Afghanistan, A Haven for Terrorists

By: Mazdak Parsi

The notion that Afghanistan should not be allowed to become a refuge for terrorism has been a subject of debate for a considerable amount of time. From foreign diplomats to domestic politicians, this phrase is uttered in every gathering and conversation. It is as if repeating this statement is the only way to protect ourselves from terrorism. However, the reality of Afghanistan is far more perilous and dire than what foreign diplomats are aware of.

The notion that Afghanistan will not become a hub for terrorism, contrary to popular belief, is more deceptive than enlightening and cautionary. This notion only reveals part of the grim reality, not all of it. Grim realities are also rigid and false, so that we do not become overly concerned, as if to say,The terrorists have not yet established a stronghold in Afghanistan and the Taliban are expected to keep their word and rid us of terrorism.”

At present, the Taliban are being asked politely and cautiously in every gathering not to allow Afghanistan to become a haven for terrorists. The Taliban, in turn, have promised that no terrorist organization is present in Afghanistan and that no nation is threatened by the area under their control.

The world is so desperate that it is asking terrorists to fight against their own kin. It is absurd to think that such a fight would be necessary, but the world is increasingly suspicious of the Taliban, fearing that they will control the countries of the world and that there will be no progress in suppressing terrorism. For this reason, from the regional supporters of the Taliban to the Westerners, all parties are continuously warning the group not to forget the fight against terrorism.

The aim of preventing Afghanistan from becoming a hub of terrorism masks the reality that it has been a safe haven for terrorists for years, and since the Taliban took control, the situation has only worsened. If this continues, the world will eventually face the devastating consequences. However, why do foreign diplomats believe that the Taliban can be a dependable partner in the battle against terrorism? I will attempt to answer this query in the following article.

The Bad Against the Worst

Given that even the average Afghan citizen is aware of the Taliban‘s terrorist affiliations and connections to the AlQaeda network, TehreekeTaliban Pakistan (TTP), Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), Jamaat Ansarullah of Tajikistan, East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and other terrorist groups, is it not reasonable to assume that experienced foreign diplomats are also aware of this issue? Furthermore, it is undeniable that the Taliban have been responsible for more suicide attacks against Afghan civilians than any other terrorist group in the world over the past two decades. Additionally, the Taliban continue to take pride in their suicide bombers. What has changed so drastically that a formerly ruthless terrorist group could become an ally of the world in the fight against terrorism overnight?

The principle that is consistently applied in official and customary politics is to support the lesser of two evils and oppose the greater one. This principle, which is employed both domestically and internationally, is more out of necessity than anything else. In politics, it is difficult to be an idealist and a perfectionist. The practical realm of politics necessitates that politicians seek shortterm objectives and devise immediate and temporary solutions to problems, rather than those that require a more comprehensive approach. This is done for two reasons: first, finding permanent solutions is timeconsuming and not easily accomplished. Second, the actions of most politicians are driven by personal gain rather than values and peopleoriented goals. They engage in political activity solely to win elections and gain popularity among the populace, and in this sense, they are only looking for shortterm and immediate solutions to achieve their personal political ambitions, regardless of the longterm implications of their policies.

The Taliban, who have been in control of Afghanistan for almost two years, were accepted as a fact prior to the fall of the Westernbacked government. Countries in the region even viewed the Taliban as a more reliable ally in the fight against Islamic StatesKhorasan (ISS-K) than the previous government. The Doha agreement saw the Americans pledge to fight terrorism with the Taliban, despite U.S. officials not believing that the Taliban have kept their commitment. Nevertheless, both Westerners and Afghanistan‘s neighboring countries, who have the most contact and goodwill with the Taliban, continue to ask them to fulfill their promise.

Neither the United States, Europe, China, Russia, India, nor Iran wishes to become embroiled in Afghanistan‘s situation. Now that a corrupt and rudimentary regime has taken control of the country, the world must accept it as the people of Afghanistan have. When one is unable to end a disaster, they must learn to come to terms with it. The Taliban are bad, but ISSK is much worse than them. Therefore, in order to rid themselves of ISSK, the world has allied with the Taliban.

The policy of compromising with the bad in the face of worse may be effective in the short term, but it does not have the capacity to end the terror industry. In fact, it may cause it to expand and perpetuate further. To prevent the reproduction of terrorism and set off a plan for its destruction, a strategic plan is necessary, rather than a tactical and temporary one.