Afghanistan Needs Peace, Sovereignty & Development (Part II)

To dismiss the Pashtun people of Afghanistan, the dominant group as violent and fractious, merely because the Taliban belong to this ethnic group is unfair. The violence of the US-UK-led NATO coalition forces allied with Pakistan and its Middle East Allies has exceeded in barbarity, and every group had committed horrible crimes. The Pashtun are regrouping to save Afghanistan; they need to study and recall their contribution to the freedom struggle against the British Empire, one of the largest non –violent civil disobedience movements in World history of the Indian subcontinent under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. The contingent of the most committed and organized flanks of this movement, known as ‘Red Shirts’ of the Northwest Frontier Province is led by the eminent Pashtun leader Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, as an integral part of the Non-cooperation movement of the Indian National Congress against British Imperial occupation, which inspired the national liberation movement of Egypt and large parts of the Arab world.

The Pashtun people of Afghanistan reside on both sides of the Durand Line, a border imposed on Afghanistan by the British deliberately dividing the Pashtun people in two halves, unjustly seizing Afghan territory in the Northwest Frontier Province, Baluchistan and Gilgit–Baltistan, to convert these regions into buffer zones between Afghanistan which refused to capitulate to the enemy, and British Indian colonial territories.

The Northwest Frontier Province of the Subcontinent of India, now in Pakistan, renamed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by Pakistan, is a region to which Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan belonged. Known as the ‘Frontier Gandhi‘, he was close to Mahatma Gandhi and walked his political path. Despite being subjected to inhuman atrocities and torture in prisons in British colonial India, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan taught his ‘Red Shirts’ Pashtun movement, to oppose violence, opting for Mahatma Gandhi’s call, for a peaceful civil disobedience and non-cooperation mass movement, for  ‘satyagraha – the struggle or force of truth’ against British military occupation of India. After Independence and the tragic partition of India, the ‘Frontier Gandhi ‘expressed the view that the Pashtun people had been ‘handed over to wolves’; the rest of his life was spent in prisons in  Pakistan, struggling for Pashtun political autonomy of the NWFP, This province which is predominantly Muslim was handed over to Pakistan by British. Historically, the Pashtun supported the Indian National Congress and opposed the partition of India on religious grounds,  Now, the region is politically dominated by feudal, wealthy, and elite Muslim families of landlords among others of  North India, Punjab, and Sind.

This peaceful Gandhian’s last desire was to be finally laid to rest in the liberated heartlands of the Pashtun people in Afghanistan, governed by the PDP party. What did Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan discover about the PDP party? What was unrevealed about this party?   Finally, Following his will upon his death in Peshawar while under house arrest in 1988, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan was buried at his house in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. on his demise was buried with state honors by the PDP government at Jalalabad, in Afghanistan.

The Pashtun, among other ethnic minorities in Afghanistan, are now regrouping to save their people and nation. They need the inspiration of this great peaceful Pashtun warrior against British Imperialism. Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, an outstanding adherent of Islam who respected all religions and minorities, was a deeply spiritual man and a revolutionary. The struggle of the Pashtun ’Red Shirts’, is also a political legacy he bequeathed to the  Pashtun people, once again attempting to free themselves from the shackles in which they have been caged by the US-UK-led NATO forces, Pakistan, and their  Middle East allies, who began using the territory of Pakistan as a military base for the training of terrorists. This happened immediately after the military dictator General Zia UL Haq seized power in Pakistan, manipulating the judicial execution of the elected Prime Minister Bhutto, after imprisoning him; imposing Sharia law with Pakistani characteristics in a weak emulation of the Saudi monarchy.

From 1977 onwards terrorist militias misusing Islamic nomenclature were trained on the AfPak borders, projecting them as ‘holy warriors’ to prevent any opposition or mass movements in rural provinces of Afghanistan and Pakistan, apprehensive of opposing any religious rebellion to prevent social ostracism in deeply religious societies, which had serious consequences on the internal security and stability of Pakistan; destabilized and hostage to the same terrorists which it has spawned. While the death toll of men, women, and children, killed since 1977 in Afghanistan, reached millions of victims; it is estimated by the government of Pakistan that more than 70,000 Pakistanis, including its paramilitary and military forces, have been killed in Afghanistan, on the  AfPak border, in Waziristan and other areas, using US drone warfare against the civilian population on the border regions of Pakistan. This is the price paid by the citizens and soldiers of Pakistan and its paramilitary used as cannon fodder in a war of aggression, with the collaboration of Pakistani elites, converting Pakistan into a forward military base and training camp for US and UK  led NATO forces, funded by the Saudi monarchy and the  Emirates, and directed first against the PDP government in Afghanistan and against the former Soviet Union which had extended military assistance; thereafter against the Post-Soviet States; and later against Russia and other adjacent countries and regions, including the Middle East region.

