The Taliban will soon face internal strife; the Haqqani network and extremist and fanatical factions will revolt against the moderates, splitting the Afghan nationalist struggle, writes Dr Ruhollah Eslami for South Asia Monitor
The United States spent millions of dollars on Afghanistan over 20 years, with a prop up a government that would build a nation-state. With the Taliban attacks and the destruction of the state-building process, the US and its allies could no longer bear the brunt to remain engaged in Afghanistan. This led to negotiations with the Taliban. As soon as the US withdrew from Afghanistan, the entire country was overtaken by the Taliban within 10 days.
The Taliban say they have changed and want to form an inclusive government, drawing on lessons from the past. The question is: Do they have the ability to govern?
Afghanistan has not yet become a government. Although it has experienced all political systems, it has not able to incorporate its citizens. The Islamic Republic too did not succeed and was ousted by the Taliban. Perhaps they blame Pakistan and the multinational terrorists. The same fanatical tribes and sects have emerged. Resistance by young people and women is often from the urban and educated class. This will be eliminated in the current anarchic atmosphere.
Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, Turkmens and ethnic and sectarian factions dominated modern politics. No party, class or civic faction was ever formed. Ethnic, linguistic, and sectarian alliances entered the citadel. The Pashtuns were in power in the south. Each ethnic group elected its own leaders, and the appointments were tribal. All government institutions, especially the military and bureaucracy, were financially and structurally dependent on the US.
The Taliban are 15 terrorist groups whose leaders, under the constant scrutiny of social media, try to show a more up-to-date and civilized face. There is a disagreement between the ruling team and extremist groups such as the Haqqani. The main body of the Taliban is made up of primitive and uncivilized fighters who have nothing to do with the city, civil life, especially women, and the demands of citizens.
The Taliban are a fanatical and tribal ethnic group with strong religious beliefs that have turned their dream of looting into bullying and aggression against Afghan citizens. If they wanted to build a country and reform, they would have participated in elections. Now they are moving towards an Emirati government instead of forming a people’s government.
Taliban and Iran
In a technical move, the Islamic Emirate hides its strategic goals. But as soon as it is established, it will act against the Persian language, Iranian art and culture, and the achievements of youth and women. Fundamentalist Islam is taken for granted. The Taliban have no knowledge of the government and their desire is to establish a government called the Islamic Emirate.
Although the US withdrawal from the region will reduce the risks of direct attack and threats against Iran, the Islamic Emirate will become a threatening neighbour of Tehran with its ideological and ethnic roots. The Islamic Emirate is not compatible with Khorasanian and Iranian culture in terms of content, and their primitive simplicity leads the life of the Afghan people to a dark period. Persian language, Shiite culture and Iranian literature will be diminished with the rise of the Taliban.
The solution is to actively participate in the peace process and support the writing of a constitutional contract with the electoral mechanism. Islamic allegiance and Emirate will lead to genocide and ethnic changes and the severance of the Afghan people’s ties from Iran. Rationally, religiously and humanely, Afghanistan should be the priority of Iran's foreign policy, which can change the direction of the dangerous game.
If Iranian culture disappears in Greater Iran, it will be replaced by fundamentalist fanaticism and sectarianism. Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Pakistan are stifling the Persian language, Shias and the national culture of Iran. Iranian culture is not ethnic or sectarian. For centuries, different ethnicities, ideas and sects have lived side by side in Iran. Wherever Persian literature and language fade, terrorist thought and action will take its place.
What Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are pursuing - and the designs of American and Israeli think tanks - is a siege of Iran in ethnic and sectarian narratives, exemplified by the Taliban. Their ultimate desire is the disintegration of Iran.
Taliban to implode
The Taliban will soon face internal strife; the Haqqani network and extremist and fanatical factions will revolt against the moderates, splitting the Afghan nationalist struggle. Protest circles and civil movements are being formed in Afghanistan. If Iran does not intervene, the killing of the Afghan people in civil wars is inevitable.
Iran's strategy should be to defend the formation of a nation-state in Afghanistan based on the constitution and free elections. The domination of the Islamic Emirate will increase migration, civil war and activate ethnic and sectarian divisions. In order to protect Iran's national interests, its politics and diplomacy must be activated and all efforts must be made to create a nation-state instead of the Islamic Emirate.
(The author is Assistant Professor, Faculty of Political Science, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran. The views expressed are personal. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)