Taliban Is Back in Kabul — So Is Al Qaeda
Taliban Is Back in Kabul — So Is Al Qaeda
US President Joe Biden, 78, has said that he doesn’t regret his decision in withdrawing the American forces out of Afghanistan. Addressing the American people, he said that he will judge Taliban based on their actions, not words. Let me tell you what he actually means: We don’t care what goes on in Afghanistan! It’s up to you and your country.
The Democratic president has dispatched the head of his CIA to the Kabul airport to meet the terrorists of Taliban (as reported by the Washington Post) and is doing his most to criticize Trump, claiming that he had no choice but to carry out the Doha Agreement made between the Taliban and the US under the former Republican administration. Has Biden told the American people that the most dangerous terrorists of the world, people who had a role in 9/11 and were later released from Guantanamo are now in the leadership of Taliban? Mullah Nurollah Noori, Mullah Abdolhaq Vasiq, Maulavi Mohammad Nabi Omri, Mullah Heydarallah Kheyrkhah and Mullah Mohammad Fazel Akhund are those were released from maximum-security prison at Guantanamo and are now in the leadership of Taliban in Kabul. Has the US media reported that international terrorists, those on US intelligence top wanted list for five million dollars, are now leading prayers in Kabul?
Last Friday, Kabul’s communal prayers were led by Khalil Haqaani. This itself shows how the Biden administration wants to safeguard human rights, freedom of speech and democratic values.
The US has declared a five million dollar reward for information leading to Khalil Haqqani’s arrest. Based on the information published by the US government, Haqaani has worked as a proxy for Al Qaeda and has been aware of group’s terrorist actions. Al Qaeda is the very group that organized the 9/11 suicide attacks; the very group whose destruction was the goal of US invasion of Afghanistan in the first place.
You shouldn’t be surprised to see thousands of women and men camping out in the Kabul airport and wanting to get out. Taliban have not just come from Pakistan and Qatar; they’ve arrived from the dark ages and are so terrifying as to give anyone a reason for running away.
The shameful Doha Agreement and its details were never shared publicly (although the Afghan government is said to have received a copy) and the US actions in agreeing to the return of Taliban and an irresponsible and speedy withdrawal of forces should be further questioned; but we all know what authority the US president has and how he could have used his position to disrupt the Doha Agreement or at least moderate or delay it to help the people of Afghanistan or re-negotiate a deal with Taliban (really with Pakistan and Qatar.) But Biden decided not to use his powers.
Biden says that he will base his judgement on Taliban’s actions. What he leaves unsaid is the fact that this evil group has changed very little. In the last few months, there have been thousands of reports about its actions violating individual and social rights. The group will wait for one more month to watch the last of US and US-led coalition forces leave Afghanistan. It will then go on to bring about extremist Sharia rules, flogging, stoning, imprisonment, torture and forced entrapment of women and men.
Why should the people of Afghanistan, without being consulted or taking part in any elections, accept the US’s decision to give all power to the Taliban? Is it not the case that even in the shameful Doha Agreement there was a stipulation for a coalition government followed by general elections? Why did the US take actions that gave all power to the Taliban?
The US agreed to leave by September 11. There probably was a date in the Doha Agreement for formation of a transitional government which has now passed.
Ashraf Ghani’s unexpected fleeing of Kabul and lack of an order for resistance to the Afghan National Army means that there is now probably very little possibility for the formation of a transitional government. It’s likely that some of those close to Ghani, maybe even his senior advisors, had hidden ties to Taliban. They colluded with Taliban and helped its ascent to power. They had started their project when they helped bring about early retirement of experienced and patriotic commanders of the army.
This isn’t the first time that the US has imposed its demands on the people of Afghanistan. In the two elections where Hamdi Karzai competed with Abdullah Abdullah (the former being Zalmay Khalilzad’s candidate in the transitional period), he won both times but only with electoral fraud. With deception, mediations and calls for calm, they asked Dr. Abdullah to stop short of demanding what was truly his and give power to Karzai. This is while they knew very well that he was the true winner of elections and was being prevented from coming to power.
The next two elections weren’t much better. Ashraf Ghani, too, was imposed on Afghanistan by Americans. Ghani had first returned to Kabul, following years of exile in the US, to serve as finance minister in the Karzai cabinet. Both Karzai and Ghani were friends and allies of the United States and there was a lot of trust in them. Between them, they led the country for 20 years but they did not remain loyal to the cause of the United States. Karzai went on to oppose the US and speak ill of it. Ashraf Ghani refused to accept the Doha Agreement and boldly criticized the US and Khalilzad. According to himself, Ghani threw out a letter by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken that suggested a transitional government.
Of the two former presidents, Karzai has now taken refuge in the home of his former rival, Abdullah; Ghani has, of course, fled the country and, not being allowed in the US, has found a place in the United Arab Emirates.
The people of Afghanistan are paying the price for the hatred and regrets of a man who became a US citizen years ago but who, in his soul and heart, continues to harbor the dream of becoming the president of Afghanistan. In the run-up to both the 2009 and 2014 elections, Khalilzad attempted to get support from the influential elders of Afghanistan to back his candidacy for presidency but he got nowhere. He got many meetings with the late Burhanuddin Rabbani, Mohammad Atta Noor, Esmail Khan and others to get support for his presidential campaign but was never successful.
In 2001, Khalilzad worked with the Islamic Republic of Iran to prevent the appointment of Zahir Shah, the late king of Afghanistan, as the head of the interim administration; a man who could have been a symbol for unity and national solidarity. Mohammadreza Bahrami, Iran’s former ambassador in Kabul, had close ties to the US embassy, Khalilzad and also the Northern Alliance. Working with Khalilzad, these two were able to deceive Zahir Shah.
The Iranian regime was worried that overthrowing the Taliban and replacing them with a regime led by the former king of Afghanistan will influence the Iranian people. Khalilzad also gave false messages from the US president to elders of Pashtuns and other Afghan communities, giving the impression that the US was opposed to the assumption of power by Zahir Shah (credible sources among the former commanders of the Northern Alliance have confirmed this to me.)
This grand betrayal helped both American and Iranian interests but it was presented as good news to Afghans. In the later years of his life, Zahir Shah had told people close to him that to the end of his life, there were two people he didn’t want to ever see again: Zalmay Khalilzad and UN envoy to Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi.
Speaking to a group of people in Dubai, the late Zahir Shah said these two (Khalilzad and Brahimi) helped destroy Afghanistan.
This is how, with the intervention of the US and Iran, the best opportunity for bringing about agreement, national unity and solidarity was lost in Afghanistan. The government that came later only won with American support and with rigging the elections. National disappointment and competition of political factions aimed at eliminating one another destroyed an opportunity for effective nation-building.
With all the pain and suffering that the people of Afghanistan have gone through and all the hesitations about an interim government, there will come an opportunity to leave behind this dark, bitter and painful period; Afghans will have new experiences and outlooks as they attempt a new destiny for themselves. The overthrown, treacherous and servile governments have shown their true faces; the Afghan nation whom I know, as shown by the evidence of history, will not accept humiliation, slavery and living under the yoke of regressive groups. Afghans will once more come to control their own destiny.