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The return of the Taliban: the legacy of half a century of violence and political instability in Afghanistan

The Taliban will announce in the coming days a government that experts in the region doubt can put an end to the maelstrom of violence and political instability in which Afghanistan has been immersed for half a century.

Coups d’état, civil wars and foreign invasionsThere have been uninterrupted events in the country from the 1973 overthrow of the last Afghan king Zahir Shah to the Islamists’ recovery this month from power after two decades of hiatus.

Added to the historical precedents are signs of new insurrections; by an incipient civil resistance, and by the local arm of the jihadist Islamic State (ISIS), whose bombing at the Kabul airport it was a direct challenge to the newfound Taliban power.

The Taliban were among the first to condemn the attack Thursday – which caused more than 170 fatalities, including 13 US soldiers – and they specified that they had registered in the area “under the authority” of US forces, to absolve themselves of all responsibility.

Too to give the impression that they guarantee safety in the area under its control against rival jihadist organizations.

This rivalry has been accentuated by the universalist vocation of groups such as Daesh (an acronym in Arabic for Islamic State), which contrasts with the domestic policy of the Taliban since the US occupied the country in 2001 and He will dismount them from power in punishment for their complicity with 9/11.

The factions

The divide among the jihadists -part of the local arm of the Islamic State is made up precisely by dissident Taliban-, is one of the instability factors facing the new stage, according to the Indian analyst and specialist in the region Tarun Basu.

“Within the Taliban movement there are different factions, it is not homogeneous. There is the group attached to Pakistan but there are also groups that have started to spin in the orbit of China “, maintains Basu, director of the digital forum of debate South Asia Monitor.

Both countries, regional alliesThey are the main beneficiaries of the US exit from Afghanistan, he says.

“Washington doesn’t know what he’s doingr, does not have a clear position on the Afghan dossier, “says Basu, who accuses President Joe Biden of” lacking strategy “after US troops stayed in the country for up to two decades.

“I don’t see any hint of stability in the short term. I think it is more possible that a new civil war could break out, “he says.

Pending accounts

For Mehraj udin Bhat, regional geopolitics researcher at the University of Kashmir, the outstanding accounts pre-date the North American invasion; They date back to the 20th century, after the occupation of the territory by the Soviet Union.

“Afghan society has yet to recover from the horrors of the civil war after the Soviet withdrawal (1989), when militias clashed and warlords profited from lawlessness and mass murder was the norm, “he recalls.

Bhat refers to the years before the arrival in 1996 of the first Taliban regime – which had the armed opposition of militias that had been their allies -, to explain the terror of the thousands of Afghans who have tried to flee Kabul.

“They have tried to escape from the future they know what awaits them. They feel trapped. The economy is in a mess and historically violence has always been very high. Those who have worked for the old government have much to fear, “stresses Bhat.

“The prospects for peace soon are bleak. What to Expect they are extrajudicial executions“, concludes the academic, who considers that ethnic minorities constitute another of the most vulnerable segments of the population.

The valley that resists

150 kilometers north of Kabul a deep valley opens up through a narrow gorge and is the fiefdom of the Tajiks, that together with Hazaras, Uzbeks and Turkmens they make up a major minority compared to the Pashtun majority of the Taliban.

The Panjshir Valley Over the centuries it has resisted the onslaught of both foreign forces – from the British in the 19th century to the Soviet forces in the 20th – and the Taliban militias, which the Tajik guerrillas are now facing again.

Their leader, Ahmad Massoud, who has called on Afghans to resistance and the international community to fight the Taliban power if negotiations with the Islamist regime fail, is the son of the legendary commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, who successfully fought against Islamist Soviets to become a national hero.

The so-called “The Lion of Panjshir” died on September 9, 2001 -barely 48 hours before the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon-, in a suicide attack committed by two Belgian citizens of Moroccan origin who posed as journalists.

According to the general opinion, Osama Bin Laden ordered the murder to secure the loyalty of the Taliban before the attacks to come; The leader of Al Qaeda achieved that goal but also increased the figure of the victim in the collective memory of the country.

The mausoleum of Commander Massoud, which stands imposingly in the middle of the valley, has been transformed in recent decades into a sanctuary pilgrimage; in one of the most visited places in Afghanistan.

EFE Agency



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