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Opinion | Three Individuals I Would Interview About Afghanistan


Zahir: Let me inform you a number of issues about my nation. The very first thing it’s a must to know is that we’re and at all times can be a mosaic of many various languages and cultures and ethnicities and approaches to Islam. There are 14 ethnic teams acknowledged in our nationwide anthem — Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks, Balochis, Turkmens, Nooristanis, Pamiris, Arabs, Gujars, Brahuis, Qizilbash, Aimaq and Pashai. We’ve Sunni, Sufi and Shiite Muslims. The rationale the nation was comparatively peaceable below my management, till my fool cousin toppled me, was that individuals noticed me as a unifying image to whom they may all relate.

The Taliban characterize just one factor in our mosaic — Pashtun Sunni Islamism. Since they have been ousted by the Individuals 20 years in the past, all they’ve been fascinated by is how one can once more personal the Afghanistan they misplaced, not how one can govern anew the Afghanistan that exists at the moment.

Let me inform you, Mr. Friedman, greater than 70 p.c of Afghanistan’s inhabitants is below 25 years previous. Most of them know nothing in regards to the Taliban and have by no means heard of Mullah Omar — identical to all these 20-somethings in Iran who’ve by no means heard of the shah and provides Iran’s Islamic rulers grief each day. They’ve been raised in a unique Afghanistan, in a unique age, and they won’t simply hand over the freedoms they loved these previous 20 years, even when the nation was a multitude.

Tribes on this a part of the world, Mr. Friedman, have a saying: Me and my brother in opposition to my cousin. Me and my brother and my cousin in opposition to the outsider.

Individuals have been the outsider, and the Taliban may at all times discover loads of passive and energetic cousins for its undertaking of getting you out. However now they and their brothers must cope with all their cousins inside — from these 14 completely different ethnicities — and that can be a unique story. The Taliban do not know how one can govern a contemporary nation. Vietnam’s nationalist chief, Ho Chi Minh, spent his exile in Paris. These Taliban guys studied, at finest, in madrasas in Pakistan, the place they don’t even train science.

After which there’s the cash. The American occupation was to Afghanistan what oil is to Saudi Arabia. You have been like an oil effectively that didn’t dry up. However now that you simply’re gone, so is all that revenue to run the federal government and pay salaries. How are the Taliban going to interchange it? You possibly can smuggle solely so many medication to Europe. Certain, the Chinese language will throw them some crumbs to maintain them away from the Uyghurs. However there aren’t any extra sucker superpowers on the market that need to are available and run this place, as a result of all of them now know that every one they’ll win is a invoice.

Right here is my prediction: The Taliban will both kind a nationwide unity authorities with all the most important ethnic and tribal teams, below unfastened centralized management — and it’ll form of maintain the nation collectively and have the ability to enlist overseas help — or they received’t. In the event that they do, President Biden’s guess on getting out will show proper — that America’s presence was really stopping Afghans from compromising and coming collectively to manipulate themselves. Perhaps they may even discover one in all my household’s descendants to be the symbolic unifier. I repeat: My reign corresponded with one of the peaceable eras in Afghan historical past.



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