Like a magnet, the hilly terrain of Afghanistan always attracted invaders. In 300 BCE, the Macedonian Emperor Alexander the Great set his foot there. The great Mauryan Emperor Asoka also ruled the land. It all happened in the distant past. But on December 24, 1979, a modern emperor named USSR invaded Afghanistan for the flimsy reason of protecting Afghan friendship Treaty of 1978 executed between the USSR and left leaned Afghan rulers. This treaty was born out of USSR’s desire to expand its influence. By the time a political upheaval took place in Afghanistan, they had utilized it to invade. This invasion held on its soul dark energy, which eventually created the dreaded Taliban. Suddenly, USSR’s archenemy, the United States, entered the scene through its shadow fighter Pakistan. These events gave hardcore tribal interpreters of the Quran enough space for spreading their narrow views of God. They cried, ‘look, the bloody infidels of Soviet union and communists’ are ruling now the Islamic nation of Afghanistan. From that cry born the Islamic terror outfit, named Taliban.
Wherever priests get the upper hand in molding ideas and opinions, religious fundamentalism gets a free run. Here also, it happened. Taliban founder Mullah Akhtar Mohammed Mansour took the minds of the youngsters of Afghanistan. Up to1973, Mohammad Zahir Shaw ruled Afghanistan according to the progressive ideas he obtained from Soviet communism. Still, inadvertently he left the space of religion to be handled by the Mullahs and Maulvis as they liked. America and its obedient servant Pakistan used the clergy to form a frontline army against the Soviets. They provided enough weapons, logistical support and required military expertise to the Islamic fundamentalists because capitalist America considered communism their greatest enemy and the Soviet Union vice versa. This damned struggle between two ideologies thought only about conquering each other.
Still, this shift of attention opened a space for religious fundamentalists to grow silently all over the world. In the case of Islamic fundamentalists, conservative Saudi Arabia fuelled it with money and narrow religious ideas. Osama Bin Laden, a Saudi national, become the star ideologue of Al Qaeda and Taliban. Al-Qaeda was the brainchild of Osama, and its acquaintance with the Taliban gave both extraordinary strengths to commit brutalities in the name of God.
From December 1979 to 1988 Soviet Union struggled its best to establish authority over Afghanistan but failed miserably. Then Soviet Premier MichaelGorbachev realized that USSR has been fighting a losing war and had drained the national wealth considerably. He decided to quit. After their withdrawal in 1988, the Muslim rebels continued their war against the authority to which the USSR entrusted Afghanistan and came into power in 1996 and ruled the land up to 2001. In 2001 another comical action occurred. This time it belonged to the USA. On October 7, 2001, America entered Afghanistan on the pretext of destroying the terror outfit Al-Qaeda, created by Osama bin laden, which entrenched deeply in Afghanistan with the active support of Taliban and Pakistan.
But now, history repeated itself as a farce. 2021 July and Afghan venture of America would be entered on the pages of history as another failure of America, the self-appointed ruler of the world. The tragic factor of the episode is that both the superpowers failed miserably in establishing their authority over Afghan. Still, they gave a message to all religious fanatics that if they are committed to their ideologies, one day they will succeed in establishing theocratic states. That is dreadful. Also, the superpowers clearly showed the world that involving in other nations’ affairs was just a game. They may suddenly quit the game whenever they are fed up with it, leaving behind poor people of the concerned land at the mercy of the following power mongers.
At present, half of the world is running smoothly on the wheels of science and providing a better life to the people. Still, the other half is under the grip of religious fundamentalism. It makes the life of people painful, especially that of women and children. The strange thing is that all these fundamentalists use the scientific tools available to spread their primitive ideas. At the same time, they don’t have any qualms to criticize people who follow science and modern education. All over the world, religious extremists are working overtime to push back civilized societies under the wrap of tribal concepts. Islamic fundamentalists are the leading players in this game.
The unprecedented growth of Islamic fundamentalism warrants responsible governing in every nation let it be communist or capitalist. Instead of conquering the other, it would be better for them if they govern their countries responsibly. Otherwise, a tragedy like Afghanistan would be a recurring event. If we take the Indian scenario, the country also had an event similar to the American sponsorship of the Taliban. Indira Gandhi used the Sikh bigot Bhindranwala to conquer her opponents in Punjab. In the end, he became a monster and demanded a separate nation Khalistan for the Sikhs. Critics maintain that today’s India is also slowly slipping into the shoes of Hindu chauvinism, and if given a chance, the USA would be under the hold of Christian Fanatics, who would like to declare that Jesus alone is God.
In short, it is the duty of every man and woman not to surrender their ability to think and decide, under no circumstances, to any religious interpreter or a political boss. Otherwise, the entire world will become a dirty place to live and die for generations to come.
Image credit: Council on Foreign Relations, India Today