“We are born of love; Love is our mother.” – Rumi
Mor Jane (mother dear-in Pashto- narration for peace and stability)
With a deep abyss, cleaving to the soil I stand tall, backed by the most overwhelming glory of Afghanistan’s reputation and the history that weaves in geography, economics, and culture.
The enduring distress of instability with decades of foreign occupation, civil war, and insurgency has marred my existence. I remember and honour the innocent Afghan people who lost their lives in conflict over the years in Afghanistan.
I powerfully reflect the strength of Afghanistan that reminisce the prolific embellishments- strategic location, vast mineral resources, abode of nature and the heart of Afghan people. My emotions are running high as Mor Jane; I witnessed brutality for so many years. Sacrifices of my people were not contemplated for a worthy cause.
Do I deserve it for my people?
There is a great challenge that requires bridging.
Mor Jane (I) embodied the essence of togetherness and represented a measure of hope for the Afghan people which is epitomized in the emblematic colour of Afghanistan’s flag that foregrounds the nation’s dynamic history, bravery and hope.
How was my soil caught in extremely deadly weather? The unprecedented challenge is a result of others vested interest in Afghanistan from time to time-Mughals, Britons, Russian invasions and then evolved the dynamics of the international relations arena which has no generous offer for peace to our people. I cannot let that happen; I aspire and have been longing to revitalize peace for my people for decades.
Where do I stand today- Perilous Headwinds?
I have been inheriting war and bloodshed for generations, there is no respite to it- creating victims. It is almost 42 years since my wounds deepened with inequalities and lasting damage- poverty, drought, eroding the trust that is haunted generations to follow. I am wondering what kind of future I will be building for my children under the shadow of weapons, danger and threats. This path has pushed me recklessly to the brink of catastrophe today.
Did the global leaders approach to address Afghanistan’s fragilities meet an effective mechanism? It failed to mobilize the kind of governance needed to address our shared challenges. Our political crisis is compounded by many other profound humanitarian crises: record numbers of people forced to flee their homes; a context of rising geopolitical tensions; deepened by hunger, poverty, and drought and health crisis.
This situation could last for many years if the lawlessness, faltering response from the international community and humanitarian crisis continues on me.
And today sadly and disturbingly, my existence is battered with virulent intentions and circumstances which have left me in an acute moment in battling the demon-ethnic divide, international engagements with perilous intentions for their self-interest.
Ethnic divide- a mechanism to create instability
Afghan people as a nation-building lever got affected by ethnic dysfunction created by malicious acts and intentions of belligerent parties. Pakistan and Iran used the ethnic potential for conflicts in Afghanistan.
Uzbek militia, Hizb-i-wahdat, Jamiat-i islami, were the different forms of groups representing different ethnicities in Afghanistan creating widening discontent and declining trust among the country people as ethnicity have been used for the recognition of the political parties. In the political sphere, it is important to diminish the influence of ethnicity that would endeavour the goals of nation-building and help to reach greater harmony to enable us to resolve and – most importantly – to prevent conflicts.
I will continue to speak out strongly of the multitude of challenges Afghan people are facing today. The question arises to what are the dominant frameworks of international relations in recognizing the interest of the countries of the world- It must be constructive intention to listen to a legitimate concern.
Compounded by my concern, I have realized who is causing instability in Afghanistan.
It is important to mention that the regional role directly affects the conflict in Afghanistan. The immediate neighbour, Pakistan has been considered the most vital partner in playing a major role in Afghanistan’s peace process but a negative manner for decades. Pakistan’s deep-rooted connection with Al Qaeda, HaqqaniNetwork and other groups; the Taliban has attributed its strong foothold in inciting violence in Afghanistan.
It clearly understands Pakistan is directing the operations in Afghanistan and wants to keep the Taliban and other factions as a sort of guarantee or leverage. Pakistan maintains a close relationship with the Afghan Taliban as they are their potential allies in Afghanistan. Thus a Pakistan-controlled government is in their interest and Pakistan is fully committed to the Taliban and Pakistani arms supplies, military advisers, training and Islamist volunteers (Quetta Shura) played an important part in their various victorious campaigns.
Pakistan is projecting as if it is so good on one side and on the other side it is directing militant operations in Afghanistan. There is no doubt about it, everybody including the US is aware of it. The US knows the war they lost in Afghanistan; it is because of Pakistan providing support to the Taliban elements in their territory.
