As the First Year of Taliban Regime Ends, What’s Happening in Afghanistan?
by Omid Jurrat Rastakhiz
On the 15th of August, exactly one year will have passed since the seizing of power in Afghanistan by the Taliban. Last year, exactly in these days, the provinces and districts of Afghanistan were being occupied one by one by the vomit of history that is the Taliban while the western imperialist backed government had only the capital Kabul and a few large cities left. The diplomacy between the USA, Taliban, and Ghani administration was still going on. The people waited until the last moment, thinking that this whole affair was a play and that the Taliban would be incorporated into the current regime by being given a large share. Yet, the people were unaware of what was taking place behind closed curtains and would only learn when Kabul fell on August the 15th. Thus, everyone was caught off guard. Even the intellectuals, even though they knew that the USA would leave one day, didn’t expect the events to take place so rapidly, to be honest. Yet, everything seems so much clearer when looking back.
The western media, without any shame, served the Armageddon-like images of Kabul Airport to the world as “surprising” and “unbelievable” events for months. But, all of this propaganda does not suffice to hide the fact that the thing that happened in Afghanistan happened in broad daylight. After the invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR, the USA, with the help of its soldiers in command of Pakistan and Arabian Gulf Regimes, fed and nurtured jihadist thugs. At the beginning of the 2000s, it rounded these jihadists up and put them on hold on short notice for its later plans in order to accomplish the Greater Middle East Project under the guise of “War on Terror” when it was apparent that the jihadist mobs’ expire dates were overdue. The jihadist thugs and the technocrats the CIA raised took Afghanistan 20 years back.
West, in the 20 years that passed, formed “Security Forces” for Karzai and Ghani’s puppet regimes and sought to create ideological shields for these two names with abstract concepts like “Freedom”, “Democracy” and “Women’s Rights”. But, while saying all these, it didn’t hesitate to put the cruelest, most traitorous, and most corrupt people of the country in power. On the one hand, trillions of dollars were being poured into Afghanistan; and on the other, trillions were plundered out of the country by, again, the men of the USA. The country became the center of drug trafficking never seen before in history; so much so that, it started to produce more than 90% of the world’s drugs. So, the USA and its allies were always aware of the things done by the leaders infamous for their corruption worldwide. Again, these same names were being rewarded by the USA. Therefore, why would those who fight on the front fighters fight for the corrupt bureaucracy, commanders of the “Security Forces”, the ministers, and the governors, which stole even their food and clothing? They got so shameless that when a wife of a dead soldier went to withdraw her husband’s puny salary, she would face the reality that only by having sexual intercourse with these warlords they would be able to do so. The USA knew all of this. It not only turned a blind eye but also even incentivized the spread of corruption.
Imperialism is not fond of oppressed peoples; it doesn’t concern itself with their freedom. It only takes a few restorations in accordance with its small-time strategies and it just helps to put makeup on the ongoing barbarism under the cover. We can see an example of this in the backstabbing of the Kurdish people in Syria. Lenin, who describes the vileness of imperialism the best, in his book “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism,” writes, “Imperialism strives for domination and not for freedom.” Therefore, for US imperialism, there are no friends, only interests.” Therefore, for the USA’s imperialism, there are no allies; only interests.
Was the Capture of Afghanistan by the Taliban pre-planned?
