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Islam and Politics ( 28 Jul 2021, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Taliban Resurgence in Afghanistan A Threat to Shias, Women's Education and Regional Peace

Political interests of Russia, China and Pakistan tilt the balance in favour of Taliban

Main Points:

1.  ISIS has started attacking Shias.

2.  Taliban return may boost sleeper cells in the sub-continent

3.  Modern schools have been attacked


By New Age Islam Staff Writer

28 July 2021

As the US has already pulled out 90% of its troops from Afghanistan and plans to complete the process by 31 August, Taliban in Afghanistan are on a resurgent note. According to reports, the Taliban claim to have gained control of 220 out of 420 districts of Afghanistan.

From the developments seen in Afghanistan since last year and more particularly since May this year, it is feared that with the dominance of Taliban or establishment of a Taliban government, Shias and women's education will be hurt the most. Secondly, terrorism will see a rise not only in Afghanistan but also in the Indian sub-continent.

According to a recent report of the United Nations Security Council, the ISIS-Khorasan has strengthened base in a number of provinces including Kabul. They have started recruiting disgruntled members of Taliban who do not accept US-Taliban peace deal. They have formed sleeper cells in Nuristan, Baghlan, Kunduz, Badakhshan, Badghees, Sari Pul and Kabul.

The claims made in the report was authenticated by recent attacks on Shia neighbourhoods in Kabul by the ISIS. On May 9, 2021, the ISIS attacked a Shia neighbourhood in Kabul killing 68 Shias and injuring 150.

Last year, the ISIS-K (Khorasan) had attacked schools, ceremonies and clinics targetting Shias. On May 12, 2020, the ISIS attacked a maternity clinic in Shia locality in Kabul and killed 24 mothers, new born babies and one medical personnel.

On March 6, 2020, the ISIS attacked a ceremony attended by Shias killing 32 members of the community.

On October 24, 2020, the ISIS attacked a school of Shias in the Dasht-e-Barchi area of Kabul and killed 40 Shia girl students.

On February 3, 2020, the ISIS attacked a Shia girls's school in Takhtar province.

With the rise of Taliban and the US pull out from Afghanistan, the ISIS and Al Qaida will scramble for their share in power. This will lead to internal strife and bloodshed. The Shias and other minority communities will be at the receiving end of the ISIS as the terrorist outfits will highten their sectarian operations to build pressure on Taliban.

According to the UN report, the AQIS (Al Qaida in the Indian Sub-continent) continues to operate under the protection of Taliban in Afghanistan. This raises the concern of security analysts of India that with the dominance of Taliban, the sleeper cells of ISIS and Al Qaida in the subcontinent may get a boost. The terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the last couple of years may serve as a reminder of the threat of Al Qaida and ISIS in the sub-continent.

With the advance of the Taliban, it becomes clear that the 20 year long fight between the US and the Taliban has only made Taliban stronger and battle hardened. Fighting with the most powerful army of the world has only given them experience and expertise in warfare. The US did not equip the Afghan government forces in the last 20 years to make it have an edge over the Taliban. Its political alliance with the oil rich kingdom of Qatar has only benefitted Taliban.

It is also important to note that the support of Pakistani people for Taliban is increasing because some Islamic organisations in the sub-continent do not consider Taliban as a terrorist organisation. They think that the Taliban try to establish Islamic caliphate. They have forgotten the previous rule of Taliban in Afghanistan when minorities and women had suffered the most and modern education had suffered. Bamiyan Buddha was destroyed.

On the contrary, the Afghan army's morale is low and they are not well equipped. Political interests of Russia, China and Pakistan have also tilted the balance in favour of Taliban as they see the Afghan government a puppet of the US.

In short, if Taliban come to power in Afghanistan, it will not augur well for the Indian sub-continent as Afghanistan will become a centre of extremist and terrorist activities. The AQIS and the ISIS will highten their activities. These forces may make Kashmir their target at the behest of Pakistan. Safety and security of Shias in Afghanistan and Pakistan will be under increased threat. Modern education and women's right will suffer. Another round of oppression and victimisation of minorities in Afghanistan is looming.



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