Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, July 9th, 2020

Withdrawal of Soviet Forces Left a Vacuum for Civil Unrest

More than three decades ago, the former Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan, but the conflict was not ended. Following its withdrawal, civil unrest emerged in the country since Jihadi leaders disagreed on the type of power-sharing. Afghans know that was only the beginning of a new nightmare – the start of civil war.
Although jihadi leaders are proud of their jihad against the Soviet Union, the civil unrest ushered in following the troop pullout outstripped the sacrifices made in their fight against the USSR. The public perspective changed towards Mujahidin after their acts of violence against their own people.
Afghanistan is a multi-ethnic country and remained divided throughout history on the grounds of individuals’ ethnicity, race, and sect. Afghans fought against the USSR but had no agenda after the withdrawal of the Soviet forces.
The history of Afghanistan has been replete with war and challenges. The civil war following the withdrawal of the Soviet Union, which created a breeding ground for radical ideology and Taliban group, is believed to be a defamatory sign in the national history. Both Afghan religious and political figures were widely engaged in killing their compatriots and destroying their own country without an iota of guilt.
It is self-explanatory that Afghans sustained heavy casualties and outpouring of pain and sorrow not only by external forces but also by themselves. A large number of people, including women and children, were killed in civil unrest by those who fought against the Soviet Union. Both the invasion of the Soviet Union and civil conflict played highly destructive role in Afghanistan. The two war inflicted innumerable fatalities on Afghans.
The emergence of the Taliban group as a result of the civil unrest compounded the challenges and suffering of Afghan people. The Taliban who appeared under the guise of religion added to the fatalities of people. The Taliban’s act of violence and their harm to the country was another dark spot in the national history. During the end of their regime, the Taliban also colored their war with the brush of ethnicity and sect. They killed a large number of people on the grounds of their sect and race.
Afghanistan has undergone conflict and civil unrest in the wake of ethnocentric mindset and racial and religious superiority throughout the history. Racial and religious segregation played a highly destructive role in Afghanistan’s history. People have been discriminated and killed on the grounds of their race, color and creed. That is to say, racial discrimination and sectarian violence did not only hurt people emotionally and physically but also put peaceful coexistence at stake. The rights and freedoms of Afghan men and women were trampled upon simply for belonging to a particular ethnic or sectarian group.
The ongoing conflict is believed to stem from ethnocentric mindset and racial and sectarian superiority.
If racial and religious/sectarian discrimination continues and people treat each other on the grounds of their caste, color, and creed, peaceful coexistence is unlikely to emerge in Afghanistan.
In Afghanistan, to one’s unmitigated chagrin, contempt for human rights is still exercised by individuals, who hold or once held high political positions in the government machinery. Despite wearing tie, those political figures practice strong traditional and conservative mindset, which is appalling to the public.
Racial and religious rhetoric generates hot topics on social media once in a while. Those who outrage public conscience by ethnocentric words are strongly condemned.
Afghans have to learn the “art of living together” through practicing tolerance and promoting the spirit of brotherhood. All people are born free and equal and should not be discriminated on the basis of their racial or religious grounds. As far as people are discriminated simply for the color of their skin, peaceful coexistence and the spirit of brotherhood will remain elusive.
Afghanistan is a multi-ethnic community, where all are supposed to be able to exercise their rights and liberties regardless of their race and color. Forming “a civil society void of oppression, atrocity, discrimination as well as violence, based on rule of law, social justice, protecting integrity and human rights, and attaining peoples’ freedoms and fundamental rights,” as stated in the preamble of Afghanistan’s Constitution, needs accepting people the way they are and exercising religious tolerance.
Overall, the withdrawal of Soviet Union forces did not mark the end of conflict but the start of civil unrest. It is feared that with the withdrawal of US forces, the history will be repeated. Indeed, if Afghan politicians do not act wisely, the repetition of the history is much likely. Considering the abovementioned facts, Afghan political and jihadi leaders have to bury their differences, practice upon the spirit of brotherhood, and try to unite the entire nation.