afghanistan at any cost. And the USA-led coalition will be an ever-ready partner in that combined effort.
However, there is good news for the Islamists. The USA has ceased to win any war since its humiliating defeat in Vietnam in the seventies. Former US President Barak Obama once boastfully proclaimed that the American soldiers are invincible. The ragtag Afghan mujahids have solidly proven how futile that claim was. They can only occupy a land, flatten its hills, kill its people, destroy its cities, and torture its men and women but can't win a war. Moreover, a country can be occupied, and its soldiers can be killed, but bombs, drones and missiles can't kill an ideology. So, Islam and Islamists prove to be invincible and not the USA soldiers.
The USA made its war in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. All these wars are indeed parts of the same fight and had the same objective. It is to kill and terrorize Muslims, destroy Muslim cities and dismantle the backbone of the Muslim states. To create a climate of awe and terror in the Muslim World, the US and allied bombed historic cities like Mosul, Ramadi, Falluja, Raqqa, Kobani, Aleppo, Dera'jur and many others to razed to the ground. Georg W. Bush declared his war as a crusade. And crusade has a special historical and ideological connotation. It is a Christians' religious war against Islam and the Muslims. They used the war in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria genocidal to take revenge for the 9/11 deaths of 2996 people. In revenge, they killed hundreds of thousands and maimed many more. On 9/11, only 2 buildings were destroyed, but the US Army destroyed hundreds of thousands.
The western media do not publish the crimes of the USA and NATO Armies committed in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. But they portray the Taliban and other Islamists as the worst savage people on earth. If the US Army destroys a whole village or a market doesn't become news. But if Islamists kill any enemy, man becomes a headline. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, they discovered Islam and Islamists as the new enemy of the west. So the western media are constantly demonizing Islam and the Islamists. They show no love for democracy. Hence the military coup against President Dr. Mohammad Morsi of Egypt gets applauded in the west. The western leaders denied accepting the victory of Hamas in the 2006 election in Palestine. They encouraged a military takeover over Algeria in 1991 to obstruct the election victory of the Islamist FIS. The same western media showed displeasure for a failed coup against President Erdogan of Turkey. They portray Mr. Erdogan as an autocrat –although he is elected by popular votes. But their love for killer autocrats like the king of Saudi Arabia and General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi knows no bound.
The war in a new phase
The USA will never remain silent or inactive against the Islamists' takeover in Afghanistan. Afghanistan has enormous geopolitical importance. It is the gateway to South Asia, Central Asia, China, and Iran. Hence whoever controls Afghanistan gets the privilege to influence a very huge and significant part of the world. This is why the USA's invasion of Afghanistan didn't aim not only to dismantle Taliban rule but also to politically dominate the whole area. Moreover, the chances of Afghanistan rising up as an Islamic civilizational force is huge. It has the treasure of rich history, ideology, culture, geopolitical potential and the fighting spirit. Most Muslim countries are either nationalist or tribalist -home only to the people of a specific ethnic and linguistic identity. But the people of Afghanistan are more cosmopolitan. Hence people of various tribes and languages like the Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Turkomans, Hazara, and Baluch have lived in the same country for a millennium. And Islam thrives only in such a cosmopolitan milieu.
Afghanistan is one of the few Muslim countries that could protect itself from the colonial occupation. As a result, this is the only country globally that has the highest number of people who stay out of secularists' influence and stay firmly adherent to Prophet's Islam that entails Islamic emirate, sharia, hudud, shura, trans-ethnic unity. Here, jihad is an indispensable part of people's culture. The per capita weapons in Afghanistan are the highest in the world. Moreover, Afghanistan is the only country in the world that could defeat three World Powers –the British, Soviet Russia and the USA -while these countries were at the peak of their military might. Taliban have already earned the skills to survive air attacks, drone attacks and heavy artillery shelling for the last 20 years. Such enemy attacks could only breed a new generation of diehard fighters. Hence Taliban has nothing to lose. They have every chance to prevail.
The dominant world powers like the USA, Russia and China will not allow Afghanistan to fall into the hands of the Islamists. They find their danger in it. Thousands of Chechens, Uzbeks, and Uighurs from Russia and China fought shoulder to shoulder with the Taliban against the occupying forces. Since Soviet Russia's occupation in 1979, Afghanistan worked as a training institute as well as an epicentre of global jihad –as was the case of the first Islamic State under the leadership of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The anti-Islamic World Powers don't like that. The USA occupation in 2001 was aimed at undoing that role of Afghanistan. But it failed. The US occupation only added more fuel to enhance the flame of jihad that defeated the global coalition.
During 20 years of occupation, the USA and its western partners did a lot of political, educational and cultural engineering. They could create a class of pro-western secularised people who could become partners in their occupation. Although these people are fully subservient and ideologically compatible with the west, they become fully incompatible with the common people. That helped the Taliban to conquer Afghanistan with lightning speed. These ideological and cultural converts became equally Islamophobic like their ideological siblings of the west. Because of that, they hate not only the Taliban but also Islamic sharia and other Islamic obligation. So it becomes unthinkable that these two incompatibles can stay together. This is why there is now a rush to flee Afghanistan.
