Terrorism will be the concern during Taliban rule

Published : Tuesday, 31 August, 2021 at 12:00 AM

Afghanistan, the troubled South Asian neighbour of Bangladesh, is facing heavy turbulences during the last few weeks after the Taliban, a radical religious group, suddenly took control of the nation after 20 years. Thousands of Afghans are trying to escape their soil while different countries including the USA are pulling out their citizens from the troubled country. The US is even pulling out their Afghan allies.

On top of all these chaotic events, ISIS-K had launched a deadly bombing attack near the Kabul airport on Thursday killing 170 people including 13 US soldiers. Later US launched two drone attacks on ISIS-K and claimed to kill the planner of the ISIS-K Kabul airport attack and to foil another attack. US anti-missile defences intercepted as many as five rockets that were fired at Kabul’s airport early on Monday. No casualty was reported from the incident yet and none had taken responsibility of the foiled attacks.

From the very beginning of taking control of Afghanistan, the Taliban leaders are urging the people to calm down and to go back to their normal life. They repeatedly promised to serve positively on issues like gender equity, women’s opportunity at work, pardon of US allies etc. They have also talked about caretaker government and even a government with representatives from all groups. They tried to portray that they are not the radical group they were before and want to uphold the humanitarian grounds this time. But unfortunately, their assurance could not comfort the Afghans and the global community.

The Taliban control in Afghanistan has made the world, especially the region very concerned. It is true that the Taliban will operate only inside Afghanistan. But their previous connection with Al-Qaeda is actually the reason behind the global concern. Many suspect that, with the Taliban in power, the Al-Qaeda will strengthen their operations from Afghanistan which will definitely destroy the global as well as regional stability. Hence, the regional neighbours of Afghanistan including Bangladesh are closely observing the situation in Afghanistan.

Along with such threats, ISIS-K has come out as a new headache. ISIS-K is an ally of the notorious terrorist group ISIS and natural enemy of both the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. As Afghans and others seek to escape Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, US officials have expressed significant security concerns and the potential for an attack by ISIS-K. The group goes by a few names–ISIS-K, IS-K, ISKP, which stands for Islamic State Khorasan or Islamic State Khorasan Province. They have steadily carried out attacks over the years. UN counterterrorism officials said in June that ISIS-K had carried out 77 attacks in Afghanistan in the first four months of this year. Their latest attack was at the Kabul airport on last Thursday.

The Taliban follow the conservative Deobandi brand of Islam, as opposed to ISIS, which follows Salafism. Following the full military withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan on Aug 31, it is likely that ISIS-K will exploit the security vacuum to regenerate and quickly re-establish itself. But it is not understandable why they could not wait for few more days until the US troops leave Afghanistan fully. As the US has already carried out two drone attacks against the ISIS-K, as it was claimed, the ISIS-K is actually giving the US reasons to stay in Afghanistan or to carry out attacks from the top.

As the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan covering an unfortunate 20-year war has turned uglier and deadlier in recent days, President Joe Biden has stood by his decision but at the same time repeatedly singled out one person in particular to blame his predecessor–former US President Donald Trump, who struck an agreement with the Taliban last year to pull out. Biden is the third president in a row determined to finally end the war in Afghanistan, which has cost the lives of more than 2,400 US troops and an estimated 240,000 Afghans, and as much as $2 trillion.

Under the four-page deal signed in February 2020, Trump agreed to withdraw all US troops by May 1, 2021, lift sanctions and compel the release of 5,000 prisoners held by the Afghan government, which was cut out of the negotiations. The Taliban committed to not attacking US troops on the way out or letting terrorist groups use Afghanistan as a base to attack the United States.

Today is the last day to withdraw all US troops from the soil of Afghanistan and the Biden administration is apparently complying with that plan. But history says, the US does not take it easy on its enemies or interests. Leaving Afghanistan alone in the current phase will be considered as a deadly failure of Biden. Moreover, global power game will play its part as China, a great economic rival of the US, is opting to gain its control is parts of Afghanistan. Russia, another rival of the US, was in control of Afghanistan previously and they might also opt to regain that control.

Many assume that, though the US will withdraw its soldiers from the Afghan soil, they will continue to attack from the sky with new causes to protect their interests. The ISIS-K is just providing that cause. But that will put the innocent Afghans in further jeopardy. Experts assume that, people from different countries including Western and South Asian subcontinent will join hands with ISIS-K.

If ISIS-K or Al-Qaeda have base in Afghanistan after the US withdrawal they may try to capture power in different Muslim countries. They may repeatedly try to spread violence in the Western world. Moreover, they will spread the operation in the sub-continent. Hence, the Muslim countries, the Western world and the sub-continent should work together to ensure that the Taliban fully comply the terms of their Doha agreement, to eliminate all terrorist groups and to reinstate people’s government in Afghanistan. China and Russia should also keep global politics out of it for the welfare of the whole world.

The Bangladeshi Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said on Sunday that, there is no existence of Taliban in Bangladesh after Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) commissioner Md Shafiqul Islam said the victory of the Taliban in Afghanistan would lead to a new wave of militancy in the sub-continent, including in Bangladesh. Despite that assurance, we cannot offset the fact that, the Taliban victory might encourage some terrorist activities as we have seen many supporting the Taliban takeover in social media. The educated and scholar group of our country knows that, the Taliban regained power after an agreement with the Trump administration of the US. But the ordinary people are seeing it as a jihadi victory, which will encourage many.

Previously, we observed people from Bangladesh joining hands with ISIS. Many are being even captured for carrying out terrorist propaganda today. Though they are not operating in the name of ISIS, but neo-JMB and groups like such are active to an extent. So, we cannot really relax. Moreover, political and financial patronization of such activities can also take place as there are few groups who are just jealous of the development and progress of Bangladesh under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Any such activity will not only destroy the stability of our country but also that of the whole region.

The misery of the ill-fated Afghans seems to have no end. But the global politics surrounding them might draw that misery to other countries also. We hope that, the global leaders come forward to end the hardship of Afghanistan as well as that of many other countries. We hope to progress nationally, regionally and globally.
The writer is Chief Editor
at Mohammadi News Agency (MNA), Editor at Kishore Bangla and
Chief Patron, Bangabandhu
Shishu Kishore Mela

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