In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
The Declining Day (Al-'Asr)
1. By the declining day,
2. Lo! Man is in a state of loss,
3. Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort
one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance.
A few years ago while browsing an English language daily, I was struck by an article entitled ‘America’s longest war gets longer’ by Eric S Margolis which stated that for the past 13 years (now 20 years), America, the world’s greatest military and economic power, has been trying to crush the life out of Afghan Pashtun mountain tribesmen.
The writer noted the Pashtun’s primary sin is fiercely opposing occupation by the US and its local Afghan opium-growing stooges. This longest of war has cost nearly US$1 trillion to date – all of it is borrowed money – and caused and death of 3,518 US and coalition troops, including 158 Canadians who blundered into a war none of them understood.
If Afghanistan is ‘hell’ to American and its coalition soldiers; it is also a ‘mass grave’ for the Afghan people – tens of thousands of Afghan are being killed…but no one has the courage to end this pointless war. To people like Margolis it is a pointless war but to some like the Taliban it is 'jihad' - a struggle to free their land from the oppressor.
Perhaps in Afghanistan, the Americans could took pride in their achievement in installing a puppet regime in Kabul with its first president, Hamid Karzai and now at helm is a former banker, Ashraf Ghani (he abandoned his palace and ran for life to UAE).
Afghanistan reminded me that in 2001 I was at its border with Pakistan to monitor the latest political development in that country after it was raided by the American troops. I too was assigned to cover the plight of Afghan refugees in Peshawar, the capital city of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) which shared the boundaries line with Afghanistan.
The majority of the people in NWFP are Pashtuns, perhaps it is not wrong to say that it is part of Pashtunistan that actually does not exist. This group of people have strong sentiments shared with their brothers in Afghanistan.
In fact there are more than 30 million Pashtuns in Pakistan, outnumbering the 13 million Pashtuns in Afghanistan. The Pashtuns are the biggest group of people in Afghanistan. They represent about 40 percent of the Afghan society.
There are about nine million Tajiks in Afghanistan, more than the six million Tajiks in Tajikistan. The three million Uzbeks in Afghanistan are just a fraction of the 23 million Uzbeks in Uzbeksistan. There are about 200,000 Turkmens in Afghanistan compared to four million in Turkmenistan.
Based on this fact, some scholars take note that is wrong to say Afghanistan is a country. They say Afghanistan is neither a state nor a nation. Thus no government actually control the entire land, mainly mountainous regions.
If the argument is true, than what is the point the Americans and other Western powers installed their puppet government in Afghanistan? The Americans seem to have made the same mistake that was done by the British and Soviet Union.
If the Soviet installed a puppet government headed by leaders like Babrak Kamal and Najibullah, what difference can we say about the Americans who installed Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani? Only time will tell whether leaders of this puppet government would joined strings of super powers licking dictators and corrupt leaders such as Najibullah or even worse still another Ataturk in the Muslim world (now the Americans had to leave Afghanistan humiliated, leaving it to the hands of the Talibans).
The Americans have spent billions of dollars in their war ‘to liberate’ Afghanistan. Surely they are waiting to quench the thirst profit from their investment. The leaders of the puppet government and their men will have to pay dearly for it.
Based on this development, I am afraid Afghan 'puppet leaders' would follow the foot-steps of leaders like General ‘President’ Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan who is ever ready to please his master – the Americans!
The puppet regime of President Ashraf holds on only thanks to the bayonets of US troops and the US Air Force. Without constant air strikes, the US-installed Ashraf regime and its drug-dealing would have been swept away by the resistance alliance of the Taliban.
Yes, the war in Afghanistan was far from being ‘almost won’, writes Margolis. But what made the American stay on? Among others he claimed the US oil industry was determined to assure trans-Afghan pipeline routes south from Central Asia.
But he gave this warning – “Look what happened to the Soviets after they admitted defeat in Afghanistan and pulled out. Why expose the US Empire to a similar geopolitical risk?” Margolis did not write it, but it good to refresh our minds that the Soviet Empire collapsed soon after they pulled out of Afghanistan. Soviet Union is now history, perhaps ‘after Afghanistan’ the United States too would be history…
For restoration projects in Afghanistan after the US armies invaded Afghanistan in 2001, Washington promised aids amounted to billions of dollars and forced other countries such as Japan, China and South Korea to show commitment in sending monies, armies and workers but sadly most of it was not fulfilled.
Afghans were left to suffer on their own, many of them fled to the many refugees camp in Pakistan, including in Peshawar. But the saddest part of it, as mentioned by a Malaysian peace mission, Global Peace Mission Malaysia, groups of Christian missionaries were taking advantage to promote Christianity in their rounds helping the people.
The exposure by Global Peace Mission Malaysia should not be taken lightly by the Muslim 'ummah' especially by the Organization of Islamic Co-operation (OIC) which claimed to be the umbrella for the more 1.5 billion Muslims of the world.
For the Westerners, they have people like writer Eric S Margolis who gave warning that 'America's longest war gets longer' but do we Muslims have leaders, groups and individuals who sincerely gave their hearts and hand (efforts) to end the conflicts in Afghanistan? Why the silence, ooh OIC?
The people of Afghanistan had suffered too long...in modern times they were involved among others in the Anglo-Afghan wars, the Soviet war and now (from 2001) the ongoing 'American war'. Perhaps an Afghan had witnessed war most of his/her lifetime. Subhanallah, when this 'never ending story' ...oops war of Afghanistan would end?
Afghans are our Muslims brothers, how could we 'eat and sleep' (live) in comfort when they are suffering...Ibn 'Abbas told Ibn az-Zubayr, "I heard the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, 'A man is not a believer who fills his stomach while his neighbour is hungry.'"