Taliban enforce Sharia in Ghazni, Pak plays double and Afghanistan in flux
Military situation continues to be fluid in Afghanistan with government security forces waged in a fierce battle with Taliban all over the country and Pakistan playing a double game of facilitating peace and simultaneously supporting the war effort of the Sunni Pashtun Islamic fundamentalist group.
In fact, there is a sense of deja vu among Afghan people as Taliban 2.0 have neither changed their tactics nor enforcement of Sharia law since they last captured Kabul 25 years ago. Pakistan, meanwhile, continues to play on both sides and the western powers led by the US have no definite plan to tackle the military occupation of Afghanistan by the Pakistan supported fundamentalist force. The military flux situation has led to foreign terrorists from Pakistan, Xinjiang and Uzbekistan migrating to the Taliban held territories in east and north Afghanistan and it is only a matter of time when these terrorist groups start targeting democracies under the protection of the Sunni medieval force. Till Friday, 218 districts in Afghanistan are under the control of Taliban, while the national government holds 120. The number of contested districts stands at 99.
Ground intelligence reports reaching Delhi indicate that the Taliban have issued a fatwa in Badakhshan, Takhar and Ghazni provinces that girls above the age of 12 and widows can be taken by their fighters. They are also targeting families of security forces, conducting house-to-house searches and looting properties. Foreign terrorists are freely operating under the Taliban umbrella, including those affiliated to Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, East Turkestan Islamic Movement and Islamic Movement of Uzebkistan. A 21-year-old woman was dragged out of her car at Balkh district centre and killed by Taliban fighters for not wearing a burqa (veil).
Neighbouring Pakistan, meanwhile, has adopted a two-pronged strategy. It is part of an US/UK effort to invite Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on a state visit to Islamabad ostensibly to talk peace with senior Taliban leaders like first Deputy Emir Mullah Yaqub (son of Mullah Omar) and Haqqani network chief Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is also the sword arm of Taliban. At the same time, Pakistani drones are in action in Jalalabad and in Nangarhar province conducting reconnaissance and watching the live action on ground.
With a thankless task of stablising Afghanistan, the US has set up a Security Defence Cooperation Management Office in Qatar to support the Afghan security forces. Preparing for a worst case scenario, Washington has also advised Afghan leaders to present a united front in defence of the country's government, gain public trust and take the peace process forward. The envisaged platform would include HCNR chairman Abdullah Abdullah, Hazara leader Ustad Mohammad Mohaqiq and former Mujahideen leaders Ustad Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayyaf, Ismail Khan, Atta Mohammed Noort, Younis Qanooni, Uzbek leaders Enayatullah Babur and Batur Dostum, sone of Rashid Dostum.