Knowing fully well that the Taliban is not a peaceful organization- it is a terrorist organization, it is killing innocent Afghan people. When Pakistan knows all these- why are they keeping all those militant elements there? Why is the Taliban leadership sitting in Pakistan? That is one thing I mention here. Pakistan remains the epicentre of the global Jihadi movement and the principal breeding ground of Islamic radicalism.
Darul Uloom Haqqania is an Islamic seminary in the town of Akora Khattak, Khyber Pakhtunkhwaprovince, northwestern Pakistan. This is about 100 kilometres away from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. All the top militant commanders of the Taliban graduated from there which include Mullaha Omar, Mullaha Mansoor, and the children of all the important leaders and 4-5 present cabinet ministers of Afghanistan graduated from there.
So the Darul Uloom Haqqania’s head, Hamid-Ul Haqsays ‘we are no longer to be called the University of Jihad but the University of Taliban Cabinet’. This means they are proud that all the Taliban members are graduated from this school which is located in Pakistan. Pakistan is giving support to it. In fact, the present Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan when he was the Chief Minister of Kyber Paktunkhawa, has donated 1 million pounds to this school. This school was even supported by the US at one point in time in the 1980s. Therefore it gives the connection between Pakistan and the Taliban who were fighting against the Afghan Government.
Russia and China Factor
Russia’s military build-up in Central Asia is to prevent any of the Taliban militants from infiltrating their country. Apart from Badakhshan province in Afghanistan, Russia has established a security post in Tajikistan maybe 10-12 posts. Moscow has established its military bases in Central Asia since 2012 and also supporting the militaries of Central Asian states with activities ranging from arms sales and joint military exercises to training and assistance programs, both in bilateral and Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) frameworks.
Moscow views Afghanistan’s political instability will have a spillover effect that will be possibly extended to Central Asian countries on reaching the Russian territory. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan is a potential military base for Russia.
As far as the US is concerned, they were fighting a lost war and leaving everything in mess.
Insurgency is a war that cannot be fought by weapons and as far as the insurgency in Afghanistan is concerned, it is a Jihad. Jihad cannot be fought by weapons. It is a war that has to be fought ideologically which the Americans fail to recognize.
For the past 20 years they have not won the military battle, they lost the military battle also because what happened is the Taliban elements who ever fought there have their bases in Pakistan across the Durrandline and the leaders were living in Quetta, Pakistan. Now they could not force Pakistan to tell them to arrest them and send them to the US and they could not tell Pakistan to throw these bases out of Pakistan,-‘let them get into Afghanistan and we will sort them out. So these Afghan Taliban was living in Pakistan, they came to Afghanistan committed atrocities and went back to Pakistan. Refreshed, collected weapons, procured weapons; coming from Pakistan side, money is coming from Pakistan.
As far as the US is concerned, if we compare it with the Vietnam War, did America win the Vietnam War? It went on a similar note just like what is happened in Afghanistan, just like it is finished because Vietnam is fighting its Guriella war whereas Americans were using aircraft, weapons, carriers, bombs—it does not work.
The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’’s statement on September 13 addressing the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, US
“(Pakistan has) multiplicity of interests some that are in conflict with ours.” “It is one that is involved hedging its bets constantly about the future of Afghanistan, it’s one that’s involved harbouring members of the Taliban … It is one that’s also involved in different points cooperation with us on counterterrorism,”
“This is one of the things we’re going to be looking at in the days, and weeks ahead – the role that Pakistan has played over the last 20 years but also the role we would want to see it play in the coming years and what it will take for it to do that”.
Right from the time, the war started in Afghanistan and the 9/11 attacks in the US, the former US President George Bush- from that time, Pakistan has been playing a double game. The US has always had a problem in stationing the American troops in Afghanistan. Initially, the US had stable relations with Russia, and Russia has permitted the US to supply and cooperate in security measures through the northern route. “U.S.-Russian cooperation in the initial stages of the Afghan war appeared to be transformative, and Moscow likened the anti-terror “.
But as the relationship deteriorated, Russia blocked its route and as far as Iran is concerned there is no question of anything going to Afghanistan through Iran because the Iran-US relationship is in very bad shape. So the US had to only depend on Pakistan which they had continued to depend on. This is the background of US involvement with Pakistan in regards to Afghanistan since the beginning.
Firstly, the US depended on Pakistan to get the Taliban on the dialogue table in Doha. Both Pakistan and Doha organized the meetings there in Doha and Americans depended a lot on them, what they told them, what they did not tell them, how much they influence them-it is not known but one thing has come out-the US agreement with the Taliban was not clear- it was an agreement for the withdrawal but not for peace in Afghanistan, that is very clearly come out.
