Afghanistan still needs to use violence to restore political stability after decades of war

Estimated read time 4 min read

As we have approached the first anniversary of the Islamic Republic’s collapse, the need for a strong, democratic anti-Taliban armed resistance in Afghanistan seems to be the only solution. Following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, the Panjshir valley remained the last bastion of democracy. The residents, along with former government personnel, including members of ANDSF, joined the call of Ahmad Massoud to form a resistance against the Taliban’s regime. However, prior to any military confrontation, peace and negotiations were proposed by Panjshir, where a delegation team of both Masoud’s men and the Taliban met but did not come to an agreement that would avoid further use of violence and a military struggle.

Over the last year, several countries have urged Afghanistan’s politicians and all parties—including the Taliban and the resistance—to end the conflict via negotiation rather than armed intervention. However, given their current status where they dominate all the provinces, convincing the Taliban through discussion to concede to the rights to girls’ education, freedom of expression, and the necessity of elections or a mechanism by which the people may determine their future is a fantasy.

The killing and suffering of Afghanistan’s civilians continue as long as the Taliban rule. Reports corroborate that many international Islamist militants who threaten the region’s sovereignty and the world are now re-grouping in Afghanistan. The Taliban cannot break ties with countries and terrorist organizations that helped them fight the Afghan government and NATO in the past two decades, which questions their independence as an organization. Afghanistan cannot remain a protégé forever. People are willing to fight and will fight no matter the outcome.

For several reasons, Afghanistan’s resistance was ignored in the early years of the Russian invasion, mainly because it seemed like an unwinnable war. However, the people resisted and proved their worthiness to be supported, eventually defeating the Red Army (1989). The lack of interest in Afghanistan caused the rise of the Taliban into power (1996), who then had close ties with Al-Qaeda and other Jihadi groups. Afghanistan was isolated and left behind. The world, especially the US, failed to recognize the power of religious extremism and did not comprehend how it was transforming the nature of terrorism until the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred. The very people who warned the world in the late 90s and early 2000s are calling on them once again. A worldwide reaction is necessary since extremism is a global problem. It is time for the world to break its silence on Afghanistan and the atrocities committed by the Taliban.

Self-initiation—mounting the first resistance, strategic defense, strategic offense, and national cohesion are the four stages of a war, according to the late commander Massoud. Today’s resistance has not been able to expand territory because of the shortage of weaponry and logistics issues. However, the leadership of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan has stated they have around 3000 armed military personnel using guerrilla warfare to battle the Taliban, a technique described by the late commander Massoud as an essential warfare tactic when fighting a better trained and equipped army.

The leader of Al-Qaeda, assassinated by the US inside the capital city of Afghanistan in a well-protected neighborhood, and the reports by international journalists, as well as the National Resistance Front’s repeated emphasis on the presence of international terrorists under the Taliban’s regime, show how delicate the situation is. The silence of the world regarding Afghanistan will neither stop the Taliban’s crimes nor prevent the suicide attacks of IS-K.

Throughout history, in many wars, there have been historical victories won by smaller forces against larger armies. Likewise, Afghanistan’s people have experienced fighting the Taliban and an enemy way more robust than the Taliban, the Soviet Union. Yet, with sacrifice and the international community’s assistance, resistance 2.0 has a chance to win. By aiding Afghanistan’s resistance, the world can prevent the suffering of Afghans while destroying another sanctuary of extremist terrorists that could conceivably lead to another 9/11 if not stopped—killing two birds with one stone.

Article by Maher Saadat (@SaadatMaher) for Epistle News. All views expressed are the author’s personal.