– By Umar Daud Khattak, Pashtunistan Freedom Activist
Since childhood, I have been thinking why the war in Pashtun lands [in Afghanistan and Pakistan] does not come to a conclusion. Why the war [or in western NATO context, the war on terror, formerly called Jihad, an American Jihad against USSR’s communism] has no winner and loser? Why there are no clear sides in this war?
It is crystal clear that USA has been the winner in this war or to precisely term it, American Jihad against USSR’s communism but for Pashtuns [on both sides, in Afghanistan and Pakistan] who have been the primary resource for this war [whether it was a US based legitimate Islamic Jihad or today’s legitimate US war on terror], it is not clear who they are fighting for, whom they are fighting against and why they are fighting? What they have achieved so far? Pashtuns have been fighting a war that has no sides, no winner and loser and that is why there has been war in Pashtunistan for about 4 decades now.
There are about 70 million Pashtuns in Afghanistan and Pakistan where US-NATO, Afghan Army and Pakistan Army have been fighting a US-based war on terror against those who have been legitimate Islamic fighters against the USSR based communism. Islamic radical ideology served as a potential resistance to expanding communism in Afghanistan and Pakistan while USA financed Islamic terror groups and built Madrassas for raising Jihadis to fight a USSR based communism in Afghanistan.
Today Trump is fighting a war against those who had been termed as the “Equivalent to Founding Fathers of America” by a US president during start of an American Jihad in 70’s. Ronald Reagon called the Afghan Mujahideen and specifically today’s Haqqani Network as the “Equivalent to America’s Founding Fathers”. The US support to Afghan Mujahideen and Islamic extremist groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan increased radical Islamism in Pashtunistan region and Islamic political parties in Khyber Pashtunkhwa played a key role in radicalizing Pashtun population with US support.
Today, politics and business in Afghanistan and Pakistan is in the hands of these radical Islamic groups. They have financial capital, financial and economic assets, businesses and control the population of 35+200 millions in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Before, in the last half of the 20th century, these people served US interests while today; these groups serve the interests of Pakistan Army and other organized mafia groups that are legitimately known as states in this region. Secular, liberal and progressive voices are silenced and the radical Islamic cult is ruling and occupying the business, politics, geography, economy and society of a huge mass of 235 million people in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
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They have been imposing the most radical branded Islamic ideologies on 235 million people through their controlled media, to spread hate against non-muslims, especially hindus and jews and consolidating their power via these radical Islamic masses suppressing, silencing, killing and exterminating the liberal, secular and progressive voices of reform and freedom.
These radical Islamic groups, in the form of political parties have enough control of parliaments in Pakistan and Afghanistan and every state institution, for example justice and law enforcement has these people. Parliaments in Afghanistan and Pakistan have turned into long-bearded radical Islamist mafia groups serving as MPs and forced or imposed representatives of people while law enforcement agencies have the armed groups of these radical Islamic political parties. Both countries have been on the verge of collapse as radical Islamism has been popularly promoted that shape and inculcate popular public mindset, hence one see protests leading to disorder and mayhem that bring the governments in these two countries to a standstill.
Governments in Afghanistan and Pakistan, their intelligence and defence exploit the Jihadi and radical Islamic groups to impose their writ on people who voice for national liberations of suppressed ethnic or religious groups and minorities to consolidate power as these radical Islamic groups believe in united muslim ummah and crush any such group that voice for national liberation, liberation of a specific oppressed religious minority or ethnicity or those people who struggle for democracy, rights or blame the state institutions for spreading Jihad and terrorism. These two governments have imposed a system on 235 million people that is systematically corrupt, and hardline islamists occupies key positions within it. They threaten and oppress the voices of freedom through radical Islamic groups coming from the population. Women rights are the worst, human rights condition in Afghanistan and Pakistan is at record low while the so-called legitimate armies support religious extremists to advance their agenda, to consolidate power over people and stay in power. The US government have been paying the Afghan and Pakistani governments in billions of US dollars each year for war on terror which is used to suppress the progressive voices coming out of the population for democracy, human rights, justice and establishing a legitimate national government governed by the legitimate representatives of the people.
