Balkanisation of Afghanistan
Posted on 5 months ago
One such solution they are actively toying with is to give control of the country’s Pakhtun-dominated south and east to the Taliban and leave the north and west to their pampered warlords who indeed have parcelled out the territories in these two regions between themselves into their jealously-guarded fiefdoms. The game plan is that while the Taliban will be allowed a free hand to rule their domain the way they like, their any attempt to encroach upon the rest of the country will be stubbed out militarily by some 10,000 or so American troops to be retained in Afghanistan under the strategic pact President Hamid Karzai has initialled with the United States.
This is a very bad idea, and very dangerous one at that. Practically, it indeed amounts to the balkanisation of Afghanistan, and will be actually an open invitation to a civil war, which in their desperation both the Americans and the Kabul regime want to avert. Already, the fear of a civil war has touched off a sort of exodus of people and treasures from the country. The Afghan expatriates are creeping back in numbers to their foreign havens. And the moneyed people are withdrawing their deposits from the banks and stashing their stacks in banks abroad. The propertied Afghans are selling their homes and shops and buying properties in Dubai and other places, including the Middle East and Europe.
The balkanisation is sure to heighten this fear with all the ill consequences, as the civil war will then be a very potent possibility. Although the warlords of the north and the west would love this balkanisation promising them to remain perched eternally on their fiefdoms like little emperors, the Taliban and other insurgent groups will not in all likelihood be agreeable to it. Indeed, the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has already said this in so many words. In a press interview the other day, he stated emphatically that giving some southern and eastern provinces to the Taliban was intended to disintegrate Afghanistan, “which is not acceptable to any Afghan’.
“The entire Afghanistan is like a house to us and no one can get ready to make a deal with anyone on the disintegration of this house”, he said. “We will not allow anyone to implement methods of disintegration in Afghanistan”, he added, vowing, “We will continue our jihad till the complete ouster of foreign forces from the country”. Given this, it is unrealistic to think that the Taliban will give the assurance that the Americans have reportedly sought from them that in the post-withdrawal Afghanistan they would not wrench out the territories under the control of Northern Alliance warlords from them.
And if a far bigger occupation army couldn’t subdue the Taliban insurgency, it could only be foolish to assume that a puny force of some 10,000 American troops, no matter how deadly armed and how lethally supported, would keep the Taliban tamed and confined to their domain in the south and the east. A civil war will be inevitable, in all probability, particularly so when the Pakhtun majority, the Taliban’s real power base, has been given such a meanly short shrift by the occupiers and their Afghan sidekicks all through the 11-year-long occupation.
Instead of compounding this folly with more blunders, the American occupiers would do well to work for a compact united post-withdrawal Afghanistan. Their intended balkanisation will certainly not hold. Nor would the Bantustans they are after creating in Afghanistan creepily. Their misadventure is sure to land their occupied country in a civil strife which will be unprecedentedly bloodier with horrific consequences for the neighbouring countries, particularly Pakistan, and the region and possibly the world.
The world attention, for whatever reasons, remains focused on the Taliban’s resistance, not the warlords’, who indeed for vested interests are a bigger obstacle to a peace agreement with Taliban. They all are on record having opposed any rapprochement with the Taliban. And thanks to the occupiers, they are well funded and well armed, with ferocious private armies at their commands. And in the Afghan army, predominantly composed of the Tajiks, Uzbek and Hazara minorities, with only a sprinkling of the Pakhtun majority, they have a state militia at their beck and call to fight a civil war bloodily.
The American occupiers need to work hard on them as well for a peace deal to come through. A united Afghanistan is in the interest as much of the Afghans themselves as its neighbours, the region and the world at large.
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