Mujahedeen, the precursors of the Taliban
- Category: Articles
- Written by Ahmad Masood Azraq
- Published: Saturday, 23 February 2013
Afghanistan is a country ripped and tarnished by a perennial and calamitous war throughout its history. Afghans haven’t sighed in relief, as the horror of war has plagued them all along. The tragedies that have ensued throughout the exacting history of Afghanistan have been caused by mere misunderstandings, conceit, Machiavellian politics, the arbitrary construction of difference and the likes of them. For example, the demise of the so-called communist regime was followed by a treacherous and barbaric period of war-lordism in the 90s. The country was ripped and divided into a number of fiefdoms reigned along ethnic lines. War-lords such as Hekmatyar, Masood, Mazari, Dustom and the likes of them, allegedly took on them to represent Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazars, Uzbeks etc. The abstraction of ethnic difference took a concrete feature as language, dialects and localities were used as the main denominators of unity and harmony by the so-called leaders. These differences created a perpetual schism amongst us and we still suffer from its venomous and deadly consequences.
The more essentialised tragedy of Afghanistan began when the Afghan mujahedeen entered Kabul in 1992. The victory of mujahedeen dashed the hopes and aspirations of Afghans and turned the country into a hotbed of ethno-religious strife. Different mujahedeen leaders such as Rabbani, Gulbuddin, Sayyaf, Mazari and Dustom assumed the representation of different ethnic groups and killed, maimed, looted, and vandalized in their names. For example, the very capital of the country, Kabul, was divided into several fiefdoms, south ruled by Hekmatyar’s ruthless and barbaric pawns, north by Masood and his notorious Shur-e-Nizar, southwest by Mazari’s brutal and vicious gangs, east by Dustom’s coldblooded foot soldiers and so forth. Furthermore, there was a systematic programme of indoctrination by the warlords propagating the essentiality of ethnicity and language. No leader spoke about the reality on the ground; i.e. the internal displacement of the masses occupying schools and hospitals, the spread of communicable diseases, closure of educational institutions, health care centres, employments and housing. They were merely fomenting hatred among ethnic groups for their own gains. Afghans have been hypnotized since then and are still strongly attached to their ethnic backgrounds without once critically looking at its social construction. The exhaustion and futility of the mujahedeen’s era led to a dialectical rise of yet another hard-line and uncompromising group called the Taliban. The grassroots of the Taliban date back to the early 80s when the mujahedeen were housed and buttressed in Pakistan to fight against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The Taliban were predominantly the remnants of Afghan mujahedeen who claimed to do away with the enduring misery of Afghanistan caused by their fore fathers. Afghans were utterly exhausted and shattered by the unending civil war and would welcome any kind of change to sigh in relief and do away with the futility of life.
The arrival of the Taliban in the capital city dashed the hopes of Afghans. They immediately started to execute their barbaric and twisted interpretation of Islam and subjected the Kabul residents to the most horrific and inhumane treatments. Women were barred from the outside and men were forced to grow facial hair. In essence, the Taliban started a systematic programme to both physically and mentally control people. One could claim that Afghanistan was culturally, socially, politically, academically and literally pushed back centuries. The radical changes of the 90s made Afghans predominantly more conservative and intolerant. Religious conservatism resurfaced, ethnic differences materialised and the whole society got more polarized. The dreadful event of 9/11 was the harbinger of the Taliban’s demise. The removal of the Taliban brought glimmers hope back to Afghans and people started to think that their miseries are over. Nevertheless, the Taliban were substituted by their forefathers. The Northern Alliance was a ragtag army of the thugs and ruffians who looted Afghanistan in the 90s. The barbaric mujahedeen had joined hands with the so-called technocrats this time. They tried to conceal their inside cruelty by wearing western style dresses and appeared more ‘civilized’. They are still preaching hatred and try to foment ethnic differences.