Without a doubt, such a plan was considered since the Karzai regime and was executed step by step. The imperialist-built, faux government’s abandonment of Afghanistan to bare-footed Taliban fighters without firing a single bullet, when it had the equipment and military power to defeat a ten-fold Taliban, shows that some plans had lain behind closed curtains. The helicopters’ dropping off provisions, weapons, and equipment was well known by everyone, even under the Karzai administration. Karzai didn’t fall behind referring to the Taliban as “my brothers” and “Afghan Youth”, even when they killed his brother in the second term of his administration. I remember that I was invited to a wedding in a small village in Faryab’s Andkhoy district, 13 years ago. I met a middle-aged, fat, and blonde woman, who introduced herself as Belgian, there. She said that she lived in Andhoy. When I asked her what she was doing in a far and secluded place of the country; she said that she was here for help and that she wanted to build a school. I later learned that she did build a girls’ school. But, she also helped build three religious madrasahs in neighboring villages. Yet, the people running those madrasahs were in direct contact with the Taliban. And without even a few years passing, Islamists yearning to blow themselves up for religion would raise hundreds of brainwashed youths begging to join the Taliban’s side. This is only one of many examples. Hundreds of religious madrasahs were built swiftly after the USA invasion of Afghanistan, in the northern parts of the country. Meanwhile, we were seeing in the media that, after the invasion of the country, the schools were opening up and that millions of children going to school, including girls; but no one was talking about these madrasahs. So, with these examples in mind, there isn’t much need to think hard to figure out the USA’s real objective. If the USA imperialism didn’t intend to leave Afghanistan to the Taliban, it would instantly remove Ghani’s jihadist-mafia government. But, the USA made it so that Ghani’s government fell out of favor in the people’s eyes, so that they would be grateful to the Taliban for rescuing them from corruption, robbery, and cruelty. Taliban, who are the spoiled children of regressive Arab regimes and Pakistan, would never even be able to dream about defeating the US and taking the country. They considered it enough to have some share in the government. But the chain of events happened so quickly that even the Taliban itself wasn’t expecting it. If the USA had not agreed with the Taliban on every issue because of its new policies; the Taliban, forget the USA forces, didn’t have enough power to move “The Afghan National Army” an inch. Furthermore, we bore witness to the killings of warrior generals able to stand against the Taliban one by one in the latest stages.
What did the Taliban do in a Year?
Taliban did nothing to take the country out of the crisis in a year. Conversely, it made it so that things are even more complex. The first thing they did was dismantle The Ministry of Women’s Affairs, which only existed as a symbolic ministry and wasn’t concerned with women’s rights at all. In its place, they put The Ministry of the Religious Police, and it was met with protests of some intellectual women. Yet, these protests were brutally suppressed. Most of the women who were protesting were arrested and silenced by threats. The so-called free media was also silenced and no one was able to talk against the Taliban on screen. The few who did were deeply intimidated by threats, torturing, and imprisonment. Meanwhile, the Taliban, who couldn’t handle the economic crisis and was confused as to what to do, fired most of the civil servants and lowered the remaining ones’ salaries by more than half. The new regime unable to pay even its militias found the solution in keeping the drug traffic alive once again.
On the other hand, the regime didn’t forget to put restrictions on a lot of general and personal freedoms. Music was banned, and the musicians were tortured. Some of them who stayed in the country were even killed.
Even though a year has passed, the doors of middle schools and high schools are still not open to girls. And in the universities, the classes became divided according to gender. Religious subjects are increased in schools and universities. Western clothing got banned in government buildings. Civil servants without a beard and a turban were fired. While the officials state that everyone is free to grow a beard in the media, people without beards, especially the ones in the countryside, faced the fury of Taliban militias from time to time. Even I, who is writing these sentences, couldn’t save myself from a slap because I got a beard cut in the marketplace. On the other hand, after killing those that opposed them, the Taliban displayed their corpses a few times, saying that they were ISIS militants or enemies of the religion.
Another issue is ethnic conflicts. First of all, let’s say this: the absolute majority of Taliban is ethnically Pashtun and the Pashtuns only account for 34% of Afghanistan’s population according to many sources. Taliban’s provisional government’s members and mayors are composed of 98% Pashtuns. And, also, Afghanistan’s primary official language is Dari (Afghan Persian). Yet, almost all institutes and the media of the government have already started to speak mainly Pashto. People who don’t speak Pashto often times can’t get their business done in official places. Ones that don’t speak Pashto or are not Pashtun are neglected everywhere. It seems that we will face very dangerous ethnic conflicts in the future. In fact, the conflicts have already started. Strangely, the conflict first started within the Taliban itself. First, the Faryabian, ethnically Uzbek Mahdum Alim was arrested by the intelligence and taken to Kabul, even though he fought on the Taliban’s side for years. This has caused conflicts to happen for a few days in the city of Maymana. Last of all, violent conflicts took place in the province of Sar-e Pol and the Balkhab district. Mawlawi Makhdi, who is an ethnic Hazara and someone who fought on the Taliban’s side against the former regime, started a rebellion against his bosses. Although a month has passed, no clear information on what happened and who won in Balkhab has come out. Because the Taliban both cut the city’s electricity and the internet connection, and no one is allowed enter or leave the district. Examples like these are heard from all over Afghanistan. It seems that someone in power seeks to incite these ethnic affairs. If things go on as they do, many militias on the Taliban’s side, who are not ethnic Pashtuns, are predicted to join ISIS.