Pakistan and Afghanistan have been pushing its people towards 7th century of the deserts in Arabia, to impose sharia and 7th century Islamic desert law on 235 million muslim population.
The Trump administration has taken note of this situation that is turning into a lava that can seriously affect world balance if came out of its final weakening limits. He has pushed Saudi Arabia towards moderate Islam and similarly, pushing the weak, failed and dysfunctional governments in Afghanistan and Pakistan for a moderate version of Islam. However, a group of radical muslims led by an ordinary Imam [prayer leader] from Lahore brought the country and state to its knees for 14 days when the law minister tried to change the tiniest part of 7th century arab desert law embedded in Pakistan’s constitution. With this tiniest reform in Pakistan’s constitution, an attempt towards moderate Islam by Pakistani government led the radical hardliners to clamp down its capital city of Islamabad and Rawalpindi for 14 consecutive days until their demands were met. Pakistan Army which is an organized armed mafia group working as a private national security and defence company on let exploited the situation and supported the radical Islamic group against the democratic government to suppress any effort to de-radicalize the Pakistani masses.
The area now called Pakistan and Afghanistan and especially the Af-Pak region or Pashtunistan region has turned into a national security market with highly mountainous geography, radical Islamist population of 70 millions which formerly harbored Al-Qaida and world terrorist groups, now harboring Taliban, Haqqanis, ISIS and umpteen number of other Islamic terrorist groups from everywhere in the muslim world. National security states or other legitimate countries in the region and world come to Pashtunistan region [FATA, Waziristan and adjacent Pashtun territories in Khyber Pashtunkhwa, Baluchistan and Afghanistan] for making their proxy groups, arm and finance them to fight for their national security, business, economic and political interests. These proxy armed groups come primarily from Pashtun radical islamists who populate the area. Pashtun youth is motivated to fight a war that has no side, no winner, no conclusion and no achievement for decades and it has become a dominant economy in Pashtunistan region. This is why Pashtun brothers from the same mother serve in different proxy groups or so-called legitimate armies of Pakistan and Afghanistan and their supported proxy Islamist groups and kill each other under different names. The motivation to fight come from the Islamic radical ideological centers which has since then transformed into terror factories run by the rogue states, organized mafia governments and so-called legitimate armies who are allies to USA in war on terror in Pashtunistan region.
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So far, terror and jihad industry occupies the war economy in Pashtunistan region and Pashtun youth have been the cannon fodders or primary resource for recruitment and fighters. It is not in the interest of governments, mafia states and their foreign financiers to invest in education, health, human rights, democracy, justice and infrastructure development, mining, agriculture and skill development, labor market but to support and finance Madrassas to train and groom Jihadis who can fight and become the food for recruitment in proxy islamist radical groups fighting jihad for establishment of a 7th century arab desert law.
Besides, Pashtunistan also serve as a test ground for new military hardware and the worst kind of bombs and military hardware that has ever been used in history or in world wars have been used in Pashtunistan in the so-called war on terror. Pashtun youth generation is confused and umpteen numbers of religious ideologies motivating the youth for Jihad and fight is occupying their mindset with tremendous force. Besides, the melodious songs in Pashto of the Taliban, Daesh glorifying Islamic battles and 7th century stories of Ghazwas inculcate extreme righteousness and determination to fight for earning respect among radical people, consolidate power over population, get arms and ammunition, control geography and people and find the bounties of Allah in paradise after Shahadat [martyrdom]. I am worried where the Pashtun youth generation is heading and how can Pashtuns and Pashtunistan region be pulled out of this eternal abyss which has been bleeding Pashtun nation and geography for decades.
If before, US was the main force to radicalize these masses in late half of the 20th century to win over communism, now there are local and regional forces, rogue states, mafia governments who are also US allies in war on terror in Pashtunistan region and their foreign financiers to stay in power has been supporting and keeping this for their vested interests.
