Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, January 18th, 2021

Peace and the Taliban Endless Conflict


Peace and the Taliban Endless Conflict

Peace is the process by which war ends, direct violence, and in some cases, structural violence vanishes. In simple terms, but a broader sense, peace brings stability, and balance of power in a society. Will peace with the Taliban end the group’s conflict and bring prosperity to the war-ravaged country?
Given the structure and context of the Taliban, the group’s military, political and religious activities, and the roots of the conflict they have formed in Afghan society, their dispute will not end any soon. The Taliban have created levels and dimensions of conflict in Afghanistan that have the potential to provoke further fight. Therefore, before making peace with the Taliban, the roots and aspects of the conflict must be carefully explored. With an analytical approach, the present article examines the main discourse and floating signs of the Taliban conflict that could push Afghanistan to the brink of civil war and disintegration.
Approaches and roots of the Talibanic Conflict:
The Taliban’s conflict can be divided into five approaches: the intra-personal conflict, the interpersonal conflict, the group conflict, the intergroup and national conflict approaches according to roots that have the potential for conflict, such as psychosocial roots, Talibanic values, discrimination, religion, human needs, identity, power, and injustice.
Approach One: Talib’s Intra-personal Conflict:
What we mean by the Talib’s intra-personal approach to the conflict is that the Taliban, with a peace agreement, is on two fronts, that is to say, the heart and mind decision-making front. At heart, the Taliban are in favor of military conquest, taking spoils from the Afghan people, and dozens of other hardcore decisions that cannot be reached peacefully, and be mentally accepted by the provisions of the peace agreement. This means that the Taliban fought all these long years to overcome and fulfill their most wanted desires, which are   not confined to the terms of the agreement by the group’s ideologues. So, the conflict continues within the person seeking it.
Approach Two: Conflict with other People:
We mean the Taliban’s conflict with other people is the same as an interpersonal conflict. The fighter, who is currently fighting a war of attrition against the Afghan government on the front lines is the son of a Talib who was killed during the Afghan war between 1996 and 2001 in the northern parts of Afghanistan. Today, the son of that very Talib enters into a peace agreement with the world with a torrents of grievances, holding a reef knot at heart that has still the potential to re-spark a conflict at any time.
Approach Three: Taliban Intra-group Conflict:
Intra-group conflict, means that the Taliban will suppress their splinter groups if they sign a peace agreement with anyone. Mullah Abdul Manan Niazi and Mullah Rasool were heads of splinter groups that in some cases disagreed with the Taliban. Even on the issue of peace, they still had their own views and there are other groups that need to be suppressed by the Taliban, and such self-repressions can perpetuate the conflict.
Approach Four: Taliban Inter-group Conflict:
The Taliban have experienced a period of repression by other ethnic groups in the country, and this experience has almost led them to the brink of destruction. Ergo, with the return of the Taliban to the pyramid of power, it is unreasonable to assume that the Taliban will forgive the groups that have made piles from their dead bodies. We believe that in such a situation, the Taliban have three options for suppressing rival groups as under:
A) Soft option: Capturing the leaders of groups that had suppressed the Taliban. This captivity can be in life, financial or slave tools forms.
B) Hard option: The Taliban will mysteriously assassinate the leaders of the former groups involved in their crackdown after coming to power and consolidating their position throughout Afghanistan.
C) Harder option: If these two options do not work for them, the Taliban will enter into a group war with their former repressor rival groups. This means that the conflict will continue.
Approach Five: National Conflict Approach:
After gaining power, the Taliban may be used as mercenaries by the great powers for civil wars and attacks on neighboring countries under various pretexts. Americans understanding with the Taliban is that they are fighting al-Qaeda and ISIS together. ISIS and al-Qaeda could exist in Iran and the Uighurs of China.
Roots of Talibanic Conflict:
The roots of the Talibanic conflict include Talibanic behaviors and actions, understanding of self and others, type of Talibanic culture, type of attitude, discrimination and prejudice, type of religious and value view of religious and political phenomena, ethnicity and specific identity as follows:
A) Talibanic Behaviors and Actions: We mean the misconduct that the Taliban may commit under owning the yoke of power in society. Like the Taliban parades in Kabul and other provinces that will crush the nerves of opposition groups, or establishing offices such as Amr Bal Ma ‘roof wa Nahi Anil Monkar (promotion of virtue and prevention of vice), etc.
B) The Taliban’s Understanding of Self and Others: The Taliban consider themselves a religious group, law enforcers, prophets who must reform others. According to the Taliban, those who shave their beards, study, live in Kabul, and wear fashionable and western attire, are infidels, or imitate infidels, should be corrected. It is a perception of their self and others that perpetuate the conflict in Afghanistan.
C) Taliban View vis-à-vis Phenomena: First, attitudes are formed according to understanding and perception of phenomena. If our understanding and perception of a phenomenon is good, our attitude towards it will be good and positive, and if our understanding and perception are bad, it is natural that our attitude will be bad thereof. For instance, the Taliban have a negative attitude towards the majority of modernity phenomena. From the democratic political system to the way the urban people behave, the way they dress, study and broadcast on televisions, these are things that are not in line with Talibanic attitude and never be.
D) Discrimination and Prejudice:
Discrimination refers to a situation in which individuals enjoy unequal social benefits in the face of equal roles, and prejudice is an overview of individuals and groups without sufficient knowledge, experience, and reason. The Taliban have demonstrated in the past that they discriminate against themselves and others. The Taliban committed both religious and ethnic discrimination against the Shiites and other ethnic groups such as the Tajiks and the Hazaras, while being once more pious than the Prophet by sizing the people’s beards, and prejudiced the Muslims.
E) Identity and Ethnicity:
During their Islamic Emirate, between 1996 and 2001, the Taliban showed that Pashtun identity and ethnicity were at the center of their decision-making circle and were openly at war with others. Lack of attention to the balance of power and wealth among the ethnic groups living in the country have catalyzed the conflict continuation.
F) Ignoring Justice: Like the past, if the Taliban oppress and apply the scorch-earth policy, kill the people, burn the lands like Shamali (north of Kabul), and tyrannize people under the pretext of religion and ethnicity, the conflict will spread and perpetuate evermore.
The Taliban may sign a peace agreement, but their conflict will not end. The Taliban are at enmity with themselves, with others, and the opposition groups of yesterday. As long as the roots of Talibanic behavior and action, understanding and thinking about self and others, attitudes commensurate with their own understanding of religious and political phenomena, discrimination and prejudice against others, injustice and an ethnic view of politics and government do not dry up, the conflict will continue and peace will be a cheap and nasty cover for a historic criminal group.

*Ramish Noori is a university lecturer, political analyst, and social activist. He has a Master’s Degree in international relations from the Khatem-un-Nabien University in Afghanistan. He has served in many social and political capacities such as vice chancellor at a private university in Kabul for three years and taught political science at different universities for six years. He has written many articles for print and electronic media in Afghanistan and has two books ready to go to press.

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