Articles

The Taliban, the US, and Islamophobia

Written by Tadese Faforiji

 It is no news that the Taliban has ousted the democratic government of Afghanistan. This happening has led to the rise of many views, news, and opinions around the world towards the state of Afghanistan, the Taliban, and the reality surrounding the happenings.

Unfortunately, some corrupt, inexperienced, and money-making driven media throughout the world had terminated and tarnished the very product of the history, course, and contemporary happenings surrounding this event, just to create propaganda, religious sentiments, secure innumerable traffic of readers, or to have a say about it.

While I seek to produce the very message concerning the Taliban, I also clarify some misconstrued messages, and corroborate mine with some, on the internet, directly linking to the homepage of the website for clarification of this event.

Who Are the Taliban?

The Cold War era (1945-1991) between the West-capitalist United States and the East-communist Soviet Union, produced a relic proxy of war in Afghanistan among different factions vying for the dominations of their respective ideologies.

Taliban (derived from ‘Talib’ a student in Arabic) simply is a faction that evolved in Afghanistan during the Afghan War (1979–92). This group comprised more of students, who fought during the Afghan Civil War to contain the spread of the communist ideology.

The Taliban, cr: ft.com

Therefore, the Taliban are not terrorists, rather they are a product of the factions that fought for the Afghan War from 1979-92, but they had a clear interest which is the quest for the power of the state from the West-inclined government of Afghanistan, and to subsequently make Afghanistan an Islamic Republic that would be dominated by the Sharia law. 

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During the Cold War (1945-1991), both the United States and Russia sought to dominate international politics as they became the only countries in the world that could advance their national interests on the international level.

The root of the conflict lied in the internal conflict that began in 1978 between the anti-socialist Islamic guerrilla forces supported by the US in the latter’s attempt to curb the spread of communist ideology to the rest part of the world “through its popular Containment Policy during the heydays of the Cold War against the Soviet-backed communist government of Afghanistan from 1979-891

Summarily, the Taliban is a student-inspired Islamic movement that emerged in 1994. The majority of the Taliban were students from the Pashtun areas of eastern and southern Afghanistan.

The Story of Usurpations

From 1978-1992, Afghanistan experienced wild politics dominated by turbulence, killings, and social unrest generally, caused by the two rival groups who were trying to propagate their respective political-inclined, economic, religious ideologies.

Bringing all sorts of turmoil to orderliness, in 1992, rebel forces backed by America overthrew the socialist government of President Mohammed Najibullah, subsequently; a West-inclined Pres. Abdul Rahim was installed.

 Having secured needed materials to engender domination, the Taliban, under Mullah Mohammed took over power and declared an Islamic Emirate.

Unfortunately, the emirate did not last long as it was truncated by the American-led forces on November 13, 2001, and a democratic system was restored with the installation of Hamid Karzai in 2002. The state institutions were democratized, and there were series of democratic developments to ease the tensions in this area.

However, the American government has been blatantly spearheading the domestic politics of Afghanistan in order to safeguard the American interest in Afghanistan; a democratic system was (by-force) maintained in this region by the West with its use of propaganda, majorly and also provisions of adequate supports to the democratic government of Afghanistan.

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Ashraf Ghani in 2014 became the president of Afghanistan, and also was re-elected in 2019 before he fled to Uzbekistan on August 15, 2022, as the Taliban took over the capital, Kabul, and proclaimed the Islamic State of Afghanistan. 

Afghanistan under Taliban

While individual insurgent commanders have issued threats to attack the West, the senior leaders of the Afghan Taliban are currently uninterested in pursuing such a strategy3 It is learned that the first rule of the Taliban was oppressive and brutish towards the females, however, Afghanistan ought to be accommodating and peaceful with the group’s press release after their emergence.

Taliban wished for peaceful relations with other countries and that no group will be allowed to use Afghan territory for attacks against any nation, as done by the Al Qaeda of Osama bin Laden.

 And also, the leader of the group, Mujahid, said women would be allowed to work and study4 It seems that the Taliban has learned from history, and they are also ready to combine Islam with the waves of the international principles, by bending to some extent the tenets of the religion, however, the West is doubtful of the development.

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Although it is opined that the Taliban have their own interpretation of the Sharia law5, the fate of Afghanistan cannot actually be justified, it may be a return to normalcy or another war and social unrest.

The US and Islamophobia

From the heydays of the US, though often quoted that the US is a state that tolerates religions, it has engaged in many Anti-Muslim Activities (2012-2018)6 with “violence, threats, and discrimination at the local level- across the United States, mosques are vandalized, local government officials denounce Islam, and state legislatures debate anti-Muslim laws7.