Radical Islam has been defeated in the Middle East by Bashar Al-Asad and Vladimir Putin and the war is now on way to its conclusion. However, in South Asia, radical Islam has its permanent headquarters that has turned Pashtunistan into an international security factor market open for everyone. Islamic radical ideology continues to echo from the loudspeakers of mosques and madrassas, fundraising for different Jihadi organizations continues and radicalization of the Pashtun population continues at ever exponential rate since the start of the cold war or American Jihad against the USSR until now.
Trump has brought a radical change in US policy towards exploitation of Islam as a radical ideology against US enemies in the wake of defeat of ISIS in Middle East against Bashar Al-Assad. It slowed down the morale of the US intelligence and defence that Radical Islam can be a successful weapon against its rivals anymore. So therefore, US now want to fight radical Islam as its greatest threat than Russia, Iran and China or North Korea. Trump is in fact the greatest president of the USA who will free not only the US people but also all those people who are primary and secondary victims of radical islam and its armed groups especially in South Asia. However, the governments in Pakistan and Afghanistan are weak, dysfunctional and failed. They do not have the legitimacy that they should have and they do not control their geography and people, their institutions are weakened by their armies and defence who continue to invest in radical islam in connivance with their foreign financiers. Until mafia regimes in Pakistan and Afghanistan run by Jihadi and Islamist criminals are not overthrown and until people of these countries are not freed from the gang of Jihadi criminals who oppressed these people for 40 years, Jihad and terrorism industry will continue to favor rogue states, criminal mafia governments in Pakistan and Afghanistan and their foreign financiers.
There is a dire need of a high level international solution to help save the Pashtun youth in the Af-Pak [Pashtunistan] area from terrorists’ recruitment and Jihadi industry. It has been 40 years that Pashtun land has become center to international Jihad and it is bleeding. United Nations must understand the ground realities and root causes of this 40-year long war and instability and it must end now. Supporting radical islamist groups should be banned as proliferation of radical Islam just like proliferation of chemical and nuclear weapons. It should be banned everywhere in Middle East, South Asia, Palestine, Kashmir and Burma against any state or government. It has resulted in suicide bombs that are badly affecting humankind. Any group or ideology that promote violence, hate and that ultimately lead to fanatical suicide bombing in thirst for self-righteousness and imposing a so-called divine law and ideology on people should be banned internationally and any texts or publication promoting such divine laws and punishment or promoting Jihad and terrorism should be banned. Trump has taken the necessary steps in Saudi Arabia, however, he has to find out that governments in Afghanistan and Pakistan are weak, dysfunctional and failed as it is not house of Saud who is strong enough to drastically dismember the radical islamist networks and impose reform and measures to control literature, media, publication, ideological grooming, recruitment and glorification of Jihad against the non muslims and to clamp down on Wahabi schools. Islamists in Afghanistan and Pakistan wield power, money, economic assets and public support and they are grossly embedded in the governments and they are main stakeholders and contractors of national security and defence. On global level too, key islamist figures wield power and international public support from radical muslims are big security contractors and collaborators with world intelligence agencies and Islamic Jihad has become a proxy security for governments.
It is time to change the mindset of security officials that Islamic Jihad and proliferation of Radical Islam is a mutually destructive proxy weapon and it must be finished. It has been enough now, lot of muslims especially Pashtuns have been wasted in suicide bombing and human race has seen worst kind of exploitation and oppression. The world should unanimously say No to Suicide Bombing and Islamic Jihad as a legitimate and righteous war rather Islamic Jihad should be termed as International terrorism and threat to humanity. The world governments should revise and re-adjust their national interests in terms of security, politics, economy and business and should not rest upon supporting Islamic Jihad and Islamic terror groups that have a global ideology– of domination of Islam above borders, nations and geographies. This destructive ideology is eating civilizations and wants to bring the world to its doom.