In 1969, Afghanistan was liberated from a decade of Soviet rule. With the direct help of America, the guerrilla Mujahideen were able to occupy Afghanistan. In the early post-Soviet era, Afghans were divided by power struggles. The clashes between these divided groups started massive anarchy all around. The end of the chaos took the form of civil war. Between 1992 and 1996, 35,000 Afghans lost their lives in the civil war. In this volatile situation, the students of the country's madrasas came forward with the praise of peace. Their influence gradually spread from the southwest of Afghanistan to the whole country.
In November 1994, the 'Crime Prevention Committee' formed by those students started its journey in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Note that the Pashto word 'Taliban' means the students movement in English. The Taliban soon became popular for their contribution to peace. Taking advantage of this popularity, they overthrew the government of Burhanuddin Rabbani in 1996. Then, from 1996 to 2001, the people of Afghanistan witnessed five-year strict rules of The Taliban power. The Taliban leadership failed to deliver a message of peace and harmony during its rule. In addition, they question Islam by talking about ruling according to Islamic Sharia.
In 2001, terrorists broke the strong defense system of the United States. 2,997 people lost their lives in this terrorist attack. Among the dead were not only American citizens but residents of seventy-six countries. Al-Qaeda's involvement is clear by its acceptance of terror attacks. After the attack inside the United States, the US economy collapsed. Within 1 day, the stock market started falling by leaps and bounds. 1 lakh 43 thousand people lost their jobs in one month in the country. The attack on the World Trade Center is estimated to have cost an estimated 60 billion. Detectives understood that Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, was in Afghanistan. With that in mind, President Bush called on the Afghan government to hand over the terrorists. But the Taliban had denied the allegations. In this context, the US administration decided to send troops to Afghanistan, citing the scourge of global terrorism. The US-led operation in Afghanistan overthrown the Taliban government at the beginning of the campaign.
After being ousted in 2001, the Taliban continued to weaken. As the United States became embroiled in the Iraq war in 2003, it sent troops and military equipment from Afghanistan to Iraq. As a result, the world's attention shifted from Afghanistan to the Middle East. With this opportunity, the Taliban became active again. According to the United Nations, the Taliban and their allies were responsible for 76 percent of civilian casualties in Afghanistan in 2009, up from 75 percent in 2010 and 85 percent in 2011.
President Bush's successor, Barack Obama, has highlighted his leadership skill on the Afghanistan issue. In 2009, Obama sent another 30,000 new troops to Afghanistan. At the same time, the Obama administration was able to uncover important Taliban activities inside Pakistan. On May 2, 2011, President Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed inside Pakistan. He is thought to have lived in Pakistan for at least five years before his death. Tensions between Pakistan and the United States began after bin Laden's assassination. Which served as fuel for the Taliban coup.
Following bin Laden's death by US forces, Obama announced the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan in 2016. The Obama administration and its Western allies have pledged to invest billions of dollars in rebuilding Afghanistan. Note that, the United States overthrew the Taliban in 2001 and formed a government of its own in Afghanistan. The United States has also helped the Kabul government to form special government forces and militia forces.
The plan was to keep the troops active in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of foreign troops. But with great cunning, the Taliban continue to play their chess. As soon as trained Afghan government forces became active on the battlefield, the Taliban plunged into a deadly battle. One region after another began to occupy themselves. Instead of creating divisions in the tribal-based Afghan society, they continue to hand over the responsibility of the occupied districts or territories to the tribal chiefs. On the battlefield, this tactic has helped the Taliban regain control of various regions, as well as activating declining popularity.
The polarization of the United States and its adversaries in global politics has made a significant contribution to the Taliban's strategy. They also had economic security as they controlled some important areas of Afghanistan from the beginning. The Taliban carry out a planned tactic. Without fighting all year round, they jumped into the final fight in the summer. During the winter, the Taliban leaders took refuge in different parts of Pakistan. The idea is that in Pakistan they store training and energy. And for the rest of the year, the Taliban cultivate poppies. Gathering in the light hot air of spring, they began to prepare for war again.
The Trump administration has begun talks with the Taliban to restore peace in Afghanistan The main topic of discussion after 2016 was the safe return of troops from the United States and its allies. The Taliban leadership has made good use of these opportunities. On the one hand, they have negotiated with the United States, on the other hand, they have maintained diplomatic relations with countries like China, Iran, Russia, and Pakistan. The attacks continue to put pressure on the Kabul government. These precise plans of the Taliban leadership have also overturned the predictions of political experts.
Taliban leader Mullah Omar died on April 23, 2013. The Taliban kept the news of Mullah Omar's mysterious death secret for two years. It is said that Mullah Omar's popularity among the Taliban is skyrocketing. And behind this popularity was the religious spirituality of Mullah Omar. Before his death, the leader said, foreign occupation of Afghanistan would end within two decades of their loss of power. After that, the fate of Afghanistan will be in the hands of Afghans for a hundred years.
The name of Mullah Omar has played a major role in the activism and unity of the Taliban. He has chanted the mantra of keeping the Taliban leadership united. Mullah Omar's prediction is also becoming true.
Twenty years war, America was about to end the longest and most costly war in its history. The bloodthirst in the Afghan desert has probably stopped. Today, 20 years later, the Taliban is back in power. What is the difference between the Taliban 20 years ago and the current Taliban is now at the center of the discussion. It remains to be seen how this new leadership will be able to build Afghanistan after 20 years of Their ousted by handling regional political pressures. Indeed, Afghans never want to see the Taliban rule 20 years ago again.
Md Akij Mahmud is a Student, Department of history,
University of Chittagong