Afghanistan: Taliban vs. Zal Khalilzad
By Khalil Nouri STAFF WRITER / EDITOR
“Khalilzad: A Satan whispering in the Hearts of Men”, was titled in an email sent to many recipients by two Piled higher and Deeper (PhDs) expressing their views about Mr. Zal Khalilzad who apparently was in his 2014 preliminary presidential campaign mission lobbying to secure some tribal elders’ allegiance in Kabul recently. The PhDs, Messrs.’ Daud Mirakai and Rahmat Rabi Zirakyar are known to be fierce supporters of the One-Eyed Mullah Omar who’s in line for his second term as the “Emir al-Mu’minin” (Commander of the faithful) –title given by his ally Osama Bin Laden— of Afghanistan after US-NATO troops to withdraw in 2014.
We in NWSC, have to fully concur with Mr. Mirakai and Zirakyar (against our common sense rejection of their Taliban support), who are profoundly claiming against Mr. Khalilzad in regards to the timing of his effort, gaining political power while the Obama administration’s plan appears to allow a total Taliban takeover. Indeed, it is alarming news to hear a hardcore neocon Mr. Khalizad arriving on his white horse to rescue his forefather’s land from the fraudulent Karzai government and Taliban’s mayhem.
The reality of this debate is about the two mentioned supporters of the One-Eyed Mullah who are referring a satanic stanza about Mr. Khalilzad whose non-Afghan norms and full allegiance to Mr. Bush’s U.S. may not secure him a presidency seat in Afghanistan in 2014. So, the question arises as what are their “stance and justification,” by usually painting the One-Eyed-Mullah Omar as a saint and a nationalist Afghan, and Mr. Khalilzad as an American Satan in this coercion?
Well, it is the shear support for the “commander of the faithful” who is not only an illiterate crowned ass believing that he will be enthroned by Pakistan to lead Afghanistan, but also from the 12-century medieval Islamo fascist Wahabi, indoctrinated by Pakistan’s Inter Service Intelligence school of thoughts, deeming that his and his followers’ “Pashtun identity and matchless Islamic brand” are their one-way ticket to reclaim Afghanistan’s leadership once again.
First and foremost, if the One-Eyed Emir Al Mu’minin and his supporters consider themselves nationalist Afghan Pashtuns, then their Taliban movement should endorse and defend their national language, culture and identity through political expressions and slogans. Further, they also should aim to control their affairs without outside interferences. Moreover, they have to manage their own economic resources, and seek autonomy within a multinational state in order to structure its existence by protecting and promoting their Pashtun identity on all fronts, or even in certain cases, possibly to pursue an independent state of their own.
In fact, Taliban meet none of these criteria, neither in Afghanistan nor in Pakistan, and thus, they’re not considered a Pashtun nationalist movement, on the contrary, they mimic ideological and political inspirations from Arabs and others. They also consciously, as a matter of policy, target different cultural traits of Pahstuns, akin to tribal councils, folk music and musicians; they are not even concerned about the language and promote mostly Arabic and/or interestingly, Urdu—which only eight per cent of the 170 million Pakistanis speak it as their first language. In addition, their control over economic resources is not their concern; neither is any political or administrative manifestation of Pashtun identity is their goal.
Evidently, they have killed a large number of traditional Pashtun elders—in FATA, Southern and Eastern Afghanistan—and they also banned the centuries old Jirga as means of dispute settlement in areas under their influence. Sadly and deliberately, they have been eliminating the Pashtun way of life from the very core.
PAKISTAN is the REASON
In retrospect, the Soviet Union’s intervention in Afghanistan was Pakistan’s opportunity to achieve a long-cherished policy aims based on its threat perceptions from India. It had always considered Afghanistan’s closeness with India against its security and also feared Afghan claims about the Durand Line due to Pashtun unification along the tribal belt. In this state of affairs, it had always seen the Pashtun nationalist with suspicion.
The unitary post-colonial Pakistani state had always considered all the pluralist democratic identity movements as a threat, this was due to the Afghan connection, Pashtun identity, political and autonomy aspirations, even within Pakistan, were considered more so.
Pakistan’s use of religious extremists as a tool of policy began in early 1970s when most of the Mujahedeen leaders who rose to fame in 1980s were supported to counter the first Afghan President Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan’s government. This policy was furthered later by promoting the Mujahedeen amongst the resistance movement at the expense of Pashtun nationalists amongst the anti-Soviet resistance. The Pakistani state aimed at a social and political engineering of Pashtuns. It was believed that a secular Pashtun cannot be trusted.
The term “Taliban” referring to students of madrassas started when Mullah Omar led some of the students to prevent atrocities against the Mujahedeen groups who fought the Soviets in the Afghan war. In the beginning, even Americans considered the Taliban as a viable force to counter pan-Islamists as well as the neighboring Iran’s Shiite dominance in Central Asia. But very soon, international terrorists, mainly Al Qaeda, established connections with the Taliban and the terror networking rendezvous went spirally airborne.
Today, the only connection that remains between the Taliban and Pashtuns is that the term “Taliban” a Pashtu plural for the borrowed Arabic term Talib (student), and is widely used by them in the Pashtun tribal belt of Afghanistan and Pakistan. In a broader analysis, the sole unity between these diverse groups is that they follow a—piloted—particular brand of Islam–Wahhabi–based on historical alliance between the political and financial power represented by “Ibn Saud” in which, the religious authority is represented by “Mohammed Bin Abdul Al-Wahhab;” In fact, the religious faction was deviated from the mainstream religion of Islam.
“Committing yourself is a way of finding out who you are. A man finds his identity by indentifying.” Which took thousands of years for Pashtuns to identify themselves, but Talibanization is de-Pashtunisation of Pashtuns. And, before Taliban to criticize Zal Khalilzad’s identity crises they should look at their own as stated in this article. When the Taliban marched into Afghanistan carrying pictures of the former King Zahir Shah there was no resistance because the people of Afghanistan thought they were the King’s representatives; now that Afghans know who the Taliban really are, they will resist any new Taliban efforts to take over the country; the result will be a tragic civil war, unless full adherence to a policy laid out by Afghan National Reconciliation is followed.
Khalil Nouri is the cofounder of New World Strategies Coalition Inc (NWSC Inc.), a native think tank for a nonmilitary solution studies for Afghanistan, and a member of Afghanistan Study Group (ASG).
Khalil Nouri is also author of two upcoming books, “Shattered Dreams” and “Seeds of Unity“.
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