We should not give in to the scaremongers here or in the West who do not want good Indo-Afghan relations
TALIBAN are sons of the soil. They fought against foreign invaders and defeated them and their local stooges who fled the country at the first opportunity, leaving their people in the lurch. Taliban victory was not possible without overwhelming popular support while the puppet government was propped by foreign forces and collapsed as soon as foreign occupation forces realised that the occupation is futile and that they cannot win the war against the people of Afghanistan who are known historically to reject foreign occupation. The British and Russians have tested this bitter reality.
Afghanistan has done in two superpowers within three decades. The new development will help usher in a bipolar system which had collapsed after the defeat of the Soviet forces in Afghanistan. And this should be welcomed by all since the unipolar system under the US harmed the interests of many countries in the world.
Every person or movement learns from life and keeps changing and adjusting to hard realities. After this long struggle of two decades to kick out the foreign invaders, Taliban have learnt many lessons. Their announcement these past few weeks are enough to assure people that they have changed and have learnt their lessons. There are no executions on the streets, there is no looting, they are letting anyone, foreigner or Afghan, wishing to go out to leave the country by air or land routes, they have said that women will be free to study and work under Taliban rule.
They never came to Kashmir
Taliban have expressed their appreciation of the development work India did in Afghanistan which means that they are extending a hand of friendship to us. This should be grasped and Taliban should be allowed to prove their good intentions. They should be judged only in the light of their deeds, not our or western fears. There is no chance that they will come to Kashmir as being fraudulently propagated by some.
Even earlier, two-three decades ago they did not come to Kashmir. It was only a few hundred Arab militants of Al-Qaeda who came to Kashmir after the collapse of the Soviet occupation. Now Al-Qaeda is on the run and there is no chance that Taliban will ever allow it or similar forces to return to Afghanistan. Taliban have announced that they will not interfere in foreign countries and will not allow Afghan land to be used against foreign countries. We should believe them and give them some time to prove their sincerity and intentions.
Their historic tussle with Pakistan
There is no possibility that the Taliban government will gang up with Pakistan against India. It is not possible that they will forget how General Musharraf abandoned them and threw them to the Americans. Musharraf even delivered the Taliban ambassador in Islamabad, Mulla Zaeef, to the Americans who imprisoned and tortured him for years in Guantanamo Bay.
Moreover, the Afghans, with their long memory, have a major dispute with Pakistan over large chunks of their lands including the current Pakistani province of Pakhtunkhwa which is an Afghan territory occupied by the British under the Durand Line agreement of 1879 which Afghans have been asking Pakistan to return. Hence, we should be cautious in our approach and should not give in to the scaremongers here or in the West who do not want good Indo-Afghan relations.
The author is a scholar and expert on Middle East affairs. He has also been chairman of Delhi Minorities Commission. Views are personal.