Time for OIC’s proactive role for peace in Afghanistan
Uncertainty is on the rise in Afghanistan after the near-complete withdrawal of US troops from there – a phase that lasted 20 years and cost the superpower a trillion dollars in addition to the lives of 2,400 Americans.
Taliban, the real opposition to the incumbent government of President Ashraf Ghani, are making rapid gains and taking control of new areas every day. So far, they have won control over 170 districts of the war-ravaged state, although as a matter of strategy, they are avoiding control of provincial headquarters.
How long will the current bloody phase continue? Who is supporting the Taliban? Will the Ashraf Ghani government fall? Will the government and Taliban agree to a future setup through talks?
These are the questions difficult for anyone to answer in categorical terms.
All stakeholders are keenly monitoring the situation unfolding in the war-torn country and have their own assessments of the possible future situation.
Barring an unforeseen situation, the future belongs to the Taliban and they are determined to enforce the Islamic system in the country. According to media reports, they are willing to agree to a negotiated settlement but are fiercely opposed to interference in their internal matter by any country, not even Pakistan that has been hosting some three million refugees for decades.
Another difficult question is whether the world community will tolerate an Islamic government in Afghanistan?
Taliban had set up such a government under the leadership of Mullah Omar before being invaded by the US in September 2001. However, only three countries: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and UAE had accorded recognition.
What will happen now if the Taliban are in control of the entire country?
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has gone to Tajikistan to attend a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s Council of Foreign Ministers. He is also scheduled to attend SCO-Afghan Contact Group’s meeting to explain Pakistan’s stand on the Afghan peace process and the changing regional situation.
Eyes are also focused on the extended troika (US, China, Russia and Pakistan) that they should mount pressure on the Afghan parties to work for an orderly transition to an interim government in their country.
Unfortunately, the OIC which is in a position to play a more effective role to bring the warring parties to a negotiated settlement is not as active as it should be.
Superfluous to point out that the ongoing fight is between the Afghan government and the Taliban – both Muslims.
And when two Muslim brothers are fighting, it is incumbent upon the fellow Muslims to bring the fight to an end and restore peace.
In the prevailing situation, it is the OIC that can play this role – more effectively than any other forum. But regrettably, it is not doing the needful.
There is no denying the fact that it is the Muslim blood, which is being shed now – and was shed during the past two decades when the US was in occupation of the rugged country.
Frankly speaking, nobody should be surprised if the US – and other non-Muslim countries – quietly celebrate the fallout of the Afghan war and its adverse effects on the neighbouring countries. Their sweet, sympathetic words apart, they would be happy that the Taliban and the Afghan government keep fighting and destroying the already-destroyed country.
US President Joe Biden has already said that the US would not be responsible if the Taliban took over militarily or if civil war broke out.
Likewise, Russia would only be jubilant if Afghanistan continues to bleed. This would only be a natural reaction from a non-Muslim giant that was once part of the USSR.
USSR had invaded Afghanistan in 1979 with the main target of reaching the warm waters. However, as a result of international resistance, it had to leave in February 1989 in the light of the Geneva Accords.
Within no time the USSR had disintegrated, as a result of which over a dozen new states emerged on the global map.
It is high time that the OIC should stop waiting for the outcome of efforts being made by other organizations/ forums. The representative of 57 Islamic states should send its own delegation to hold talks both with the Taliban and the Afghan government and hammer out a pierce accord. This is the best and most peaceful course.
By playing this role the OIC would only be carrying out an obligatory duty in the prevailing situation.
Pinning hopes on other forums dominated by non-Muslim countries will only be waste of time. They will only be interested in serving their personal interests, not the future of an Islamic country or its inhabitants.