Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

‘Taliban in Moscow and Kabul’ Different?

A photo from the Taliban’s latest meeting in Moscow circulated on social media has been changed into a bitter political satire for Afghans. The photo shows that a shapely-figured lady, apparently journalist – with coils of leaf-brown hair plunged over her shoulders and pencil-thin eyebrows inclined slightly – drooped to take a picture of a Taliban’s leader, who was sitting on a couch with long beard and black turban along with other long-bearded high-profile Taliban. The lady is rebelliously dressed in white western tights as her nude, thin legs sprouting up in attractive way.
Posting the photo widely, Afghan social media users satirized the scene in different ways. Meanwhile, some called the Taliban the “pawns” of non-Islamic countries holding their meetings in Moscow “under the flag/picture of Lenin”.
Beside that picture, a number of social media users posted some other pictures showing the Taliban militants lashing or shooting Afghan women, dressed in a head-to-toe covering called “burqa”, during their regime. They titled the first picture “The Taliban in Moscow” and the violent pictures “The Taliban in Kabul”.
In the meantime, some political analysts also lambasted the Taliban on talk shows and in their interviews with national media outlets. According to them, the Taliban and Afghan jihadi leaders, who attended the Moscow meeting, were those who fought bloody battles against the Soviet Union and called them their sworn enemies, however, then sat for eating around the same table in Ramadan, holy month of Muslims, in Moscow. They concluded that the Taliban in general and other jihadi leaders in particular sought their political interests. They further criticized jihadi leaders for receiving the Taliban with warm hugs despite the fact that they are widely engaged in the killings of Afghan soldiers and civilians.
Based on the public belief, the Taliban leaders are traveling around the world, eating in five-star hotels, and living luxury life abroad regardless of the pain and sufferings of war victims and those of their rank-and-file in the battlefields.
The Taliban’s indiscriminate killings is self-evident. Recently, they have been targeting the moderate Afghan clerics, which is highly outrageous to Afghan people. Shedding the blood of noncombatants, mainly in Ramadan, has no religious justification. The Taliban have been capitalizing on religion to pursue their political objectives. Now the question is that what was the outcome of the Moscow meeting?
In a joint statement, the negotiating parties described the meeting “productive and constructive” adding that both sides had had “tremendous progress”.
However, such statements have been changed into cliché for Afghan people, who fall victim to the Taliban’s attacks and suicide bombings. A meeting will not be productive unless it has a direct effect on security situation in Afghanistan. The two sides called the meeting “productive” so as to simply justify their trips for the public. That is, they are seeking to show that their trip was not symbolic or useless.
At the start of Ramadan, President Ghani called on the Taliban to hold a nationwide ceasefire, but the Taliban turned down the offer and intensified their attacks in this month. The Taliban leaders, who are enjoying their luxury life outside the country, seek to magnify religious ideology for their rank-and-file so as to boost their morale for bloodshed.
Besides targeting noncombatants, the Taliban militants are collecting taxes illegally under religious term from people living under their control and from truck drivers and farmers.
Generally speaking, Afghan people are highly frustrated with the conflict and Taliban’s brutality and acts of violence. As a result, Afghan representatives in Loya Jirga called the Taliban to stop war and violence and resolve their issues through negotiation. But the Taliban turned a deaf ear to their demand.
To pose a question from public perspective, how does Russia, who killed and wounded thousands of Afghan people, turned to a close friend overnight? Suppose Afghan government is “a puppet-regime” supported by the US, isn’t the Taliban a puppet group supported or befriended by Russia? How it came the Taliban became so close with Moscow? These are the questions that Taliban need to answer. Their acts and words are highly paradoxical and baffling.
The true face of the Taliban is a mystery neither for Afghan people nor for the world. They are a militant group widely involved in killings and terrorizing.
Overall, the Taliban had better stop violence and murder under the mask of sacred ideology and religion. They should no more pretend to show they are fighting for national interests. Meanwhile, the heads of Afghan political parties have to side with the government, which is the public demand, and stop holding individual meetings with the Taliban leaders. Finally, if Moscow is genuinely supporting Afghan peace process through hosting such meetings, it has to push the Taliban to hold direct talks with the Afghan government.