As the Taliban dramatically takeover Afghanistan, it has vindicated the fact that for better or worse the world can only be changed through armed struggle. Our generation only saw in the documentaries or in history books, how revolutions used to overthrow regimes which seemed quite unbelievable until this very moment. Even though the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan is certainly very regressive, and sadly the odds are that the lives of common Afghan people will get worse. Furthermore, the fire will never stop in Afghanistan alone, it certainly will have consequences for Pakistan as well. How the right-wing in Pakistan celebrated their victory is more than just a celebration. They are joyous because they see their dream of making Pakistan a so-called radical Islamic state closer. As Siraj ul Haq said. “Taliban’s fragrance will spread in all the corners”.
However, when social media has been flooded by the comparisons between US defeat in front of the Taliban and the Vietnam war, the fundamental difference of ideology is evident. There was a time when the world was swept by communist revolutions from China to Cuba, and from Vietnam to Afghanistan ironically. The scenes of the Taliban occupying the presidential palace were once the scenes after revolutions. However, the left turned towards the parliamentary process and said goodbye to the armed resistance and struggle for revolution. With it, the revolutionary dream was shattered. Many non-violent movements in the ’60s and ’70s failed. At the same time, the right-wing was being armed by the imperialists, particularly in this region. When imperialism turned against the Taliban, many disillusioned communists came to Afghanistan to ‘fight against imperialism’ ironically. Similarly, the academicization of the left snatched the ideas of revolution from the working class, whose anger was once the basis of their revolutionary dream. It all started when the left abandoned the armed struggle. The word ‘revolution’ lost all its meaning and essence. It seems to represent nothing other than a deep nostalgia. Revolution was always violent, therefore its meaning lies in the violent armed struggle. If the left wants to reclaim the essence of this word which used to inspire millions of people around the globe, it needs to have a very serious debate on the question of violence.
There may be different factors at play in Afghanistan, but the Taliban’s takeover has made one thing clear that violence doesn’t always end in defeat. The biggest argument of non-violence about the power of nation-states in modern times has been thrown in the dustbin of history by them. This moment should be a watershed moment for the left around the globe. It must revisit the history of armed struggle in left and learn lessons from defeats but not altogether dismiss it.
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