Tuesday, Nov 29, 2022
Outlook.com
Afghanistan

Back To The Future: Fear And Uncertainty In Afghanistan As Radical Taliban Takes Charge

New victors in the Great Game’s old theatre script another tragic twist in the Afghan story, with the ripples likely to cross borders

Back To The Future: Fear And Uncertainty In Afghanistan As Radical Taliban Takes Charge
Photograph by AP
A young Taliban fighter from the countryside was overwhelmed by the paved streets of Kabul, lined with towering apartment blocks, glass office buildings and shopping malls. He hasn’t seen anything like it before. The 22-year-old fighter plans to ask his commander if he can stay. The encounter highlights how much Kabul and other Afghan cities have changed in the 20 years since the Taliban, who mainly hail from rugged rural areas, last ruled the country.
Back To The Future: Fear And Uncertainty In Afghanistan As Radical Taliban Takes Charge
outlookindia.com
2021-08-20T15:34:29+05:30

Time moves in a straight line according to Western notions. But on the sun-baked edges of the Near East, time can get seriously warped. In Afghanistan, it turned full circle the other day—and so, in a year not untouched by epochal tragedy, we now have one more to contemplate. The Taliban are back. They took Kabul without firing a shot. This stunning collapse was the story in city after provincial Afghan city—minimal fighting, except in Herat and a few other places—as the Taliban spread like a pandemic, its takeover near-total. Their second coming imparts a tectonic shock to a whole trans-Asian region— those affected by this born-again Kalashnikov caliphate include India, China, Pakistan, Russia, Iran and the Central Asian republics. The old ­theatre of the Great Game, to be precise, with a new 21st century edition promised now—complete with untold ­humanitarian tragedies as footnotes.

What brought this about? The spectre of American military imperialism in one more historical retreat. Twenty years after invading Afghanistan with a posse of global policemen—out hunting Osama bin Laden after 9/11—the Americans have literally handed the country back to their enemy on a platter. The Afghan National Defence and Security Force (ANDSF) collapsed like a house of cards. The army just put down their weapons and switched loyalties, in the age-old fashion of Afghan warlords who sense defeat. In the words of Kabul-based journalist Asad Kosha, “Afghan history has long been witness to this. It has happened time and again.” The Ides of August, 2021, was in many ways a tragedy foretold.

Outlook Newsletters

Read More from Outlook

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

In happy times and sad, Habba Khatun’s sensuous songs make both young and old emotional. With the never-ending conflict bringing tragedies to every doorstep, Habba’s lyrics of separation amplify their mourning.

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

In India, only those relationships between a man and a woman are considered to be legitimate when there is a marriage between the two.

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Virat Kohli, 33, had recently stepped down as India's T20I captain and was subsequently removed as the ODI captain.

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

A Mahila Congress leader, who is the face of the ‘Ladki Hoon, Lad Sakti Hoon’ campaign, however, has accused the party of anti-women bias after she was denied a ticket.