Written By: Tayabur Rahman
After 20 years of conflict, the Taliban managed to get back to their throne again after negotiating hard with the world community, especially with America. Their ascension to the throne is evidently creating a huge panic in the minds of the world’s community. Again, there are countries who are optimistic and happy with this outcome. This incident will be taken advantage of by different nations according to each of their own interests. In this article, we will try to provide an insight into those interests and analyze the future of Afghanistan.
America’s Beginning of the End
America’s badge of super power may start decaying from this event. They previously attacked Japan, Vietnam, Iraq and Syria. America continues to remain a superpower until another country takes the crown even if they are defeated in a front. However, this Afghanistan war might be the first nail on the coffin of their decaying empire. This is just a hypothesis since already a new blueprint of power polarizing has been started keeping Afghanistan in the central position. This polarization will make America less important in central Asia and south Asia. America removed their troops as soon as they realized that this is a never-ending war and their new biggest enemy is China not Islamism. The US needs to stabilize their economy and hold the value of the dollar in the global market. China is the biggest threat to their supremacy. This never-ending Afghan war cost more than 2 trillion US dollars. So, America should concentrate more on facing China’s booming economy. Trump was an amateurish truthful president for the US and he pointed out the dos & don’ts for America in the upcoming years by signing a treaty with the Taliban, withdrawing troops from Iraq and partially from Syria and pointing fingers against China; finally declaring economic war against China. Joe Biden is just acknowledging those decisions since he realized the upcoming reality of being a veteran politician. If America cannot confront the Chinese booming economy and stop exporting democracy with muscle power immediately, the beginning of their end would commence.
China & Taliban with BRI & Xinjiang
China is the second biggest gainer in this Central Asian region though the relationship between China and the Taliban is “tricky” because Beijing targets what it sees as religious extremism among Muslims in Xinjiang. China is one of the first countries in the world who expressed deep interest to work in collaboration with the Taliban govt. when they started taking states down one by one initially. Spanning 90 km; the Wakhan corridor is located at the China-Afghanistan border which is not only important for those two countries but also for all the countries in that region. This corridor has been used as a buffer state among the super powers for decades. The global Xinjiang Movement uses this corridor to accelerate their activities against China on behalf of the Uighur people and China fears this issue the most. Like Taiwan, Uighur is another sophisticated issue China faces strictly both at home and on international platforms. Over the last two decades China has been treating Uighur people stepmotherly and carrying out suppressing behavior in the name of counterterrorism. According to China’s communist party, Uighur people are rebellious and they are the threat to Chinese sovereignty and cultural unity. Uighurs are the ancient Muslim community of that region with their religious & cultural individualism and China is not willing to accept that. Surprisingly. China is too strict to accept their actions towards the Uighur people and more surprisingly most of the Muslim countries already accepted China’s policy. There is no Muslim community who raises voice for Uighur people. Only western countries at times raise their voice for their own interest. The Taliban, having a history of taking violent actions, might be the first government to raise its voice or take actions on behalf of the Uighur people. This is the only possible difference between China and the Taliban , though they have already said they will not interfere in China’s internal issues. The Taliban needs funds and diplomatic support right now. China is the biggest source of that. So, though Taliban is concerned about Muslim community’s interest in any corner of the world, they will not take any action right now regarding Uighur issue.
In 2018, China expressed their interest to build a military base in that area and the Kabul Government hinted at a green signal but due to America’s excuse, China couldn’t. Now, China again will try to build it with the help of the Taliban. Again, establishing the ancient Silk route (BRI) is mostly dependent on Afghan land. Over time, China will also try to grab the opportunities to be benefited from the rich mineral lying underneath the Afghan soil, worth up to $3 trillion. The Taliban needs huge monetary aid and political support from the world community to rebuild the country. China is the only country who can and will contribute to this country’s sustainable development for their own interest.
Aftermath equations are dependent on the relation between the Taliban camp and China. In the near future, presently optimistic China might lose Xinjiang to the Taliban. Again, the Taliban, who have fought for two decades for freedom against America, might start a new long-term battle against China for the issue of Uighur.
If this issue creates any rift between China & Taliban in future, India and USA will be the ultimate gainer and Pakistan will be in big trouble to balance the aftermaths.
Taliban & Pakistan: A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed
Pakistan is the biggest gainer in this game and the only country who remained with the Taliban from their birth and throughout their critical periods till date. No question in this issue. Pakistan had to pay a lot too in this regard. So, today in these good times for the Taliban, Pakistan will undoubtedly benefit from them and the Taliban will raise no question logically (of course maintaining both sides’ interests). According to Pakistan, India tried to tear Pakistan apart through sabotage with the help of the former Afghan Govt. Pakistan’s powerful intelligence chief Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed paid a sudden visit to Kabul on 5th September to gather classified papers from the Taliban which might have appeared in the international platforms as proof of India’s questionable activities in Afghanistan since 2001. Moreover, Pakistan will
try to use the Taliban as a potential threat against India in terms of the Kashmir issue where China will act as the catalyst to bring more fuel.
New Afghanistan & Iran: Confusing Compromise between Two Antipole Ideologies
Taliban are the followers of strict Sunni Deobandi Islamism; Iran is the follower of strict Shiaism. Both believe in Islamic revolution but their ideologies are mostly different. In 2001, Iran supported the USA to invade Afghanistan and now after two decades, Iran is the happiest one after the Taliban. The reason is known to all already; with the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Tehran has one less problem to worry about. Their second biggest enemy just moved out from breathing on their neck. So, apart from religious ideological views, Iran is happily willing to work with the Taliban to stabilize this region. With the help of China’s money, this process will undoubtedly be smoother.
Taliban & India: A Bitter Sad Story Instead of a Better Love Story
It has been said in the diplomatic yard that the biggest loser of this game of geopolitics is India. The USA at least could make a good amount of money from home tax and foreign arms business using this battle as an excuse. Unfortunately, India is the only country who lost everything including time, energy, money, efforts, investments, security and diplomacy in this game. They invested in multiple highways and building projects, in total, around $3 billion into Afghanistan. All they wanted to ensure was security in their own country, sabotage into the Pakistan camp; challenge China to obstruct the development of BRI. Everything vanished in vain. Now India has urgent security concerns due to its wrong policies in Kashmir, with the Muslim minorities in it and last but not least with its two enemy neighbors Pakistan and China. Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban Spokesperson, told the BBCs’ Hindi service, “As Muslims, we also have a right to raise our voice for Muslims in Kashmir, India or any other country.” This statement indicates India’s long sleepless nightmare obviously. The Indian Govt. already started negotiations with the Taliban on the other side of the curtain. Taliban may pressure India in the future for their discriminatory behavior and policies towards Muslim-minority citizens.
Taliban’s ascension to power will bring USA & India closer to confront China and the terrorism issue. India will be the US’s right hand to counter China in Central & South Asian region. Since there is no permanent friend and enemy in international relation, India probably will be playing the role of best ally for the time being in order to keep America’s influence alive and to be the regional super power which is India’s lifelong dream.
The fall of Kabul has created a new geo-political era, akin to the time when the Soviets fell. This new era will roughen up power dynamics, world leadership and the world economy. The Taliban have repeatedly stated they are not like before. In 1996, the Taliban were just a bunch of random students from a remote place in tribal madrasas with no idea about the machinations of this modern world. This time around, the Taliban are mature and well-versed about the demands from the world community. They understand the current generation’s nerves better than before. Their power capturing and political moves were more mature and preplanned than last time. The ascension of the Taliban is a reality that can’t be ignored. The world community should face them, collaborate with them and get the best out of them via diplomatic negotiation.
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