On the Possibility of Deliverance from the Past Captivity

A segment of Afghanistan’s political and social forces finds themselves entrenched in a historical era, ensnared by a paradigm forged during the Cold War and bearing remnants of events from the two preceding world wars. Within this paradigm, the world was perceived through an ideological lens, with classical leftism and liberalism reigning as dominant global ideologies. Simultaneously, regional and local spheres were influenced by religious ideologies, with Islamist ideology holding particular sway in our region. During confrontations, Islamist ideology formed an implicit alliance with liberalism to counter classical leftism, fostering collaborations between Islamist networks and liberal powers. These movements, manifesting locally on a spectrum from left to right, carried a distinct indigenous flavor while addressing localized issues and deficiencies.

However, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the global momentum of leftist movements dwindled, particularly classical leftism, which faded into the annals of history. This shift in the global paradigm brought other priorities to the forefront, including human rights, democracy, sustainable development, and related concerns. Consequently, the philosophical existence of certain parties and movements in our region ceased to be relevant. Labels such as Khalqi (a branch of classical leftist ideology in Afghanistan), Ikhwan (a group in Afghanistan following the ideology of the ikhwan al Muslemin of Egypt), Shola (a branch of leftist groups in Afghanistan adhering to Maoist ideologies), and similar ideologies became historical artifacts. The subsequent generation, increasingly attuned to global developments, began contemplating issues such as citizenship rights, government services, civil society, accountable governance, balanced development, women’s rights, children’s rights, minority rights, transcending nationalism, the global village, regional unions, multinational corporations, the virtual world, the digital age, artificial intelligence, and the like. These issues are of paramount importance as they directly impact people’s quality of life and serve as indicators of well-being in the contemporary era. Unlike the prior ideologies, which espoused utopian ideals like socialism, a global Islamic caliphate, and mythical slogans, these issues address tangible aspects of people’s lives, including the extent of their access to fundamental freedoms, the security of their rights, and the enhancement of their livelihoods.

Nonetheless, Afghanistan still harbors individuals who remain oblivious to global advancements, ensnared by the slogans of yesteryears, dividing the populace along the lines of Islamist, leftist, Khalqi, Shola, and tyrants, and adjudicating rights based on these criteria. Remaining trapped in the past has blurred the line between illusion and reality, diminishing the significance of the everyday hardships faced by the people and obstructing avenues for dialogue and mutual comprehension. The perpetuation of this deadlock and the failure to engage in dialogue create fertile ground for conflict and extremism, sapping society’s energy through destruction and self-sabotage. If we aspire to extricate ourselves from the profound crisis currently gripping the nation, substantial action is required. This includes emancipating ourselves from age-old disputes, transcending past divisions, and reorganizing our alliances in accordance with the rights and interests of the people. The new generation has no need to perpetuate enmities or engage in conflicts that are unrelated to their interests and are legacies of bygone generations. The heritage of our forebears is meant to impart lessons and insights, not to serve as a repository for ceaseless warfare. It is far more prudent to consign the labels of the past to history’s museum and channel our endeavors toward securing the rights and freedoms of Afghanistan’s citizens.