The Financial Express

The State that isn't

The State that isn't

The Taleban have regained control of Aghanistan and found out they have no state. They're not invaders or occupiers, having grown from small tribes with ancestry. It has always been their land but their collective voice was never heard. They survived attempted British rule, the great Russian escapade and the planned joint obliteration efforts by the United States and NATO all in the guise of eliminating Al Qaeeda. Renamed quickly as the Emirate of Afghanistan, they were the only ones not surprised by the lightening speed with which they retook territory that the US said was capable of being defended by the government installed. It wasn't the only misinformation resorted to by the US.

The international community have called it a 'defeat for the west' among the many uncomplimentary attributes to an exit of allied forces that is now known to be unplanned and disgraceful. Since no one will call out the US for this, focus will shift on the blander subject of human rights and women's rights. While the US discussed in detail prior to getting in to the war, allies are now griping about no consultation prior to the hasty retreat. During the Brexit debate, the Commons deliberations were a treat. The discourse on Afghanistan was pathetic. The UK and NATO's lack of readiness borders on  disillusion given Donald Trump's overt and covert discussions with the Taleban, leading to a treaty that was more like a ceasefire and ceding of territory. So much for the famed intelligence agencies or how much they're listened to. Three Presidents ignored a basic factor of war; it can't be won by might alone. 

The treaty was never made public. We now know what it was. All the subjective abstracts that have stirred UN Secretary General Antonio Gueteress out of slumber will take centre stage. Money couldn't be found for pandemic stimulus and vaccines. It will be for support and assistance for the helpless people of the new state. That comes before official recognition of the Emirate till their state policies are enunciated. So one can have one's cake and eat it too! That victory celebrations were muted is a good beginning. Perhaps the Taleban are wiser for the experience of the last twenty years. The idea of their dismantling many of the 'barriers' towards what the rest of the world will describe as feudalistic and fundamentalist, isn't far fetched. Perhaps they secretly gloat about the massive horde of US armaments that are now in their hands. There are already conjectures about their future political expansionist ambitions.

The promises of 'inclusive' government without defining how that will be achieved are hollow. A government of sorts will be in place by September, supposedly inclusive but not democratic. Where they come from, leadership and representation is a consensual process.  Their battle achievements across their terrain and sheer grit are resonant with that of Bangladesh's War of Liberation. Ideals can't be defeated by might. We had India as support; theirs most certainly Pakistan. There the resemblance ends. India was sheltered from international intrigues in assisting us. Core Taleban ideals based on their interpretation of Islam is, as is the case anywhere else,  out of sync with the world. Their idea of democracy is patriarchal. Following Iranian or Saudi Arabian models will require significant compromises. If they stick to their guns (pun not intended) they will be nowhere. A state cannot sustain on its own. Their plentiful resources are useless unless utilised as per world demand. They do not have the resources or know how to do so. In an interdependent world compromise is a must as is acceptance of geo-political realities.

The Taleban will have to focus on sharing up its defences not because of any real external threat but because that's the 'in' thing, This will mean a better trained, disciplined army, police force and most certainly an Air Force. For that they have to look without. They will have rebellions to quell however small the opposition is. One would have thought that twenty years of American presence would have created a mass capable of standing up for their rights. They must focus on the economy and a sustainable one beyond poppy. The world waits for their form of governance and even Pakistan have said they will hold their cards close. Unless they play theirs' with care the Taleban may well be looking at another battle.


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