Rajat Sharma

Those praising the Taliban must know, it is still committing brutal atrocities

rajat-sir I was surprised to find several supporters of Taliban in our country, who are proudly claiming that Taliban’s victory will boost the confidence of Muslims across the world. It is really surprising some of these leaders are sending congratulatory messages to the Taliban, and are expecting similar conquests in other parts of the world. Those making such remarks are not ordinary people, they project themselves as leaders of Muslims in India.

One of them is Maulana Sajjad Nomani, member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board, who has lauded Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. Nomani heaped praises on Taliban and said, “this Hindi Muslim salutes you”. Nomani said, this is a new Taliban, different from the past, which respects women. Late on Wednesday night, the Muslim Personal Law Board dissociated itself from Nomani’s remark and said this was not the official position of the Boad.

Similarly, a Samajwadi Party MP Shafiqur Rehman Barq, has been booked for sedition, after he compared Taliban’s win with India’s freedom struggle. Barq said, Taliban fought for the freedom of the Afghan people, just like Indians had fought for freedom from British rule. I believe, there could be several thousand people in India, who might be happy over Taliban capturing Afghanistan, but are not disclosing their thoughts publicly. These people believe that Taliban has changed and it will not oppress women in Afghanistan.

I had said on Tuesday, and I am repeating it today that Taliban has not changed. In my prime time show ‘Aaj Ki Baat’ on Wednesday night, we showed images and videos of Taliban fighters dealing cruelly with opponents, and caning even women and children. Those who are saying that Taliban must be given opportunity to rule Afghanistan after fighting a war against the US for two decades, must see these videos, which clearly show that Taliban fighters are publicly executing their opponents, torturing supporters of former regime and displaying them in public, and beating up women and children waiting for evacuation outside Kabul airport.

When Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and his colleagues arrived in Kandahar after 20 years of exile, in a Qatar Air Force plane on Tuesday, they were welcomed by Taliban fighters, who took them in a procession to the Governor’s Palace, where nightlong celebrations took place. There were fireworks. The next morning, people of Kandahar were called to the stadium to witness the execution of four Afghan commanders who had been taken into custody after the battle for Kandahar.

These four commanders were publicly hanged evoking memories of similar hangings that the Taliban had done during the Nineties. General Abdul Razzaq was the police chief of Kandahar during previous regime. He played a stellar role in the occupation of Kandahar and the Taliban had to retreat to other havens. Three years ago, the Taliban assassinated Gen. Razzaq, but his lieutenants ran the province.

The chief of Takht-e-Pul district of Kandahar Hashim Regwal had surrendered to Taliban, but on Wednesday morning he was hanged publicly. Those executed with him were the ex-police chief and other local commanders. Those in India who still live in a make-believe world about Taliban showing mercy should think again after watching this video.

In Jalalabad, Taliban fighters fired at a protest march by local citizens who were objecting to the replacing of Afghan national flag with the Taliban flag. More than three persons were killed. Journalists who were taking video of the protest march, were caught, thrashed, and warned not to take any such videos. Taliban fighters threatened they would kill, if they were caught again.

Afghans who are considered supporters of previous regime are being taken out from their homes and paraded in the streets of Kabul. They were beaten with canes and whips, their head shaved, their faces were blackened and then taken away by the Taliban to an unknown destination. This was done publicly, sending down spine chilling fear among common Afghans. Those in India who trust the Taliban should watch this video and reassess their opinion about Taliban.

Twenty years ago, during Taliban rule, there were no smart phones to record the brutal acts, but now times have changed. The average Afghan now has a smartphone and they quickly record every act of such brutality and flash it on social media for the world to see.

Those in India who believe the Taliban will act leniently towards women should change their views after watching another video. On Wednesday, Taliban fighters beat up women and children sitting outside the Kabul international airport, waiting for evacuation. The Taliban used whips and canes and acted brutally. They wanted to disperse the crowd of Afghans who wanted to leave the country.

Indian Muslim leaders like Maualana Sajjad Nomani, who are offering salute to greet the Taliban’s return, should watch these videos and then formulate his opinion. Even the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind has welcomed the Taliban. The Jamaat president Syed Sadatullah Husaini showered praise on Taiban for carrying out a peaceful takeover in Afghanistan. He said, “it is gratifying to note that the perseverance and struggle of the Afghan people (read Taliban) resulted in the withdrawal of imperialist forces from their country.”