The foreign fighters are the mercenary ‘Avant-Garde’ of US-UK, NATO, and allied forces in many regions. The Mujahideen- Al Qaeda and former Taliban were the models for ISIS-Daesh, ISIL, and other terrorist militias- let loose on peaceful civilians in Asia and even in Africa, devastating Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen among other countries and regions.

The People’s Democratic Party government in Afghanistan recognized by the late Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, in 1980, survived the civil war and the withdrawal of Soviet troops by President Gorbachev in 1989, defeating the combined forces of the ‘Mujahideen’ led by landlords and drug lords backed covertly by the Intelligence Agencies of US, UK and Saudi Arabia and Pakistan’s Paramilitary and military forces at Jalalabad, with an all Afghan army, but could not survive the trade blockade imposed on all of its international borders.

Then, the head of the PDP government President Najibullah stepped down under a so-called UN Plan of 1991- 1992, imposing a US–-UK-–Pakistan nominated government of fractious Mujahideen leaders on Kabul in 1992. The US-led NATO mission was never a ‘humanitarian mission‘. The intention always was to establish a proxy government in Kabul, unlike the PDP government which worked in the interests of the Afghan people and nation, under three of its four presidents.

The Mujahedeen leaders committed barbaric and horrible atrocities against poor civilians of their own country, with the support of the US, UK, and NATO, in collusion with Pakistan and their Middle East allies. The leaders were all propped up by foreign powers. Despite official guarantees of safety given to President Najibullah by the United Nations and concerned governments, the former President was not allowed to leave Kabul to the ‘Mujahideen’ until they themselves had to flee. In 1996, a contingent of former Taliban fighters entering Kabul captured the former President Najibullah where he had lived for four years after stepping down, brutally tortured him, and dragged his wounded body through the streets of Kabul.  His body was then hung from a pole, where it remained for more than a day to serve as an example to those who supported the PDP government and strike fear into their hearts. All this was done under the diktat of foreign governments who, at the relevant time, controlled the Taliban.

Was this an Islamic act? Was this the moral code of the Taliban politically murdering one of their own clan, not even by a firing squad, but brutally? Was this related to the fear that so long as he was alive, it would be possible for former members of the PDP party, in alliance with other political forces, to regroup with the support of the people of Afghanistan and once again establish a sovereign government, accountable only to the people of Afghanistan, not controlled by US-UK forces or by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia?

Immediately after forming a government in 1992, the fractious, corrupt, and mercenary Mujahideen leaders had battled each other for power, patronage, and gains of office, often firing rockets and missiles at their own government in Kabul. During this short-lived fragmented government, Kabul city was constantly under siege, and warlords of different factions in the government-controlled different provinces, there was virtually no central government. It was the impatience of the US Corporation, UNOCAL, a petroleum exploring company, with the fractious government of the former Mujahideen leaders which led to their exit.

The UNOCAL Company on the political capitulation of the former USSR in 1991 began prospecting for an Oil and Gas line from the former Soviet Republic of Turkmenistan, proposed to be constructed across Afghanistan into Pakistan, and possibly to India. The United States had opposed  Iranian pipelines being built across Pakistan into India for geopolitical reasons. The Indian Minister of Petroleum who supported the Iranian pipeline had to resign and was replaced by a suitable US protégé. UNOCAL ceased to negotiate with the fractious Mujahideen government in Kabul, with no control over large areas of Afghanistan where independent Warlords operated in the provinces. UNOCAL was unable to bring all on board. Washington DClong with other US companies urging the decision-makers that it would be necessary to depose the fractious Mujahedeen movement and replace it with some other proxy government controlling the whole of Afghanistan, serving US interests, if US commercial projects were to take off.

In accordance with this plan, UNOCAL and other US Companies agreed under the auspices of Washington;  the agreement was funded by Saudi Arabia and the Emirates and executed by Pakistan. The fractious Mujahedeen were evicted by military force from Kabul in 1996 by the former Taliban, a militia this time exclusively recruited by Pakistan from  Pashtun clans, the dominant ethnic group of Afghanistan, residing on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border. Trained by Pakistan, the CIA, and MI6 in clerical schools and militia training centers in Pakistan and across the AfPak border for and on behalf of the United States and the UK.

To perpetuate the myth that this too was a religious militia waging ‘holy war’, this group was referred to as the ‘Taliban’ from the Arabic word ‘Talib’, students of religious seminaries. Osama bin Laden, a representative of the Saudi monarchy, an Intelligence Asset of four Intelligence Agencies, the CIA, MI6, ISI, and Saudi Arabia, during this very period was associated with organizing and training the Al Qaeda, (‘data base’) of foreign fighters, on the AfPak border and in Afghanistan, operating alongside the Taliban militia in Afghanistan, and independently deployed in other regions.