Afghanistan has become the strongest epicentre of political earthquakes in the whole of South and Central area. It has every potential to turn global –as happened in the early days of Islam. In fact, the occupation by Soviet Russia and the USA has played a catalyst role to cause a huge ideological and cultural transformation in favour of Islam. This is why it also remains a target of the US-led global coalition of war on Islam. However, those who can give blood can shake people's hearts and make a revolution. They find it a gateway to enter paradise. The Afghan Islamists have made a new history in pursuing that gateway. The early Muslims did the same. More than half of the Prophet's (peace be upon him) companions became shaheed (martyr) to meet that target. As a result, they could bring huge ideological, political and cultural revolution in large parts of Asia, Africa and Europe. In the same way, the Afghan Islamists will surely shake the geopolitics of neighbouring Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Xin Xian and Kashmir. The countries like the USA, Russia, China, Turkey, Pakistan and India have no love for such Islam. They have their own acceptable version of Islam where Prophet (peace be upon him) 's Islam that talks about Islamic State, sharia, jihad, shura, and Muslims' global unity have no place. Hence they are desperate to contain the fallout.
Taliban's war is indeed a civilizational war that never ends. The enemies of Islam will surely deploy new strategies, new weapons and new actors. The war will have two war fronts: the cold war and the war with arms and ammunitions. Afghanistan and the neighbouring countries have no shortage of mercenaries. And those mercenaries are ready for sale if get a lucrative price. Most likely, the USA, Russia and other anti-Islamic countries will follow the Libyan model. They will recruit warlords like Khalifa Haftar and thousands of native and foreign mercenaries to fight their wars. They will support them with money, missiles, drone and airstrikes. This way, they will try their best to resist the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. This would be plan A for the ant-Taliban forces. If the Taliban succeeds to take full control, they will deploy plan B. It is the same strategy that the USA executed against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. They will not send any land troops but will send bombers to flatten the major cities like Kabul, Kandahar, Jalalabad, Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif, Lashkergah and others. Truly, they don't differentiate between ISIS and the Taliban. The country that could ethnically cleanse the Red Indians and drop nuclear bombs in the past will face no moral inhibition to commit massive destruction of cities and genocidal massacre of the Afghan people. Western media are ever-ready to call such a project of mass destruction and massacres as the US-led restoration of humanity -as they did during the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
The American values and the danger for the humanity
The USA is built on a culture of military occupation, genocide, ethnic cleansing, settlement colonization, slave labour and exploitation. Such a culture always influences its ethics, politics and warfare. So it could drop nuclear bombs, barrel bombs, chemical bombs, and mother of all bombs on the civilian population without an iota of remorse. The US Army and its allies have killed millions of people in recent years all over the world. They have razed hundreds of cities and villages to dust in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lybia, Somalia, Yemen and Syria. The USA used chemical bombs in Vietnam. These are American values. The USA repeatedly shows that it has no love for human lives and democracy. They want to resist the emergence of Islam. It only wants worldwide political and economic dominance. For that, it has more than 800 military bases outside its border. It takes brutal autocrats as subservient partners to keep the dominance. It has its naval and air bases in Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and other countries to protect the killer autocrats of the Middle East. But the captive media of the west and also of the Muslim World promote the USA as the leader of the free world and depict Islamists as the forces of the dark ages. As if the cities of Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria were destroyed by the Islamists!
What a shame that the worst criminals on the earth, like the rulers in the USA, Israel, Russia, China and India, enjoy impunity. They enjoy unlimited licences to commit the worst crimes. The UN Security Council shows its readiness only to ratify those crimes, let alone condemn them. No power on the earth could prosecute and punish these criminals. The International Criminal Court could catch only some small fishes, but the big fishes always stay out of their net. So the crimes in Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Xin Xian, and Kashmir go unabated. So, the world has turned terribly unsafe for the defenceless weak. Now the non-aligned media of the world and the people with moral conscience have a duty. They can at least make the crimes and the name of the criminals known to the world. At least these criminals must be shamed by the people of the world. Immense credit goes to the Islamists of Afghanistan that they could successfully oust the criminals from their country. It was the longest war in the USA, and it has badly lost. Thus the Afghan Islamists of Afghanistan did a great service to the defenceless people of the whole world. The arrogant wolf has been given a good slap on the face. They are the real heroes on earth. Their heroic bravery will be remembered in the annals of mankind through millenniums. However, since the enemies still exist, the war also persists. The peace-loving people of Afghanistan need to show their talent, valour, iman, perseverance and unity in the continuation of the fight.