The Jamaat chief said, “the Taliban has the opportunity to present to the world a practical example of the benevolent and merciful system of Islam….Islam gives freedom of belief. ..We hope the new rulers of Afghanistan will strictly adhere to these teachings of Islam and set an example before the world of an Islamic welfare state where everyone is free from fear and terror…”

The ground realities belie these pious expectations from the Jamaat-e-Islami chief. Afghan girls and women are weeping outside and even inside Kabul airport, pleading to the US to arrange their evacuation. There is a video of Afghan girls singing their national anthem and other sad songs, inside Kabul airport, while weeping and waiting for their evacuation.

The Taliban, which has been promising women a fair deal, have abducted the first woman governor of Balkh province, Salima Mazari, who had taken up arms to resist Taliban. Even when the Afghan president Ashraf Ghani fled Kabul, Salima decided to stay on in Balkh province. She was finally captured by Taliban. Nothing is known about her location.

Female anchors and radio presenters working in Afghan media have been asked not to report for duty. They have been clearly told that they are no more employed because the regime has changed. Women employees have been “indefinitely suspended” from Afghan state television. Khadija Amin, a prominent anchor on state television, was told by her boss that the Taliban have banned women from returning to work at state television.

Taliban leaders do not want even children to play in parks. In Shebergan province, a large amusement park built for children was set on fire and reduced to ashes by Taliban. They said, Islam forbids music and public entertainment, and this amusement park was not needed.

There are reports of Taliban fighters entering homes and looting money and expensive articles. They are forcibly snatching away luxury cars from the rich. Hashmat Ghani, one of the largest transporters of Kabul, said on social media that Taliban fighters came to his home, and took away the keys of his luxury cars. Videos of firing going on in near Kabul airport, and women and children, sitting on the pavement, cowering in fear, have shocked the conscience of viewers across the globe.

Maulana Sajjad Nomani should say whether those who are indulging in public execution, burning of amusement parks, brutal torture of civilians, including women and children, are true Muslims? He should know that the Afghan army may have surrendered but the brave Afghan people have not surrendered to the Islamic bigots. There were protests in Jalalabad against the Taliban, which were dispersed when Taliban fighters began to fire. There were videos of brave Afghans throwing away Taliban flag, and hoisting their national Afghan flag.

There is revolt in Panjshir valley, where the Northern Alliance has started regrouping and Amrullah Saleh has declared himself the new executive president. He has been joined by the fighters of Ahmed Masood, the son of the great Afghan commander Ahmed Shah Masood, who was assassinated by the Taliban in 2001. The Northern Alliance claimed on Wednesday that it has recaptured Charikar, that lies on the road that links Mazaar-e-Sharif with Kabul. There are possibilities of a civil war.

The biggest danger in Afghanistan today is being faced by those thousands of Afghans, who had bravely come out in support of humanity and democracy. These Afghans had sided with the US, Nato allies and India, who had carried out massive reconstruction of a war-ravaged Afghanistan for two decades. They had come forward in the belief that the big world powers will come to their support if ever Taliban reared its head. Their hopes now lie in shambles.

The common Afghan is unhappy with the US and says that it has left them to the mercies of Taliban. Nearly 86,000 Afghans had been promised safety and security by the US and Nato allies. The diplomats of Sweden and Netherlands quietly left their embassies and they did not even tell their Afghan employees that they were leaving. The people of Ukraine, who were allies of the US, have also been caught in this crisis. Nearly 20,000 Afghans were sent back to Afghanistan in the last 10 to 12 years by European countries, promising them a safe life. These Afghans are now living a life of fear. They do not know what will happen if the Taliban arrive at their doorsteps.

Contrast this with what India did. India evacuated not only its Indian embassy staff, but also all the Afghans who had taken shelter in the embassy and wanted to come to India. Three sniffer dogs of Indo-Tibetan Border Police were also brought back. India is the only country that is issuing emergency e-visa to any Afghan who wants to come to India. Priority has been given to bring back the Hindus and Sikhs who have been staying in Afghanistan.

A canard is being spread that India will not allow Afghan Muslims to come. I have seen the Ministry of Home Affairs notification, which clearly says the emergency e-visa offer is applicable to “all Afghan nationals”. There is no discrimination on grounds of religion. Those who are trying to spread communal unrest must know that India is the only country where all Afghans had lived and are still living a life of dignity, whether they are commoners or Afghan political leaders or bureaucrats.

Since 2016, India has been the cradle for the Afghan national cricket team. The common Afghan citizen knows that India provides them a life with dignity and safety. Those in India, who are singings paeans in praise of the new Taliban, should think thrice before praising this fundamentalist outfit. Their ideology belongs to the Dark Age. Some people in India may have their own ideology, but how can they praise medieval form of torture and cruelty being perpetrated by the Taliban?

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