Mullah Omar Makes New Year Presents - 25 December, 2002

Will Talibs get a new state soon?

It is considered that the Talib regime in Afghanistan is finished off. At least, it is alleged that Talibs are not a strong authority in Afghanistan any more. Or they have gone so deep underground that they cannot be neither seen, nor heard of. However, this doesn’t mean at all that the Talib ideology has passed into history together with the Talib state. On the contrary, the ideology is flourishing despite of all efforts made by the anti-terrorist coalition. There is no guarantee at all that the regime won’t emerge in some other part of the planet. It is highly likely that a new Talib state may appear in the nearest future. Certainly, it won’t emerge in Afghanistan while the US troops are still there. There are other territories which are also very attractive for the Taliban followers. One of them is India’s state of Jammu and Kashmir. This is the place where positions and influence of religious extremists are extremely strong. To tell the truth, local fanatics never concealed their sympathies towards Talibs. And they have already started realization of the Taliban ideology.

According to Russia’s news agency RIA Novosti, two groups of Kashmir extremists, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and Hai-ya-Allal Fallah, sent a facsimile address to the editorial offices of local mass media. They called for respecting the laws of Islam spread by Talibs in Afghanistan. In particular, it was mentioned that women are prohibited to attend education institutions and go outdoor without veils; in public places they must be separate from men. Men, in their turn, must wear  Muslim hats, grow beards, don’t smoke and drink alcohol. The address also threatens to inflict physical reprisals upon owners of liqueur and tobacco stores if they don’t stop the business.

The extremist organizations shouldered responsibility for several acts of terrorism recently committed in the Rajouri district in the Kashmir valley. Four girls from a local college who refused to wear veils were violently killed in the district several days ago. Besides, a tobacco store was burnt down, its owner got grave burns. And these are only the most outrageous instances reported by Indian mass media. How many people were severely beaten for their disobedience to live in accordance with the medieval laws?

There is no use to discuss the reasons why the barbaric traditions are so much popular among the local population. After all, they are barbaric for touring foreigners only. The actual problem is that Talibs and their methods of ruling and public order maintenance are not decreasing at all, on the contrary, they are gaining more popularity. And such is the situation not only in the countries neighboring Afghanistan; let’s take the recent wave of violence in Nigeria in connection with the “Miss of the World” contest. This popularity can be easily explained: Talibs and extremists of their kind were always guided by local traditions. And if the traditions dictate to wear veils and not to drink Coca-Cola, it will be so! Nobody ever thought why it’s so, but not the other way.

By the way, it is not right to explain the problem with poverty and lack of education among the local population. The standard of living in Saudi Arabia is rather high and the population is educated enough there. What would happen to a woman if she dares to go outdoor without a veil? 

The problem is hard to be solved; it may take dozens of years to find a solution. This kind of work is certainly thankless and doesn’t return immediate dividends. That is why Washington is reluctant to admit that the operation in Afghanistan failed to achieve its goals: al-Qaeda still exists, bin Laden and Mullah Omar (the Taliban leader) are hiding somewhere in the mountains. It’s too early to dismiss the Talibs themselves. In the heated fuss about Iraq, the USA (together with other countries) may highly likely miss establishment of some new quasi-states, much more detrimental than the previous regime in Afghanistan.   

Vasily Bubnov

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Author`s name Michael Simpson