On the other hand, it seems that the Taliban has little to no control over the lower ranks. Lately, Taliban commanders have started to clash with one another in many places. Besides, Taliban is already split in two as Haqqani network and Kandahar Taliban; the fight for power is ongoing. Mollah Hibatullah, who is known as the head of Taliban or “Amir of Believers”, still has not shown his face. Whether or not Mollah Hibatullah exists is still not clear.
What happens next?
There are two options in front of Taliban, and both will result in its defeat. The first one is that it would do as the USA and NATO say, would accept some of the technocrats from the former regime to the government, would open up girls’ schools and grant some symbolic rights; but, meanwhile, the corruption and chaos would continue, and, constituents angry with the governing body would go and join the ISIS and other terrorist organizations. In this conjuncture, the USA’s imperialism, because of its long-term strategy, would want to break up China’s activity in the region; and, to do that, would use Uyghurs, separatist Tibetans, ISIS, and terrorist organizations in Muslim countries of Central Asia as a trump card. In this case, the Taliban’s lifespan would be very short and it would fall in a couple of years’ time. In its place, terrorist organizations able to do as they please anywhere and exactly to the West’s liking would take power. And, the USA would be able to hinder China’s interest in the region for a really long time. The second one is that it would not give up its radical status, and would continue to oppress other peoples, especially with the Pashtunism ideology. This would lead to the separation of the country. If the country falls to separation, it would lead to a bloody war lasting for many years, in my opinion. Because, more than 30 ethnic groups live in Afghanistan, intertwined with one another and spread out all across the country. So, even a question like who gets to take which region could potentially last for decades. In this case, the power would once again fall in the hands of the likes of ISIS or El Qaida, which are waiting for the opportunity; and, the country would witness crises lasting for many years. In the end, the USA would not let Russia and China use Afghanistan’s resources easily and would use every trump card it has.
I would like to touch upon Ahmad Massoud’s supporters’ resistance in the Panjshir district. It’s hard to say that small resistances, sometimes even reported on in the media, have the power to alter the situation. Because, Shoora-e Nazar (Ahmad Shah Massoud and now his son Ahmad Massoud), who has a bad legacy, don’t have people’s support. They have walked the same road with people looting the country for 20 years anyways. They also couldn’t get any foreign country’s support. They are on a dead-end adventure in mountainous regions all by themselves. First, they asked for support from France; it led to no avail. Then, they turned to Russia and Tajikistan; again, to no avail. Therefore, I foresee their resistance ending in a short while.
It is also important to touch upon the Afghan left. As it is well known, leftist organizations, very weak and small in numbers, were active in the country. But, the most active and notable one got into an inner conflict and people capable of doing anything were purged with a coup, one month before the Taliban came. These events happening one month before the Taliban’s arrival raises question marks in people’s minds. It is deplorable that especially the young cadres dispersed after the liquidation. Overall, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Afghanistan’s leftist organizations had people working for imperialism in their central cadres. Unfortunately, we are just getting to know these people.
In the end, it seems that Afghanistan, if left abandoned as it is now, will boil for many years. Soon, the country will witness ethnic conflicts and it will lead to the separation of Afghanistan. Yet, this separation never minds being a solution, will lead to greater wars and destruction. The duty to prevent this from happening falls on the shoulder of socialists. Although the desperation of the situation shatters any kind of hope, we shouldn’t give up. We should work towards, secretly if necessary, enlightening new generations and especially organizing the youth. Because the only way out of this barbarian world is socialism.
Long live Socialism and the fraternity of peoples!