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Mainstream, VOL LIX No 42, New Delhi, October 2, 2021

Why Modi did not mention Afghanistan/Taliban in his UN address? | Faraz Ahmad

Friday 1 October 2021, by Faraz Ahmad

September 27, 2021

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the United Nations General Assembly on September 25 was too restrained and cautious about the singular issue concerning India’s security– the foisting of Talibani regime forcibly by Pakistani Mullah-military establishment upon the hapless peace-loving people of Afghanistan. He seemed content with joining QUAD group which the Americans have devised merely to confront China in the South China sea.

In his 21-minute brief speech, delivered to virtually an empty house and vacant benches the Prime Minister did not utter the word Taliban or Afghanistan even once as per the English translation of his speech put out on its site by the Ministry of External Affairs. He made a general mention in the prepared Hindi text of the inadequacy and inability of the United Nations to act as an able peace maker to prevent war, strife and terror spreading all over today’s world.

Even in the government version as reported by some sections of the media, the Prime Minster touched very lightly on Afghanistan and Taliban, and underlined that the world is facing an “increased threat of regressive thinking and extremism,” adding that the comity of nations has to ensure that no country takes advantage of the “delicate situation” in Afghanistan. He is reported to have said that the recent Afghan crisis has raised further questions on the relevance of the United Nations as an effective arbitration body. But the more reliable MEA version does not mention the word Afghanistan or Taliban or Haqqani, anywhere in the text.

The Prime Minister seemed satisfied with the earlier Quad joint statement: “In South Asia we will closely coordinate our diplomatic, economic and human rights policies towards Afghanistan and will deepen our counter-terrorism and humanitarian cooperation…we denounce the use of terrorist proxies and military support to terrorist groups which could be used to launch or plan terrorist attacks, including cross-border attacks.”

So much for combating terror! What security can be guaranteed with two top functionaries of this Talibani-Haqqani proxy regime of Pakistan, having served 14 years in the US’ Guantanamo Bay detention camp for their terrorist activity? Mullah Fazel and Abdul Haq Wasiq, are now in charge of intelligence and security to Talibani mullahs in the new setup. How much they care for world reaction is evident from the fact that they have begun their medieval barbaric terror. Under orders of Herat governor Mawlawi Shir Ahmad Mujahir, four persons were publicly hanged for the people at large to come and witness it presumably for some act which the mullah governor pronounced as crime. It was not clear what crime the poor fellows committed, maybe none, except perhaps rubbing the mullah the wrong way.

In fact, earlier this month while addressing the countries of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting held at Dushanbe in Tajikistan through a video conference, Prime Minister Modi was more forthright and outspoken when he had called upon the international community to take a decision on the critical question of the “recognition” of Taliban regime in a “thoughtful and collective manner.” Though even here he avoided naming Taliban, he did warn the world community that were this trend of approving the principle of might is right to prevail, it would lead to the rise and spread of terrorist and extremist ideologies all over the world.

Addressing the SCO in the presence of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, he said, “The first issue is that the change of power in Afghanistan is not inclusive, and has taken place without negotiation. This raises questions about the acceptability of the new system,” he said, adding, “representation of all sections of Afghan society, including women and minorities, is also important,” and stressed that “India supports the central role of the UN on this issue.

“Secondly, if instability and fundamentalism continue in Afghanistan, it will lead to terrorist and extremist ideologies all over the world. Other extremists may also be encouraged to seek power through violence…So together we must ensure that the soil of Afghanistan is not used to spread terrorism in any country…Third, developments in Afghanistan could lead to an uncontrolled flow of drugs, illegal weapons and human trafficking. A large amount of advanced weapons remain in Afghanistan. Due to these, there will be a risk of instability in the entire region,” the Prime Minister surmised at the SCO meeting.

