The deepening crisis in Afghanistan - GulfToday

The deepening crisis in Afghanistan


Afghan leaders are fighting among themselves which is weakening resistance to the Taliban.

In the last week, the Taliban have captured nine provincial capitals in the north and west of the country. And the speed at which they are gaining control over province after province has forced an American intelligence source to reckon that the militant group will take 30 days to reach the country’s capital, Kabul, and that it could take about 90 days for Kabul to fall to the Taliban.

United States President Joe Biden has defended his decision to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan, and he said that the leaders and people should fight the Taliban. He said that the government security forces outnumbered the Taliban, and he said that the leaders must unite. President Biden’s statement implies that the government forces though large in number have no will to fight, and that the Afghan leaders are fighting among themselves which is weakening resistance to the Taliban.

The Taliban, on the other hand, seem to be united with a single chain of command. The Afghan government has replaced the chief of the staff of the army, General Wali Mohammed Ahmadzai. Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani flew to the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif and conferred with the Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum and Tajik leader Atta Mohammed Noor. The talks with the representatives of Taliban in Doha are continuing though there is no news as to what is being discussed there. The people of Afghanistan are not happy to see the Taliban back after 20 years, and their anger towards Pakistan is overflowing because they believe Pakistan is supporting the rigidly puritanical Taliban.

Pakistan has said that it is working with all the stakeholders for a solution of the Afghan problem. Russia is trying to convene a conference on Afghanistan which includes the United States, Pakistan, China, and Russia to evolve a consensus. Many people may want to migrate from Afghanistan, but they may not be able to do so. There is already a move in West Germany to deport 30,000 Afghans by Germany though it has been suspended because of the turbulent situation in Afghanistan.

The complicated situation in Afghanistan arises from the fact that the Americans have realised that there can be no stability in Afghanistan unless the Taliban are reintegrated into the political system. The Taliban belong to the majority Pashtun group in the country. The Taliban leaders realise that their participation is necessary for stability and peace in the country. The other parties, especially President Ghani, wants to dictate terms to the Taliban because Ghani believes that he is a democratically elected leader and therefore he has greater political legitimacy than the gun-toting Taliban.

But Ghani is on weaker ground because like any other democratically elected government, there are many chinks. One of them is corruption. The Taliban maintain the image of being incorruptible, whatever else they may be. It seems that it will be difficult for anyone to reconcile the many forces at war in Afghanistan, both at the political and military level.

The different groups, and the Taliban happen to be just one of the many though larger than the others and more efficient, are vying with each other to gain maximum advantage. It is for this reason that the civil war in Afghanistan is going to be a prolonged one, and there is very little that outside powers can do much about. It is the people of Afghanistan who will be paying the price for the power struggles in the country, and they will be paying the price in many cases with their lives. It is what had happened when the Soviet troops withdrew in 1988-89. And the same thing is happening after the withdrawal of the Americans.

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