It appears today and to understand the internal political situation in the US, the entire Republican camp is pointing out to President Biden on US withdrawal from Afghanistan. It is a great embarrassment to Biden though he has been a President for seven months. The withdrawal and subsequent ISIS attack followed with US drone attack after hours of surveillance on Aug. 29 against a vehicle that American officials thought contained an ISIS bomb and posed an imminent threat to troops at Kabul’s airport. Those men which nobody is sure whether it is ISIS or whether it is Pakistan sponsored Haqqani network attack. It is not very clear till now. The 13 American soldiers who lost their lives and the bad name the US have earned. Today the situation has come where the world thinks the US is not dependable, the dependability is questionable today.
Every country starting from Japan, South Korea, the Middle Eastern countries including Saudi Arabia, UAE- they have been depending on the US for their security, now they left Afghanistan. What is the guarantee that they may not leave them? So that is worrying them.
Biden- it is been 6-7 months being the President he has not spoken to the Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan yet. Why he has not spoken to Pakistan? Firstly, they have joined the Chinese and second they have played a double game with Americans concerning Afghanistan.
They also realize militarily because of the safe heaven they gave to the Taliban soldiers in the Pakistan side of the Durand Line, and also the leadership of Pakistan in Quetta. The American army lost the war. They are quite clear on that and therefore Americans wanting to sort out Pakistan. How they are going to do it is a matter of time.
Mor Jane’s Aspiration
Along with the globalization and regionalization, Afghanistan (Mor Jane) in recent years has yielded conspicuous growth- long term ideas, initiatives, and strategies for cooperation, to name a few briefly- women empowerment, technology, education, health, trade and investment. The war has brought a tsunami of suffering hindering the sustained growth of what it achieved in the past 20 years of democratic government.
The aspiration for peace can be achieved through political will, the consensus of the Taliban and the regional support in democratic lines leading to the forefront of dynamic, transformational movements and to reimagine the present and the future of Afghanistan. This could be truer and the realization of this aspiration depends on peace- long-lasting peace which is its bedrock to retaining itself as an ‘Afghan-led and Afghan-owned nation.
Mor Jane’s Strength
Afghanistan’s profound dynamics and its strategic location in the region is empowered with the ‘Heart of Asia’ position as ‘Silk Road’ that linked Asia and the Mediterranean basin for trade and trading routes since ancient times.
Today peace in Afghanistan is more important than ever for the global countries as there are manifold opportunities that Afghanistan can provide at the international level.
Embarking on the profound reflection of Afghanistan’s connectivity spells its immense potential the regional countries can seize for their economic development. The emerging opportunities through projects like TAPI, Chabahar port, Five Nations Railway project, Air Corridor programme, Lapis Lazuli route, CASA-1000 and many more can add new dimensions to Afghanistan at the global level.
Mor Jane-Way Forward
The hostilities of war inflicted by the Taliban have caused serious damage (on Mor Jane) to vital civilian infrastructure in Afghanistan including roads and electricity lines, contributing to a humanitarian emergency. It is imperative for the key partners in politics and the Taliban must align with the interest of the people of Afghanistan which the Afghan Government has outlined in the ‘Peace Road Map’.
The long-term goal for peace is to be kept alive by illuminating hope for the future of Afghanistan. The international and regional partners, including India, Pakistan, China, the US, Russia and Iran need to put weight on the stability not only for Afghanistan but for renewing the peace commitment and redoubling the efforts towards a negotiated solution that can bring this cruel violence and hatred to a definitive end.
The transition of Afghanistan should be an expression of self-confidence. Afghanistan engages with its regional partners with greater confidence and assurance at this critical juncture. Reeling under conflict for ages, the aspirations are ignited as ever and seemingly cannot make awkward choices. Against the backdrop of the recent trend of the regional countries role in Afghanistan will only demonstrate fruitful if the approach is articulated for the interest of Afghan people catering to pluralistic, preserving the unity and integrity of the international law in keeping with the tenets of the constitution.
At its heart, I (Mor Jane) intent to focus on how toprevent instability and bring forth peace and progress to my people.
Let us also remember the tens of thousands of Afghanpeople killed, wounded and traumatized by war needs support to rebuild their lives. The responsibility of the international community is to create opportunity for Afghan people reflecting on solidarity to reestablish the integrity in line with prosperity, development and international unity.