The Promise of Afghanistan
This is the year that will determine Afghanistan’s future, and Taliban is an important key to that future. Will the U.S. hold talks with the Afghan Taliban, as Karzai has asked them to? How would Taliban behave once the Americans leave?
I recently had an e-mail exchange with Zabiullah Mujahid, media spokesperson for the Afghan Taliban, on issues centered around Afghan Taliban's plans to uphold or withhold the promise of Afghanistan in 2014 and beyond.
Mujahid replied with very fixed views on several issues plaguing the country right from the presence of US troops to their stand on violence and education of women.
Asked whether the Taliban is open to discussions for a place within the government or to form an alternative government within the country; Mujahid’s reply centered on the fact that they want to establish an independent Islamic government. He said, "We have sacrificed a lot to achieve this goal and this sacrifice should be considered when any decision regarding new governance is made." Does this mean that Taliban is open to a bare minimum presence of US troops? Mujahid replied emphatically that "we don’t think NATO has any right or authority to control the freedom of Afghanistan." He added that given the complete withdrawal of Americans, the group would want to play a role in rebuilding the nation using its “rich mineral wealth, good workforce, and agriculture.”
If Taliban’s preconditions are met, what is the chance that the new government and security forces will be strong enough to survive economic, financial, and political challenges without US help? What is the guarantee that the Taliban will not surge and ensue a new phase of civil war? Mujahid, speaking on behalf of Taliban, is non-chalant. His reply is clear. "We will continue jihad till the time we do not force the Americans to leave us alone as we did with the Soviet Union. Inshallah! We hope for a new victory in 2014."
Indeed, as Mujahid pointed out, all areas controlled by the Taliban are in a continuous state of war. If the Americans leave, the group is making tall claims of providing education and financial stability to Afghans. While there is no clear strategy as to how this could be implemented, Mujahid repeats, "I have already told you that we will do our best to rebuild this country."
What does this mean for women? Clearly Taliban has been known for its oppressive strategies when it comes to women and their role in the society. Well, Mujahid was quick to point out that Taliban’s road map and strategies will remain completely Islamic and follow the guidelines of Shariat Mohammadi.
"In future, all our sisters will get their rights and roles within the boundaries of Shariat."
Women of Afghanistan, please note the above comment which underlines the promise of Afghanistan for you in 2014 and beyond.
While Mujahid says they will help rebuild the country and ensure a completely Islamic rule, the world is waiting to watch how Karzai, US, and the Afghan Taliban play their respective roles as the future of a fledgling nation is laid to rest.