Afghanistan — What will happen now?

Markandey Katju

Markandey Katju

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Will the Taliban ultimately win and control all of Afghanistan?

Despite the territorial gains of the Taliban, some people say that the Taliban cannot defeat the Afghan government army.

Assuming that is so, what will happen ? Now there obviously cannot be two hostile armies in a country. The stalemate cannot continue for long. Either the Afghan army will crush the Taliban, or else the Taliban will crush the Afghan army.

Assuming the former happens, will it be acceptable to the Afghan people?

The Afghan army was set up by foreign powers after 2001 when they invaded Afghanistan. So it is perceived as a puppet of foreign powers, receiving military and other aid from such powers. Karzai was perceived as a puppet, as is Ghani today.

Afghanistan

The history of Afghanistan shows that the Afghan people are fiercely independent, and will never accept a puppet army for long.

They never accepted the rule of the British, Russians or Americans. So instability and guerilla fighting will inevitably arise again.

The Taliban have taken over the rural areas in Afghanistan, while the government troops only hold the big cities like Kabul, Kandahar, Mazar-e-Sharif and Herat.

But the urban areas are dependant on the rural areas for food and other supplies. Sooner or later they will be choked and driven to starvation.

Moreover, many members of the Afghan army would be secretly sympathising with the Taliban, which is an indigenous force, not puppets, and so they will cross sides at an opportune time. Nationalist and patriotic people always support an indigenous force, not puppets.

So to my mind, whether it is in the short run or long run, the Taliban will ultimately win and control all of Afghanistan.

It can only be hoped that the Taliban has changed, and will not impose a feudal despotic rule denying education to girls, protection to minorities, and other human rights.

But time alone will tell.

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Markandey Katju

Markandey Katju

Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India and former Chairman, Press Council of India.

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