According to  Janna Ramadan, in a piece published as an honorable mention in the Harvard Human Rights Journal’s Winter 2021 Essay Contest, there is still perpetuating Islamophobic discrimination in the United States, examining the relationship between news, social media, and hate crimes8.

In the first paragraph of Janna piece, he states thus:

 Discrimination against minority communities and on the basis of religious identity violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Following 9/11, the American public and greater Western world came to associate Islam and Muslim populations with terrorism. The introduction of bans on the burqa in France, oppression of Uyghur Muslim populations in China legitimized by a supposed threat of extremism, the Christchurch mosque shooting in New Zealand, and the U.S. Muslim ban display the degree to which the stereotype between Muslim populations and terrorism has permeated society, even to the level of domestic policy. Also important in perpetuating the association is the media, particularly social media8.

Notably, the US has achieved its national interest, which is not the protection of the Afghans but the Americans and America. Therefore, the US deliberately evacuated the country during this turmoil period, not even concerned about what happens to the Afghans afterwards.

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Quoted from Biden’s statement on Afghanistan:

“America went to Afghanistan 20 years ago to defeat the forces that attacked this country on September 11th. That mission resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden over a decade ago and the degradation of al Qaeda. And yet, 10 years later, when I became President, a small number of U.S. troops still remained on the ground, in harm’s way, with a looming deadline to withdraw them or go back to open combat9

America’s Interest in Afghanistan

As stated, the interest of America was never for the Afghans, it was rather to prevent another terrorist attack from hitting America from Afghanistan. Since America has achieved its very objective, its continuous stay in Afghanistan makes the objectives unclear10

This is a systematic warning to countries, like Nigeria and other politically unstable nations, that hope to have America’s, or Britain’s supports should war outbreak in the country. The drive of the system is basically based on national interest and nothing else.

Conclusion

Summarily, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has to bear the brunt of all happenings in the state, and also seek a way to ease themselves.

It would rather be unjust and parochial to quickly dub the Taliban terrorists, or ascribe terrorism with Islam; rather there are many events, episodes, and religious sentiments that have been manipulated for, majorly, propaganda, and the attainment of national interests, all resulting in confusion, and a complicated  and complex situation to handle

Citation: Tadese Faforiji. The Taliban, the US, and Islamophobia. (August 20, 2021). Tadexprof. Retrieved at https://tadexprof.com/2021/08/the-taliban-the-us-and-islamophobia/

Refs:

  1. Usman Solomon Ayegba. Lessons that American Withdrawal from Afghanistan and Taliban Takeover Should Teach Us. (August 18, 2021)https://web.facebook.com/100001052330782/posts/4592318140813218/?app=fbl&_rdc=1&_rdr
  2. Usman Solomon Ayegba. Lessons that American Withdrawal from Afghanistan and Taliban Takeover Should Teach Us. (August 18, 2021)https://web.facebook.com/100001052330782/posts/4592318140813218/?app=fbl&_rdc=1&_rdr
  3. ANNE STENERSEN Are the Afghan Taliban Involved in International Terrorism?SEPTEMBER 2009, VOLUME 2, ISSUE 9 https://ctc.usma.edu/are-the-afghan-taliban-involved-in-international-terrorism-3/
  4.  Taliban holds first press conference since victory. Jpost. https://www.jpost.com/international/taliban-holds-first-press-conference-since-victory-676980      
  5. What does Sharia law mean for women in Afghanistan under Taliban.  https://www.indiatoday.in/world/story/what-does-sharia-law-mean-for-women-in-afghanistan-under-taliban-1842767-2021-08-19
  6. Anti-Muslim Activities in the United States 2012-2018. https://www.newamerica.org/in-depth/anti-muslim-activity/
  7. Anti-Muslim Activities in the United States 2012-2018. https://www.newamerica.org/in-depth/anti-muslim-activity/
  8. Janna Ramadan. Perpetuating Islamophobic Discrimination in the United States: Examining the Relationship Between News, Social Media, and Hate Crimes. https://harvardhrj.com/2021/05/perpetuating-islamophobic-discrimination-in-the-united-states-examining-the-relationship-between-news-social-media-and-hate-crimes/
  9. Statement by President Joe Biden on Afghanistan. AUGUST 14, 2021• https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/08/14/statement-by-president-joe-biden-on-afghanistan/  

10. Remarks by President Biden on the Way Forward in Afghanistan https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2021/04/14/remarks-by-president-biden-on-the-way-forward-in-afghanistan/

 

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About the author

Tadese Faforiji

I am Tadese Faforiji, a history student of the prestigious Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State- 21st-century University, properly called. I am a blogger and an avid writer.

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