His clear and unambiguous criticism of the Taliban’s forcible and violent occupation of Afghanistan in the SCO meeting, sent alarm bells among the open and surreptitious supporters of this regime. The US created this Frankenstein and unable to tame it down in 20 years because of cohabiting Pakistan which was providing them safe haven, it has let lose those menacing bearded monsters calling themselves Mullah this and Mullah that on the poor Afghans. We were educated by the Sufi saints Bulle Shah, Baba Sheikh Farid and Sant Kabir that Mullah’s place is in the mosque and his jurisdiction does not extend beyond the masjid. The Talibani mullahs have proved that you allow the mullah an inch and he will take the whole country. And I insist that these mullahs wouldn’t have crossed the Pakistani border, where they were fattened all these years, but for the active moral and logistical support of Pakistani Mullah-Army establishment, with current Prime Minister Imran Khan a mere puppet in their hands.

No sooner Modi addressed the SCO conference, Saudi Foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan al Saud came rushing to New Delhi to “persuade” India to go soft on Taliban and allow them to consolidate their hold on Kabul. Unlike in the past when it openly encouraged and supported the mullah Taliban regime, this time round the Saudis are more subtle and full of innuendoes. But look deeper and Saudi Arabia too is simply seeking consolidation of the Talibani regime with international recognition, but not a word on why occupation of a territory by violence and terror be provided legitimacy? And therefore, who will stand guarantee that these mullahs will honour the rights of women, ethnic minorities and in effect all citizens of Afghanistan? Who will restrain them from exporting terror in the name of Islam? Saud had “stressed the Kingdom’s support for the Afghan people and the future choices they make for their country without any external interference,” as put out by Saudi Foreign ministry. What did it imply? That let them fight and settle the issue by the simple might is right principle and no one, India included, should raise a finger at them. Prince Faisal visited Islamabad before coming to New Delhi.

Meanwhile their other backers Qatar and Pakistan have issued a veiled threat to the comity of nations, in particular to sceptics like India not to isolate the Talibani regime, lest they become furious and unmanageable. Pakistani Foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi counselled the world leaders at the UN to be “Realistic, engage and above all don’t isolate them (Taliban), “Try an innovative way of engaging with them.” That’s like telling the world not to rebuke or punish an abrasive, recalcitrant teenager who considers everything he has snatched forcibly from his young cousins as his. The Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani went one step further and stressed upon world leaders at the UN general assembly “the necessity of continuing dialogue with Taliban because boycott only leads to polarisation and reactions” urging the world leaders not to repeat the past mistakes in Afghanistan “to impose a political system from outside.” What was the Sheikh seeking that the world should quietly and meekly give in to the Talibani excesses currently being enforced in Afghanistan today, abandoning any pretence of democracy, as a system devised by the people of Afghanistan? But who decides that and how did the Qatar Emir come to this conclusion? Also, what is his locus standii, unless he has the tacit support of Joe Biden to soften the world to the new Talibani patriarchal, authoritarian order in Afghanistan?

Encouraged by such strong support the Taliban Foreign minister Amir Khan Mutaqqi in a letter to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres pressed upon the United Nations to recognise them as the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan, while Mullah Nooruddin Turabi of Taliban who enforced the public beheading and chopping of hands in the previous Talibani incarnation, reiterated to the AP correspondent Kathy Gannon that he would resort to the executions and chopping off of hands once again. “Everyone criticised us for the punishments in the stadium, but we have never said anything about their laws and their punishments…No one will tell us what our laws should be.”

This is the Talibani usurpers’ swagger seeking recognition and acceptance by the comity of nations by sheer use of force and violence! For them India is an enemy territory. Who will stop them from exporting terror to India? None. The world has to put an end to it and it cannot do it but with force and by isolating Pakistan first. For once a slightly sober, saner voice emerged from US Vice President Kamala Harris. But that is insufficient and got drowned in the cacophony? Was it not imperative for our Prime Minister to forcefully present our apprehensions about Taliban to the UN General Assembly? More so when back here in India his BJP party, his Government at the Centre and in numerous states, with the active connivance of his embedded TV channels and other media are spreading the fear of Taliban every day, projecting the entire Indian Muslim community as Taliban?

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