The conspiracy and the only choice
The enemies' ongoing war on Islam and conspiracy against Islamists will continue for all ages to come. This is indeed the testing ground for the believers that will function all the time in all places. Muslims all over the world have only one option. They can stand either with the Islamists or with the enemies. They have no third option. For standing with the right people, they must possess the minimum skills to know the friends as well the foes of Islam. Both sets of people have eye-catching markers. Therefore anyone with common sense can easily figure them out. In fact, every man or woman faces a crucial moral test here. On the Day of Judgement, Allah Sub'hana wa Ta'la will not ask about the skills in business, agriculture, medicine or engineering, but about the ability to know the truth from the falsehood and identifying the friends of Islam from the foes. And also will be asked about the success and failure in engaging in the right side of the war.
The enemies of Islam are known for their utter deprivation of love for Islam and the Islamists. Nor do they have any love for human lives, human values and democratic rights. With the victory of the Taliban, the new conspiracy has also started. Now the enemies are demanding that the Taliban government should be fully inclusive. That implies that the Taliban should take their enemies in the government. In fact, it is the enemies' strategy to spoil the Taliban's Islamic rule at its nascent state. Is the US government inclusive? About half of the US people are Republican, are they included in the Democratic President's government? Millions of Muslims live in the USA. Is any Muslim included in the US policy-making body? The same question is very relevant to the government of India, China, Russia, the UK, France, Germany, and others.
In most Muslim countries, the enemies have robbed human rights and effectively blocked the path of democratic participation for the Islamists. Civil and military fascism dominate in almost all of the Muslim countries. The countries that are run by monarchs –like kingdoms and sheikhdoms of the Arab World get full protection from the USA. And the countries that stand brutally against the Islamists get economic and military aid and political support from the USA and its western ally. An example is Egypt. The military junta of Egypt is known for murderous brutality against the Islamists. General Abdel Fatah al-Sissi deposed the elected Islamist President Dr Mohammad Morsi and killed more than two thousand peaceful protestors on one evening in the street of Cairo on 14 August 2012. He used tanks on the street against the unarmed civilians. For that brutality, the Egyptian regime is being awarded 1.3 billion US dollars annually from the USA. And the military coup of General al-Sissi was described by former US President Barak Obama as the restoration of democracy by the Army.
Those who are the enemy of Islam have a distinctive character. A man of little common will not fail to identify them. They love the US policy of invasion, destruction, genocide, and Guantanamo Bay-like confinement and torture. They also love the Israeli policy of occupation, ethnic cleansing, land grabbing, settlement expansion and apartheidism. Their war is on Islam, Islamic state, sharia, hudud, jihad, and Muslim unity no more stays hidden. Former USA President Donald Trump boastfully told that the USA will not tolerate any Islamic State on the earth. President Biden's policy is no different either. They want to see Islam strictly confined within the rituals like five-time prayer, month-longing fasting, hajj and zakat. They do not offer Islam any role in politics, economics, judiciary, education, culture and warfare. At the same time, Islam presents an altogether different picture. Prophet Muhammad was the head of the state for ten years. He left behind a vast wealth of legacies in politics, state-building, social and economic policies and other spheres of practical life. It is a binding obligation that Muslims must put into practice those legacies. But those who want to practise those legacies are labelled as political Islamists cum terrorists and face imposed war of annihilation. This is why the Taliban people also face an imposed war. More than 50 countries were brought into that bloody war in Afghanistan.
The time for the Taliban
Most people will go to hellfire not for killing someone or committing adultery, theft or robbery. They will go to the hellfire to stand with the known enemies of Islam. Nobody is perfect in this world. Perfection is an attribute reserved only for Allah Sub'hana wa Ta'la. So the Islamists may not be perfect either. They may have errors and failures. But everyone needs to decide on some crucial matters. Most Muslims in the Muslim World are standing for secularism, nationalism, tribalism, fascism, monarchism, and military fascism. But Islamists are the only people who are standing for Islam and sacrificing their lives to end kuffar occupation and to implement Islamic education, sharia, hudud, and jihad. In Afghanistan, they are the Taliban. These facts are not obscure from the public eyes.
It is also true that so far, all the chances of ruling Muslim countries have been usurped by the monarchists, the military and civil fascists, the secularists, and the nationalists. Now it is the time to give a fair chance to the Islamists. Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. Although most parts of their time were spent on encountering enemies, stability, peace and the rule of law could return only during their rule. In those Taliban days, crimes were reduced significantly. And that opportunity was dismantled by the US invasion. The Taliban rule could eradicate poppy cultivation and drug trade almost completely. Law and order situations also improved. These were big achievements. This is why they enjoy popular support among the people. But the hostile media don't appreciate that. They consider Islam worse than the American and Israeli occupation, killing and barbarity. Hence they stand so inimical to Islamists. So they launched a war against the Taliban. Taliban have no other option but to fight the enemies. The Armies of more than 50 countries couldn't defeat them in 20 years. Therefore, how do they dare to defeat them now?
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