Tough time ahead for Taliban - Frontier Post editorial 1/19/01
from tomorrow, Saturday, January 20, the second stroke of the UnitedNations sanctions against the Taliban regime in Kabul go into effect. This could be the most ruinous of a long chain of disasters that has been the fate of the Afghan people for the last 23 years of war and natural calamities. By comparison, the damage caused by human errors is by far the greatest and most destructive in the appalling misfortunes of that land and its people.
The latest sanctions include an arms embargo along with travel and diplomatic restrictions. All members of the United Nations, including of course Pakistan, are obliged to abide by these restrictions. In addition, financial assets of Osama Ben Laden abroad would stand frozen.
There is absolutely no doubt that the effect of the sanctions will be an unendurable addition to the misery and wretchedness of millions of the Afghan people who have done absolutely nothing to deserve this kind of inhuman treatment.
But that is how is the way of the world. As the ancient proverb goes, the mistake made by the man at the helm sinks the occupants of the boat.
At one time or another all nations face difficult situation, crises, disasters. History is replete with such examples. But with wisdom, courage and determination, they ferry their beleaguered boat out of troubled waters and sail to the happy isle.
It is the ill luck of the Afghan people that they have come to be caught in a prison of their leaders’ very own making. The Afghan people have to ask why is it that the entire world is on one side and their Taliban regime on the other.
Never was a small, poor, war-torn nation left alone by the conscience of the entire world (except Pakistan) as the Taliban regime in Kabul today finds itself. There is no way one can reasonably blame the entire world and absolve the Taliban for what lies ahead of them.
In our view the United States has been diabolically ungrateful to the Afghan people.
It is a case of deplorable myopia not to be able to distinguish between the Taliban caboodle and the good Afghan people who are in such misery.
The United States turned Afghanistan into a battlefield to vanquish its enemy No 1.
Having won that war from the Afghan soil, they fled with the war trophy, leaving the Afghan people to the mercenaries they had disorientated for their own purpose.
The mindset the Taliban represent was deliberately created by the anti-Soviet alliance among captive youth of Afghanistan. The mercenaries, fit for nothing but that kind of war, first turned against the withdrawing United States and now they are using their own people as the target.
This has been a shameful betrayal of the Afghan people by the United States. History is unlikely to record this as the finest hour of the mightiest power in its chronicles. Most people in Pakistan (except the collaborators of the United States war) feel very strongly for the sufferings of the Afghan people.
The sensible Pakistanis never supported the United States war in which dictator Zia involved this country. It would be less than honest to condone the role of the governments of Pakistan in manoeuvring, or assisting the Taliban conquest of the Afghan people. At best, Pakistan’s part in this tragedy would be described as that of an unwise friend. Such friends can prove to be more dangerous than wise enemies.
Now, where do we (as a willing tail-bearers of the Taliban) go from here? Only the blind among us would fail to see that we too would be badly hurt by the sanctions.
The United Nations assistance, whatever it was, for the starving in Afghanistan is most likely to be drastically reduced, if not entirely stopped.
Where will the people upon whom starvation would be forced go? Even as a trickle during the last some weeks, around 100,000 starving refugees have entered Pakistan.
What are they likely to do, if they cannot find food after entering Pakistan by force? Or what kind of force can stop a flood of refugees through our already badly perforated frontier? Are they going to sing hymns of praise for us, when we fail to feed them? Most of the present problems that the Taliban now have on their hands are their own creation.
As for us, all the Taliban-related problems on our hands are entirely the creation of governments since dictator Zia plunged this country into the Afghan inferno for no better reason than to escape the provision of Article 6 of the Constitution of this Islamic republic.
Only to escape the firing squad, Zia pushed this country into a war that had nothing at all to do with us or our interests. We went into the Afghan war as the “most allied of US allies”. Where has that United States dumped Pakistan, its most loyal ally? And what is going to happen to its mercenaries, the Taliban? These are terrible questions.
And there is no magic to make them go away. From tomorrow, we are also going to be on trial, tied as we have ourselves to the coat-tails of the Taliban.
Harsh words, indeed. But will soft and sweet words help?
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