How Pakistani Pashtuns see the fall of Kabul
After 20 years of armed struggle against US forces, US and coalition forces, and finally successful negotiation with the US, the Taliban took control of Kabul without any resistance. The Taliban were predominantly Pashtuns of Eastern and Southern Afghanistan and were formed in 1993/1994 in Pakistan’s traditional religious madrasas. Since the Afghan Taliban are predominantly Pashtun, we would like to mention them here as the opinion of Pakistani Pashtuns on how Pakistani Pashtuns view the Taliban’s control over Afghanistan.
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There is a mixed reaction here in Pakistan. One faction is celebrating the Taliban’s control of Kabul as a victory and celebration, while the other faction is mourning. The Taliban are religiously strict and regarded as Islamic Sharia, same the reaction of religious Pashtuns here in Pakistan is pleasuring and they are very happy that a Sharia government has finally come to power in Afghanistan. They do not see that running the government with Sharia in the current era is no less of a challenge but they are supporting the Taliban government only because of their Islamic Sharia intensity.
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Some people among them are unfamiliar with the Shariah method but are compelled to say such things only because of their thinking which has become ingrained in their minds that Shariah is the solution to every problem. And some think that the US or other non-Muslim powers are their enemies and they never want their supremacy in Afghanistan, Pakistan, or any of the states where they live.
On the other hand, the liberal and enlightened class is very angry with the Taliban and they do not want anyone to have a strict monopoly on the territory of Afghanistan. This includes most nationalists who have a kind of slogan that the Pashtuns of Afghanistan and Pakistan are one nation, share the same culture and their interests and powers should be the same.
They reflect liberal and enlightened thinking and want to see Afghanistan and the Pashtuns as modern as the rest of the world. The majority of those who think so are supporters of the nationalist Awami National Party and the Pashtun Tahaffuz (Protection) Movement. Some in the nationalist party even think that there should be no border between Afghan Pashtuns and Pakistani Pashtuns. They are supporters of Ashraf Ghani and share the pain of the Afghan government. Most of them are outraged by the role of Pakistan and the Pakistani military in the Afghan conflict.
Other like-minded Pashtuns say that only the Afghan people have a right to Afghan soil, whether they are Taliban or other Afghans, but their first condition is to establish peace in the country. they are saying that no other country or state has the right to use the territory of Afghanistan for any cause. Most of these like-minded Pakistani Pashtuns do not belong to any political party nor do they have any particular interest or agenda.
They only think that the land of Afghanistan belongs to Afghans who can rule as they wish but there should be an atmosphere of peace and order. Some Pakistani Pashtuns see a change in Afghanistan as their party thinking in Pakistan. Among them are Jamat-e-Islami activists who have been supporting Gulbadin Hikmatyar in Afghanistan for a long time. Who was the leader of the opposition and has had influence in Afghanistan from the very beginning?
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Given all of the above, Pakistani Pashtuns see a change in Afghanistan from their point of view, but if we look at it openly, we see only two views of Pakistani Pashtuns, one supportive and the other worrying and anxious. Most of the people who are supporters have nothing to do with the future of Afghanistan. If they think of future strategies, they are less in numbers and they are educated or having Pakistani strategic interests. Those who do not like the Taliban’s invasion of Afghanistan are worried about the future of Afghanistan.
They want a government in Afghanistan in which the Afghan people can live freely and participate in the global development race. Angry people include self-interested Pashtuns who already had interests in Afghanistan and are thinking that would be harmed in the presence of the Taliban.
Author: Sajjad Ullah Khan
About the writer
The author is an M.Phil. Scholar at National Defence University at the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org