The speed with which Talibans took over Afghanistan may seem astonishing but there was nothing surprising about it. The question was ‘If’ rather than ‘When’. The American resolve (if there was any such thing!) was vanishing rapidly since Trump came to Presidency. Biden’s poll promise was a pull-back at the earliest as well. Both Presidents acted in their own fashion - blundered through strategically, tactically, geo-politically and logically. The backdoor deals and discussions were happening for last few years. These deals weren’t about what to do with Talibans. The discussions provided space for one superpower to hold on to its last shred of dignity, a past superpower to meddle again to gain some footing on world level and an emerging self-proclaimed superpower to showcase their prowess. Ohh and then there were drug lords – who wanted to ensure heroine keep flowing uninterrupted and oil and gas companies who have been eying Afghanistan’s natural gas reserves for decades now. All in all, there are so many actors with competing priorities that, having a strong central player as a ruler in Afghanistan was a critical requirement. Requirement of these external parties, not of Afghan people. No one, literally, no one gives a damn about these poor souls. They are proverbial ants in this game of giants.
Talibans trace their ideology to Deoband - small dusty town in North India. Talibs means students. In this context, students of Deobandi school of Islamic thought. The ideology is conservative, bloody and violent. Something that even Talibans readily agree to. When Talibans first took over Afghanistan in 1990’s they were dubbed as Islamic terrorists’ outfit. They were accepted as legitimate only by UAE and by Pakistan, while rest of the world shunned them. This time though, the soft corner for them is emerging from all quarters. Articles about them being ‘reformed’ are getting printed in western press. And so called public celebrities in India are siding with them. Majority of the people who are showing soft corner for Talibans are self-proclaimed liberals and woke. These new age Taliban sympathizers or ‘Taliberals’ are not united nor do they work towards a central goal. For example, in India the so called woke liberals are opposed to Modi govt. The opposition as a political ideology is natural form of dissent but these self proclaimed ‘secular’ ‘ liberals’ are closet extremists. The goal of Indian Taliberals is myopic and insidious. They do not believe in democratic values and to defame the democratically elected govt. in India, they are in the process of throwing their lot with Talibans. The first step is to equate Talibans with Hindu nationalists. The second step is to whitewash Talibani past and highlight phony caste and religious violence in India. Third step is to willfully ignore new cycle of Talibans are unleashing in Afghanistan, especially on women. It’s ironic that if Talibans ever come to power in India, they will be hanging these so called woke liberals first.
But why are these Indian Taliberals dangerous? After all, this same lot sided with Yakub Menon – one of the mastermind behind Bombay bomb blasts that killed over 300 people, who was convicted by Supreme Court of India after due course of law? The same lot opposed Triple Talaq even though the law safeguarded interests of Indian Muslim women and they continue to oppose abrogation of Article 370 even though the law was anti-India and anti-Hindu.
These Taliberals are dangerous because they are now attempting to take their nefarious agenda international and take decisive steps towards siding with India’s sworn enemies. And, the important part is, they are still virtually untouchables in India. They still glide over the rough tides with ease, they still are impervious to justice and law. They still are heavily funded by foreign money. They still have access to NYT, The Economist and most of the foreign press and they are increasingly getting forum in US and European universities. Deeply ensconced within democratic nation and democratic fabrics the Taliberals are getting ready to unleash the cycle of misinformation, agenda driven narration and their habit of equivocating.
The Talibans are not fighters by any stretch. They can never face a military power. They won because they could wait longer than US but if they ever face any sort of military again, they will simply run away hiding in burqas. They can be defeated but these newly emerging Taliberals are a whole different ball game. The fight will be long but it’s necessary to be on vigil against these new age enemies within.
Note: I did not coin the term 'Taliberals'. It's courtesy of Twitter. Forgot where I saw that term but I thought it's the most apt representation of new age 'woke' 'liberals'