Islamic Voice
Ramadan/Shawwal 1422
December 2001
Volume 14-12 No:180

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The Afghan Miasma

The Afghan Miasma

The Taliban have been pushed out of Kabul and the northern provinces of Afghanistan, but Afghan miasma is far from being solved. So does the mystery surrounding the September 11 attacks in the United States. In all likelihood, the country is drifting towards a civil war and prolonged political instability. The TV images suggest that the cycle of revenge has only begun to turn the other way and the Taliban and their Arab, Chechen and Pakistani allies are now at the receiving end. The feuding Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks, the main constituents of the Northern Alliance are back at their old game of carving out their share of the prize that Afghanistan is seen now. Altogether, it seems the unfortunate country is on the spur of a new bout of anarchy. One wonders if the Muslim world could come up with a remedy for this sorry mess.

That Afghanistan has always been a graveyard of foreign invaders is too well known. It has always been the case that the invaders decided their date of invasion, but it were the Afghans who set the date and mode of their return. The unforgiving Afghans had few qualms in stamping out the last remnants of the enemy and made no bones about their disregard for international conventions about the prisoners of war.

Though the Northern Alliances acquiesced to its role as foot soldiers for the American bombers, it should not be enough for the US to think that the Afghans will reconcile to its presence on their soil for any period of time. Looked from this perspective, it should be a great achievement if the US could eject itself safely out from this quagmire with or without bin Laden, the central figure of the war objective. The Americans cannot now claim that their war has been one between civility and barbarism. The blood-curdling images of massacre of the foreign allies of Taliban in Mazar- e- Shariff are chilling reminders that the US has been only backing one set of brutes against another.

Whatever happens to the Western objectives — expressed or unexpressed - Afghanistan presents a sorry spectacle. Not merely due to inability of the Afghans to rise above tribalism and come up as a modern and moderate Muslim nation-state, but also due to the paralysis gripping the Islamic world and the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC).

While there have been murmurs of protests and suggestions to activate the Arab League during the Gulf War, the Afghan War did not even cause a mild whisper of opposition against the American high-handedness in subjecting an entire country to bombardment in pursuit of an outlaw whose crime is still unproven. This in no way lessens the hate and anger against the US which is seen as the major perpetrator of atrocities and injustice all through the Middle East, Indo-China and the Central America. No amount of cosmetic efforts such as developing an Arabic channel to rival the prowess of Al-Jazeera or dropping food packets on Afghanistan would douse the bitterness left by the American forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. The lava of discontent is seething with rage beneath the terrain in the whole of Middle East that owes their puppet regime the US support. US Secretary of State, Colin Powell’s speech urging Israel to withdraw from Occupied Arab territories does come as a silver lining. But it remains to be seen if the powerful Jewish lobby in the US allows it to withhold the loan guarantees and aid from reaching Israel. Till the US shies away from annoying the pro-Israel Jews at home and delivering a state to the homeless Palestinians, no meaningful advance can be achieved in rooting out terrorism.


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