Asia, News Watch, Side Feature, South Asia

Views on the News 28/08/2021

Biden Continues to Struggle with the US Exit from Afghanistan

After the US puppet regime in Kabul collapsed much faster than America had expected, with its head, Ashraf Ghani, hastily fleeing to the UAE, America was left with a chaotic exit from the country. The world’s media was filled with scenes of shocking mismanagement at the US controlled Kabul airport, with a Taliban official commenting, “America, with all its power and facilities… has failed to bring order to the airport.

There is peace and calm all over the country, but there is chaos only at Kabul airport.” America impossibly promised to airlift a very limited number of Afghanis right in the middle of a still unfolding and very dynamic power transition and resettle them in the West, which in today’s world is viewed as more economically prosperous than the Muslim countries whose resources and wealth the West has so assiduously exploited. Predictably, this resulted in attracting massive panicked crowds that the US could neither control nor even fully accommodate within airport facilities. Then on Thursday, the inevitable happened, and two explosions targeted at the gathering crowds resulted in the deaths reported at up to 200 including a dozen American military personnel and more than two dozen of the Taliban forces. A Taliban spokesman strongly condemned the attacks, saying “The Islamic Emirate is paying close attention to the security and protection of its people, and evil circles will be strictly stopped.”

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden has come under severe domestic and international pressure over his handling of the exit. On Tuesday, Biden refused to submit to pressure in his online meeting with fellow G-7 leaders, in particular Britain, to extend the withdrawal beyond 31 August. The British political medium has been bitterly denouncing Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal, not only to gloat at American defeat but also because Britain’s foreign policy is built on pushing America hard into the international arena against the other great powers, in accordance with Britain’s long-standing ‘balance of power’ thinking. While, all great powers have used a ‘balance of power’ approach from time to time in one situation or another, Britain has elevated this almost to the level of a fixed method in its foreign policy. Almost a century ago, Britain brought the US to the Middle East after the collapse of the Ottoman State in order to provide balance against feared Russian expansionism into Muslim lands while today Britain incites America against not only Russia but also China. The American retreat from Afghanistan is a defeat not only for America but also for British foreign policy.

The failures in Afghanistan make clear what we have been saying for a very long time, which is that the present great powers, though hegemonic and globally dominant, nevertheless are constrained by fundamental limitations, while the Muslim Ummah still carries within itself the potential to rise and lead the world. With Allah’s permission, the Muslim Ummah shall soon re-establish the righteous Islamic Khilafah (Caliphate) State on the method of the Prophet (saw) unifying all Muslim lands, liberating occupied territories, restoring the Islamic way of life, implementing the Islamic Shari’ah and carrying the light of Islam to the entire world.

Compromise over Panjshir Valley, US Tries to Refocus on China

By fleeing Kabul, President Ashraf Ghani wrecked the carefully worked out American plans for a negotiated settlement to the end of the US occupation. The Americans had already succeeded in extracting a commitment from the Taliban leadership not to enter Kabul militarily. Even now, the US and Pakistan, the key US agent for Afghanistan, continue to press the importance of negotiations and the Taliban have entered into discussions with members of the previous regime such as Hamid Karzai, Abdullah Abdullah, and even Gulbuddin Hekmatyar; but it’s difficult to present such discussions as carrying real weight when the Taliban’s interlocutors now hold so little power. It is this that explains the fleeing of former Vice President Amrullah Saleh and the young Ahmed Massoud to the Panjshir Valley, even though it carries little of the value it previously had under the deceased father of Ahmed Massoud. In the 1990’s, Panjshir Valley was the centre for the Northern Alliance, a coalition of Uzbek and Tajik forces then undefeated by the Taliban and supported by carefully guarded supply lines out of neighbouring Tajikistan. But today the valley is an isolated location, totally surrounded by Taliban forces, who made the capture of all of Afghanistan’s border crossings their top priority since the final standoff was supposed to be Kabul and not the Panjshir Valley. There are reports that Tajikistan is still trying to supply Panjshir but through helicopter drops. Pakistan’s foreign minister visited Tajikistan this Wednesday; an official statement from Tajikistan said, “Evidence clearly shows that the Taliban are abandoning their previous promises to form an interim government with the broad participation of other political forces in the country and are preparing to establish an Islamic emirate.” Still, it is expected that the US and Pakistan would be applying immense pressure on the Taliban to enter into negotiations over Panjshir.

Suhail Shaheen, the spokesman for the Taliban’s Doha Office that spearheaded negotiations with the Americans said regarding the valley, “Conquering Panjshir by force will be the last option as that’s against our policies. We will try our best not to go that way.” Meanwhile a spokesman for Massoud’s National Resistance Front said, “We are in favor of peace — but peace does not mean surrendering to the enemies’ demands and one force to dominate the politics of the country. Our conditions for lasting peace in Afghanistan are decentralization of power and wealth, democracy, political and cultural pluralism, moderate Islam, and equal rights and freedom for all citizens”. The Americans are hoping to achieve the compromise over Panjshir that they failed to achieve over Kabul.

America’s real purpose, not only in withdrawing from Afghanistan but also reducing its commitments in the rest of the Muslim world, is to marshal its efforts against its most significant present threat, which is the rise of China and its encroachment onto the Pacific Ocean, thus directly threatening American security. This week, attempting to emphasise this shift, Biden despatched Vice President Kamala Harris on a tour of Southeast Asia that nevertheless remained overshadowed by developments in Afghanistan. In a major foreign policy speech in Singapore on Tuesday, the Vice President said, “The United States is a proud part of the Indo-Pacific. And this region is critically important to our nation’s security and prosperity.” Criticising China directly, Harris said, “We know that Beijing continues to coerce, to intimidate and to make claims to the vast majority of the South China Sea”. She also brought up the rhetoric of ‘international’ law, which is of course a Western construct built on Western legal concepts and designed to further the Western imperialist agenda, “Beijing’s actions continue to undermine the rules-based order and threaten the sovereignty of nations.” Responding to this a Chinese government spokesman said, “The U.S. always tries to make use of the rules and order to justify its own selfish, bullying and hegemonic behavior, but who still believe it now?”

Although America is right to see China as a threat, the reality is that China has its own limitations. China has for millennia maintained a local or regional focus and lacks international political experience or sound comprehension of the deceptive and often duplicitous manoeuvrings of Western powers. Furthermore, China remains locked into the failed Communist ideology, upon which its vast ruling party has been established; this week, China’s education ministry incorporated into the national school curriculum the latest addition to Chinese ideological thinking, known as “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era”.

According to official guidelines, primary schools will focus on “cultivating love for the country, Chinese Communist Party and socialism so they will follow the Party from a young age”, while middle school will showcase CCP accomplishments and help students “understand the essence of Xi Thought”. China will never be able to fully confront Western hegemony. That task falls to the re-established Islamic Khilafah State which, almost from its inception, shall join the ranks of the great powers on account of its immense size, vast population, great resources, vital geopolitical position and Islamic ideology. It is only the Islamic Khilafah that can save humanity from the oppression of the current great powers by confronting, containing and cooling their hegemonic schemes and engagements, returning not only the Muslim Ummah but the entire of humanity to stability, peace and prosperity, as largely existed previously for over a millennium when the Khilafah State remained the world’s leading power. Allah (swt) says:

(كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ وَلَوْ آمَنَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُم مِّنْهُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ)

“You are the best nation produced for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah. If only the People of the Scripture had believed, it would have been better for them. Among them are believers, but most of them are defiantly disobedient.” [Aal-i Imran:110].