Assault on Certitude
By: Mohammad Ali Nazari
In recent times, Afghans have been facing immense difficulties due to poverty and terror that have corrupted the environment. In such a perilous atmosphere, it has become increasingly difficult to breathe, yet the fight for survival and breath continues. There are numerous cases that can be discussed in depth. Everyone has a problem that they are unable to easily overcome. However, some issues are large and widespread, and their consequences have a lasting effect on the future of society. One of these is social values and capital, which have been targeted in the last two years, though not yet destroyed. One of these values is trust. Trust, being one of the most valuable social assets, has been severely damaged in the past two years, resulting in a detrimental impact on the future of society.
Trust is of utmost importance in Afghan society, both between family members and within friendship circles. Afghans tend to rely on verbal agreements rather than written to–do lists, and trust is often easily established within smaller units such as families, where members may even share secrets. However, this social capital has been severely damaged due to the division of society into Talibanized and non–Talibanized factions, with no clear border between them. Many community members are secretly linked to the Taliban and provide them with information from within families, alleys, and villages, resulting in the imprisonment and torture of certain family members or those from certain alleys and villages, even for false reasons. This is a common occurrence in various parts of the country, and in some areas it is said that members of the same family cannot easily talk to each other about the current situation, for fear of saying something that goes against the Taliban‘s will and incurring their wrath. It is reported that in some families, a brother may even act as an unofficial spy on his brother and cause him to be sent to prison, destroying the trust between them and harming society as a whole. Now, it is said that even among very close friends, no one can talk openly.
The Taliban‘s infiltration of people‘s homes and social circles with the intent of arresting them, rather than engaging in mutual dialogue and cooperation with society, has created an atmosphere of mistrust in which no one can be sure of anyone else. This atmosphere has a lasting effect on future generations, as lying and deception replace trust and people become increasingly pessimistic and distant from one another.
The destruction of trust between family members and society is akin to a double–edged sword. On the one hand, it can cause irreparable damage to social relations, families, and society as a whole, while on the other, it can be the downfall of its perpetrators. The Taliban have not been successful in gaining popular support for their regime, as their relationship with the people has been based on fear. People are forced to remain loyal to the Taliban through intimidation, but this cannot last forever. Eventually, the strategy of fear will become ineffective, and without trust, the Taliban regime will suffer. This process has the potential to cause immense harm to many families, which is a cause for great concern.
Trust is one of the social capitals that has been attacked, yet not destroyed. The people of Afghanistan still adhere to the proverb “Man of his word“, where the term “man“ does not refer to a specific gender, but rather to a cultural concept. In Afghan culture, a person who fulfills their promises and keeps their word is considered a “man“, regardless of their gender. There are still many people in society who uphold their promises, value their words, and do not resort to deception when dealing with others. These people are actively resisting the Taliban and their policy of attacking trust. Telling the truth, keeping promises, and not breaking someone‘s trust is a form of resistance against the Talibanization of society and the proliferation of mistrust.
In such a situation, it is the responsibility of the elites of society to safeguard this social capital. By joining forces with those individuals who still uphold trust in society through their actions and words, one can effectively combat mistrust.