For the dark rule in Afghanistan, blame is on the US
On April 13, 2021, US President Joe Biden announced a full withdrawal from Afghanistan. By August 15, the Taliban entered Kabul, the Afghan government collapsed and another dark rule came into existence in the country.
It is disheartening to note the condition of humanity has turned from bad to worse in Afghanistan since the US withdrawal from the region last year. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, by the end of 2021, over 3.5 million people were displaced within Afghanistan's borders and more than two million of its people fled the country.
Observers say that, given the history, ideology and culture of the radical Islamist Taliban, the human scenario that has come to prevail in the wake of the Taliban's return to power in Kabul is hardly surprising.
The United States is to blame in the main for this. On April 13, 2021, US President Joe Biden announced a full withdrawal from Afghanistan. He immediately removed military assets before. The result was catastrophic. By August 15, 2021, the Taliban entered Kabul, the Afghan government collapsed and another dark rule came into existence in the country.
Ironically, the United States, which claims to be the leader of the free democratic world today, came to trust Qatar to reach out to the Taliban in its bid to find a lasting political solution to the Afghan problem. Qatar's linkage with radical Islamist groups has been well known. It is said to have been the notorious Muslim Brotherhood's chief patron. Tariq Ramadan, the Swiss-born Muslim thinker and Oxford academic, the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, has been on the payroll of Qatar. Ramadan was also a member of the Qatari-funded and Muslim-Brotherhood-run International Union of Muslim Scholars.
Yet Washington kept quiet when, in the early 2010s, the Qatari government backed senior Taliban leaders to move to Doha and establish an office which would conduct talks with the then Barack Obama administration. By January 2012, several Taliban negotiators moved to Qatar and initiated secret talks with the US (and European) officials. In 2013 the Taliban raised their banner over its Doha headquarters and a sign calling it the "political office of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan."
In late 2013, Doha initiated a new round of discussions, using a prisoner swap to generate momentum in the US-Taliban talks. It enabled the Taliban to exchange Bowe Bergdahl, a US soldier who deserted his post in eastern Afghanistan, for five notorious Taliban leaders held at Guantanamo Bay. The Taliban Five, as they were known, were all allies of al Qaeda. The Taliban Five were subsequently involved in the negotiations with Washington.
In February, 2020, the Donald J Trump administration signed a Qatar-brokered-deal with the Taliban. As per this deal, the Taliban weren't required to denounce al Qaeda. They made only vague promises not to allow terror groups to operate in Afghanistan. The interests of the Afghan people were ignored. The Taliban weren't required to share power with the then government in Kabul. The deal made no mention of women's rights in Afghanistan.
The observers suggest the United States must take to self-introspection and take such steps as would really help the Afghan masses -- women, in particular -- out of their present predicament.
(Jagdish N. Singh is a senior journalist based in New Delhi. He is also Senior Distinguished Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, New York)
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