Increasingly worrying reports from Afghanistan are coming in by the day: the Taliban are growing stronger and stepping up their attacks, civilian losses during operations by NATO, bloody fighting between Afghan security forces and resistance groups, suicide attacks, women being oppressed in every sphere of life, an economy focused on the drugs trade and corruption, public sector salaries going unpaid, etc.
Both the U.S. and the Taliban set out with the intention of saving the Afghan people. Yet 13 years of activities by U.S.-led NATO forces on these lands and the 20-year history of the Taliban have made this fact very clear; both sides have failed. That is because although they are very different to one another, they both use the same basic methods; armed struggle and policies of violence, repression and threats.
The U.S. and the Western Coalition
Senior Western figures have recently partially admitted their mistakes in Afghanistan. One such name was German Foreign Minister Steinmeier. In the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung on 12 October, 2014, in a piece titled “What I learned from Afghanistan,” he wrote; “We have to become more active and we must not focus solely on the military sphere. We need to be patient. However, we also need to show humility.”
A German government report in November 2014 reported that it was impossible to say that the current situation in Afghanistan is much better than when NATO became involved in 2001.
Another noteworthy development is that similar remarks have also been made by Americans. These have been the first expressions of the need for an ideological struggle alongside military methods against radical terror organizations. These figures include U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. General John Allen, a senior military man who served in Afghanistan in 2011-2013.
One vital lesson needs to be learned from the struggle that has persisted for 13 years; harsh military policies and violence have not led to the expected peace and security. On the contrary, violence has just caused worse violence. Smart bombs, drone attacks and anti-terror operations have led to ever-increasing rage, hatred and savagery. The Taliban, one of the main causes of the turmoil and instability, is still carrying out its attacks and is indeed getting even stronger.
Diplomatic methods have been tried many times in order to produce a solution to the overwhelming problems facing Afghanistan. Yet rather than producing constructive solutions, meetings have generally remained at the level of mere expressions of good intentions. Once again, representatives from more than 50 countries attended a conference in London on the future of Afghanistan: Figures such as British Prime Minister David Cameron and the new Afghan head of state, Ashraf Ghani, requested greater material assistance from the international community and warnings were issued stating that otherwise the country would be plunged into worse turmoil.
Material support is certainly important for a country deeply mired in poverty and indigence. However, recent history showed that it cannot cure problems. Aid has generally been wasted through corruption and wrong polices.
The Taliban Front
We need to define the true source of the problem to find a solution. It is fanaticism that is really ruining Afghanistan. The reason for the suffering and losses experienced by the innocent Afghan people for years is the radical and utterly false conception of religion of the fanatics. This is an ideology that turns its back on science, technology, art and economics, obstructs growth and has thus prepared the way for the devastation of the Afghan people. That is the mentality represented by the Taliban.
The Taliban regard themselves as the true owners of Afghanistan. They deny the right to exist of any opinion outside their own radical ideology and system. They sustain the resistance they once put up against the ‘invasion of the infidels’ against the Afghan government, which they describe as ‘puppets’ and ‘enemies of Islam’ as well. The new government that came to power through elections and compromise between ethnic groups means absolutely nothing to the Taliban. They are continuing to slaughter and repress innocent Muslims and impose their fanatical ideas on people for the sake of their radical and false notions of religion. The recent Taliban attack on a school in Pakistan once again showed their ruthless fanaticism all too well as they slaughtered some 150 people, most of them children.
Under the present circumstances, the Afghan security forces and the Taliban are fairly well matched in terms of strength. The two sides harbor feelings of total hatred, enmity and blood vengeance for one another. A war that sets brother against brother, one that is not achieving any results and most important of all, one that is totally incompatible with the Qur’an, their common Book, continues to be waged. The thing that is fanning the flames of the war is the wholehearted determination of the Taliban extremists to die, kill and shed blood as part and parcel of their false and sinister beliefs.
The Real Solution
The people of Afghanistan are desperately longing for the day they will attain peace and prosperity. President Ashraf Ghani is promising that the next 10 years will be ‘years of transition’ for Afghanistan. The Taliban prefer to fight instead of talk, however. Western powers are pessimistic over the future of Afghanistan. In order to come to a real solution, they first need to learn from the past and avoid previous errors.
The only way of solving Afghanistan’s intractable problems is to eliminate the fanaticism that has come into the picture in the name of religion; the real problem is not the radical militants, but the radical ideology in their minds. What needs to be done is to tell them of the true Islam in order to cleanse their minds of their false beliefs. There is no place for hatred, anger, bloodshed and terror in Islam defined by the Qur’an; there is love for all mankind, peace, tolerance and understanding.
If the U.S. administration really wishes to save Afghanistan, it must support the spread of a conception of Islam based on the Qur’an. It possesses the means to do that many times over. According to a report in the Financial Times of December 2014, the U.S. administration has so far spent $1 trillion in Afghanistan. That is a truly huge amount; Even a tiny proportion of that would be entirely sufficient to fund a comprehensive education program. An education program led by enlightened and sincere Muslims based on an approach of love, affection and humility is essential. There is absolutely no other way.
Adnan Oktar's piece on Daily Mail: