Afghanistan is engulfed in chaos. The Taliban have defeated the Afghan Army and have captured Kabul. The Afghan armed forces surrendered, all it took was an announcement by the Taliban that they will pardon everyone if they do not resist. As Taliban were in Kabul, Ashraf Ghani fled to United Arab Emirates (UAE), leaving the country unprotected. The security dilemma will not just stay in Afghanistan but will most likely spread to neighboring countries, Pakistan being the most vulnerable. The main reason for Pakistan’s vulnerability is that many people sitting at high official posts are constantly celebrating and glorifying their victory in Afghanistan. In addition to this, ordinary citizens of Pakistan also have a tilt towards the Taliban insurgents because of their ideology of Islamic supremacy in terms of Khilafat which Taliban are advocating.
After suffering huge losses in the war against terrorism in Pakistan, their powerful reappearance in areas adjacent to Afghanistan is very alarming and is also giving rise to many questions. Pakistan has spent a huge sum of money on different operations and more importantly has lost the lives of thousands of civilians and security forces. Similarly, United States has waged a war on them for 20 years but she could not eliminate them, completely.
Someone has to take responsibility for the incompetence due to which the US was unable to completely crush the movement which is now a grave threat to world peace. But in Pakistan’s perspective, asking for accountability for those who were supposed to counter-terrorism, will only result in more trouble for you. The military brass in Pakistan has always played a double game. I consciously didn’t mention the political leadership, who is also somewhat responsible, however, the decision-making about the strategic alliances and developing a certain narrative always stayed within the miles of Rawalpindi. Pakistan was the forefront ally of the US against the war on terror and the Pakistan military claimed that they have completely eradicated the Taliban.
The Pakistani nation paid homage to them for their victory against terrorism. But as US announced of leaving Afghanistan, we have seen rallies with the Flag of the Taliban in provincial capitals of Khyber Pakhtoon Khawa (KPK) and Balochistan. The irony is that no one questioned the claims of complete eradication of terrorism and the claims of restoring the writ of the state.
Yesterday, I met with one of my friends from Quetta and he said that not just in Quetta but in many other districts of Balochistan like Qila Abdullah, Pishin, etc., you can see the flag of the Taliban on every second building. He also revealed that when there was a fight on the Boldak border near Quetta, a large number of injured Taliban were facilitated by the Pakistan military and they were brought to the hospitals of Quetta for treatment. Likewise, other cities which are close to Afghanistan border also have similar stories. But the real question is, why is Pakistan supporting declared terrorists who have been responsible for killing thousands of innocent people not just in Afghanistan but in Pakistan? In Pakistan alone, we have lost more than 80,000 civilians in the war against terror. We have also spent millions of dollars on the war against terrorism while keeping 60% of our population below the poverty line and 20 million children out of schools. We have seen the Taliban, slaughtering 140 children at APS, Peshawar. How can we have such a short-term memory? How can we forget all the brutal incidents which have shaken the very core of our people?
The people of Pakistan have to choose a clear side so that the top officials can never make decisions that bring terrorism to Pakistan in the name of regional strategy. We can not afford to throw our innocent people into the fire so that some of the people sitting at the top could fill their pockets. We, as a nation, should hold all institutions accountable who have taken a huge share of our budget and yet have failed to curb terrorist activities, as insurgents are yet again easily and freely roaming in the country as they use to did during the last decade. This is the only and last option to save our people from more misery and bloodshed.
Qaiser is the President of Progressive Students’Collective.