COMPETITIVE approaches emerge towards the second arrival of the Taliban in Kabul. There are the critics who wield megaphones, and there are the serious and concrete negotiators for the rights of women and children of diverse Afghan ethnicities. These include experienced and reliable local and international workers in the field. They seek the smallest respite from the ever-present chaos that they can offer those trapped in the conflict zone.
The agitated critics include Western militarists and Indian news channels. They also include a strange mix of liberals who may disapprove of IOF in Afghanistan, but also indulge in the myth of human rights deliverable at gunpoint. Indian critics see the situation as a selfish opportunity to kick the pedal of their electorally polarizing Hindu-Muslim binary – anything to increase a chance of victory in Uttar Pradesh next year, or something that becomes an opportunity to twist the knife further on the Kashmiris as a counterpoint to the nationalist chorus.
The Indian right wing has declared the Taliban a deadly enemy and brought criminal charges against those believed to have been convinced by the American defeat. This would have happened in states ruled by the BJP. But there is little crowds can do against the advice of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s closest adviser, Sudheendra Kulkarni, that India and Pakistan should unite to work with the Taliban and create an atmosphere of peace and regional harmony around the troubled nation. Nor can the critical media do much about the shrewd comments of the former Indian diplomat who once handled the affairs of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. MP Bhadrakumar advised India to allow Taliban-ruled Afghanistan to play a sovereign and unbridled role in the Saarc and possibly in the Shanghai club.
Read: The recent dramatic events in Afghanistan have raised a host of crucial questions about the future
Part of the right-wing Indian response is also rooted in the perceived gains for Pakistan and China in the turn of events – only perceived gains right now, mind you, behind a floating curtain of uncertainty. Western militarists like Tony Blair have called America’s withdrawal a fool. Blair may be to blame for not discovering a plan for mass destruction mounted by medieval militias in Helmand or Kandahar.
The truest instincts that cannot afford to give up hope for Afghanistan are found among UN workers.
Among the most serious who track the Afghan flow, there are two schools that are quite different from each other. One belongs to the cut-and-run school and no longer wants to continue the war on or within the impoverished landlocked nation. US President Biden is leading the group, not necessarily out of empathy for Afghans, but because he clearly has bigger fish to whip up in the South China Sea. Biden may be hoping his commissions and omissions in the humiliating departure from Kabul would be forgotten if he could show up as a hero elsewhere.
The truest instincts that cannot afford to give up hope for Afghanistan, an instinct that comes with a deeply asserted confidence, are to be found among the workers of the United Nations. They represent the invincible spirit of continuing their good work unperturbed. And they are the ones who have perhaps the best assessment of the reality on the ground as the world worries and takes positions in the face of the Taliban’s arrival at the head of a new order in Afghanistan.
Consider that some cheerleaders near and far in the fray see better hope for Afghan women – to name just one concern – only in the event that the northern Panjshir forces militarily resist the influence. growing number of strongly religious extremist Taliban. A discussion founded by the UN mission stationed in Afghanistan at the Panjshir hub made it clear that the plight of women was no better under the care of seemingly less strident religious leadership from the North. Zarifa Razaee, a prosecutor working at Panjshir, cited a mix of positive and negative factors at a seminar held under the now abandoned administration in 2018.
âThe lack of female defense lawyers and minimal public awareness of women’s human rights are the two main challenges that prevent women from fully enjoying their rights,â Razaee told delegates during the Mission-sponsored discussion. United Nations assistance in Afghanistan. We are talking here about a situation from two or three years ago which apparently did not improve significantly during the long and ultimately corrupt foreign military occupation of Afghanistan.
The presence of Unicef ââin Afghanistan for 65 years has been by far the most reassuring and constructive element for its citizens, mainly the children and women for whom the organization is responsible. While remaining solid as a rock, Unicef ââorganizes essential food deliveries through connected donor agencies. Plus, he actually hopes to step up polio eradication work during the Taliban’s tenure. This is the job that the American forces had selfishly hampered.
“During the last phase of the armed conflict until the final takeover of Kabul a few days ago, Unicef ââcontinued to come to the aid of Afghan children and to meet their urgent needs,” said one. mission statement in a clear and unperturbed tone. “Despite all the unanswered questions that lie ahead, one thing is certain: Unicef ââis here to stay and deliver for every child and woman in Afghanistan.”
âIt is true that for our own safety, in certain areas of the province, the Taliban have asked us to suspend operations until order is restored. But we are in daily contact with local leaders in almost every province, and their message is clear: they want us to stay and continue our work in Afghanistan.
The culturally regressive Taliban carry a burden of past nightmares inflicted on innocent civilians, particularly targeting secular arts and music. They did it again as dance veteran Sheema Kermani noted with discouragement from Karachi. They had broken the musical instruments of a national ensemble and told the musicians to go home. However, Emperor Aurangzeb is also said to have banned music. But the greatest compositions of Indian music have resurfaced in the era of future more eclectic Mughal courts. Afghanistan cannot be too different.
The writer is Dawn’s correspondent in Delhi.
Posted in Dawn, le 24 August 2021