Okay, I promise, this will be the last column I’ll do on Afghanistan, at least for a little while.
But, I’m doing my best to find glimmers of light in the gloom. I want to find a few hopeful notes. So…
Glimmers of light...
First, I’m delighted to see that the International Community in general, and America in particular, does seem to be stepping up to help get people who are in danger out of the country. I know that the Biden administration will come under rather a lot of fire for its handling of the collapse of the Afghan state, but at least now it does seem to be stepping up to deal with the consequences. That’s a relief. (1)
Along those same lines, I note with particular interest one small story. To wit, the Afghan girl’s robotics team that so recently made headlines with their engineering prowess, has now made them again by escaping to Qatar. (2) I know it is a minor thing, and there are millions of women still in Afghanistan whose lives will be blighted by the new regime, but at least these nine are safe.
Next, it seems that there are some stirrings of resistance to the Taliban from within Afghanistan itself. It isn’t much yet, and there’s no telling if it will survive very long, but it is present, and that’s hopeful.(3)
By the way, what resistance is happening seems to be in the north of the country, that is, on what used to be the border with the USSR. Of course, the Soviet Union’s successor, the Russian Federation, does not have a border with Afghanistan, but it keeps a keen eye on what it considers “the Near Abroad,” the former Soviet republics which now form the -stans: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and so on. That makes me wonder if the Russians may have already gotten involved in the situation. Putin and Co., LLC, may be a bit concerned about having a Jihadist state so close by.
Which brings up another question, and maybe another small note of hope. Everybody in Central Asia could applaud our sudden exit from the region, but I wonder if they’ll be really happy with what comes next. Pakistan, or rather, Pakistan’s intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), backed the Taliban from the beginning, but now they have to live with them. That may not be easy.
The same is true for China, which, as I’ve said before, has problems in the Muslim world as it is, and really didn’t need a Fundamentalist state on its Western border. Then there’s India, which has been engaged in hot and cold wars with Pakistan since independence, and surely won’t have warm fuzzy feelings about a Pakistani client quite so near. Oh, and there’s Iran, which also has an Islamic Revolution for export, but one which is quite different from the one on offer from the Taliban.
All of which makes me hope that, maybe, one way or another, the Talibani theocracy will somehow be contained.
I do worry. No matter how hard I try to do otherwise.
Until next time…
Onward and Upward.
Copyright©2021 Michael Jay Tucker
1. “Biden says move out of Afghanistan could be extended beyond Aug. 31,” The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/08/22/afghanistan-kabul-taliban-live-updates/
2. “Nine Afghan girl robotics team members safe in Qatar,” BBC News, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-58286398
3. “Resistance fighters drive Taliban from 3 districts in the mountains north of Kabul,” New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/21/world/asia/resistance-fighters-taliban-afghanistan.html