I was waiting for the OIC-Organization of Islamic Cooperation to condemn the Taliban’s rise to power after the departure of US troops but to no avail. The silence of the Islamic countries in condemning the Taliban in Afghanistan, has made clear its tacit support for the Taliban.
The Ghani government was haram and not deserving of being in power. It was viewed as a puppet of the US. However, the deaths, sufferings and other discomforts arising out of the raging civil war in Yemen are ignored by the Islamic world. When a non-Islamic power such as the Modi government in India or the Macron government in France only appears to be transgressing against Muslim rights, there is a furry of protests across the Islamic world and particularly in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Despite desperate Afghans falling off airplanes in mid-air to escape Taliban rule, the Islamic world has not spoken in a single voice.
So, how is the world viewing the victory of the Taliban? Pakistan and China have recognized the Taliban in Kabul. Other countries in the neighborhood are yet to indicate their support. Russia has had a bitter experience with Islamists and would be weary to support the Taliban. Surrounded by countries with large Muslim populations, Russia has all reasons to be cautious. The US, though, has clearly stated that it is not going to recognize the Taliban.
With the Taliban being a Pashtun-Sunni force are were going to see resistance from the Hazara, Taijk and Uzbek communities against Taliban rule? Is the Taliban going to unite with its Pashtun brothers in north-west Pakistan? Currently, there are Pashtuns within Pakistan calling themselves Pakistan Taliban and are fighting Islamabad to create a Pashtun State. Is the new Taliban going to join hands with their brothers in Kyyber Pakhtunkhwar to create Pashtustan?
Islam may have one Prophet, one Book and one Allah, but the Islamic world has many ethnicities that can be leveraged to maximize power. With a large numerical presence in Kyyber Pakhtunkhwa and northern Balochistan, the Taliban would definitely be coming to join forces with its brothers and sisters in Pakistan. It would mean sleepless nights for Imran Khan and the Punjabi Islamic outfit that rules in Islamabad.
The Uzbeks in the north are 9% and they share the ethnic identity with the state of Uzbekistan. Then there are the Hazaras, descendants of Genghis Khan, speaking their own language and belonging to the Shia sect of Islam, which makes then natural enemies of the majority Sunni people. And then there are the Aimaq-4%, the Turkmen-3%, the Balochi-2% and others-5%. The reality is Afghanistan is a hotbed for ethnic rivalries as the dominant Pashtu people impose their values on the rest of the population.
The Taliban/Pashtu war has not ended but must continue into Pakistan where more than 30 million Pashtus are concentrated. By incorporating and annexing the Kyber Pakhtun region of Pakistan, the Taliban will be seeking to create a Pushtun state with a population of almost 50 million. It is interesting and exciting time ahead for South Asia!
The Islamic world must understand that Islam is not a strong social glue to hold a nation together. Ethnic loyalty appears to supersede Islam. This was revealed by the breakaway of Begal-speaking Pakistan in 1971 and the birth to the nation state of Bangladesh. In Pakistan also the dominant Panjabi population dominates the military and the government with the Sindh, Baloch, Pashtuns and Kashmiris all feeling like second class citizens.
Now that the US is out of the region, China with is fat pockets is going to seek to fill this void. Islamic nations including Pakistan and Turkey are interested in China’s loans and grants at the expense of the Uyghurs who remain invisible in the Islamic world. Even the portrayal of Prophet Mohammad in China’s television series appears to fly over the heads of the Islamic world. It is becoming clear that China is beyond reproach by the Islamic world whose leaders kotow before the rising China. After all, the Uyghurs may be Muslims but are of a different ethnicity! Who cares!
The Pushtun Taliban is not going to consolidate its power just yet. It would first have to carve its Pushtun region of north western Pakistan into a dominant Pushtun nation. What is inevitable in South Asia is not a civil war in Afghanistan but a disintegration of Pakistan. That is inevitable and without any help from the Modi government.