Blame it on the Taliban

Who are the Taliban? Does the word ‘Taliban” convey the same connotation that it used to seven years ago? The answer is no, since the word has now become a synonym for terrorism.. A decade ago, the Taliban were a loosely organised political group who had control over most of Afghanistan, but after their fall in 2001, most of the Taliban commanders were either arrested or killed in combined military action by International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) and the Afghan National Army (ANA).

Terrorist activities, or ‘Taliban activities”, are reported every day, not only in the Afghan media, but also in the international media, without any confirmation of the people involved in the incident or their connections with the Taliban. There have been instances where incidents of personal vendetta have been reported as Taliban attacks.

The term Taliban has become a convenient means for the government and the ISAF to shift focus away from their own failure to maintain security. Anything that goes wrong – even complete failure in military campaigns – is blamed on the Taliban. . A recent report by the ISAF said that attacks by the Taliban went up by 30 per cent in 2007. The Force has good reason to exaggerate the figures.

The ISAF needs to keep mentioning the Taliban’s name to justify its presence in Afghanistan and to influence Afghan politics The Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) that is part of the ISAF has considerable influence on provincial politics because it is responsible for the security of the province. It also provides security to the provincial administration and funds most of the government departments. The threat of the Taliban needs to be kept alive by the Afghan government to continue receiving massive funding from the international community for the ‘security’ of the region.

It’s hard to believe that the ISAF and ANA together cannot destroy the Taliban, given their access to modern technology and unlimited funds, whereas the Taliban has few sources of funding, finding new recruits, weapons, and training camps. So who is supporting the Taliban? The ISAF blame Iranian ‘interference’. The Afghan government, for its part, blames Pakistan for not only funding the Taliban but also giving them shelter.

The Afghan public no longer cares for the government campaigns to ‘wipe out’ the Taliban, because they understand that the Taliban, the ISAF, and the Afghan government exist and work for each other’s interests, and this leaves only one choice to an Afghan: sit back and watch.

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