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Mainstream, VOL LVII No 39, New Delhi, September 14, 2019

US, Taliban, l’affaire Chinmayanand

Sunday 15 September 2019, by SC

EDITORIAL

Eighteen years have passed since 9/11—the attack on New York’s twin towers by the Taliban of Afghanistan just to demonstrate their power against the world’s most powerful country, the USA. And now 18 years since that fateful day The Times of India published a brilliant editorial page article yesterday pointing to an irony: “America stands ready to restore to power the very forces that gave rise to 9/11”.

The article by the Washington correspondent of the TOI highlights the importance of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the legendary Afghan leader who was instrumental in the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan and was popularly known as the ‘Lion of Panjsher’. Incidentally September 9, 2001 (that is, two days before 9/11) Ahmad Shah Massoud was tragically killed by deceit by two Moroccan suicide bombers in his Panjsher hideout. Those bombers, masquerading as journalists, had sought and interview with Massoud. When the interview was in progressed the bombers set of a bomb pack into the camera and in a battery-pack belt. Massoud was killed as a consequence. But there was another person in the room—a friend of Massoud; he was the Afghan envoy to New Delhi. His was a providential escape due to Massoud—he had his passports in his coat pocket. He wanted to remove them but was dissuaded from doing so by Massoud himself and that is what saved him from the impact of the bomb blast: yet another manifestation of Massoud’s talent and intelligence. This is what his friend, Khaleeli, the Afghan envoy, himself told us subsequently in an informal get-together at the Afghan embassy in this city. Massoud was removed from the scene under Osama bin Laden’s orders but the most delighted by his death were Pakistan and its intelligence agency, the ISI.

Massoud was indeed a magnetic personality. There was yet another such figure, Dr Najibullah, head of the Afghan Government in Kabul before the Taliban takeover. Asked as to who would be acceptable to the coalition government proposed by him, he told us, journalists including this writer, that we “do not like to involve only those who have close politico-ideological links with us” but all those “who agree to put an immediate end to fratricidal war and not permit in the future to make use of armed forces for solution of internal issues”. The Taliban, which entered Kabul, killed him brutally, like Massoud, while he was in the UN premises there.

The operative part of this sharp write-up is in the following words:
Eighteen years after that fateful day for Afghanistan and the region, Taliban is on the cusp of making a comeback... Washington... is poised to effectively restore to power in Kabul the very forces that engendered the biggest terror attack on American soil. In its march of folly, the United States is yet again ready to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Meanwhile l’affaire Chinmayanand exposes yet another BJP leader indulging in rape and sexual assaults on young girls after Kuldeep Singh Sengar, close on the heels of the latter’s rape and murder case. Last Monday (September 9) the victim, the law student from the SS Law College in UP’s Shahjahanpur district, came out with more serious allegations than kidnapping and criminal intimidation. The suggestion is that there should be a court-monitored investigation to ensure that the powerful Chinmayanand, running several ashrams asd colleges in the State, does not wriggle out through legal loopholes especially when the victim has observed that “there are many girls whose lives have been destroyed” by the accused. Simultaneously an independent police is imperative to implement stringent anti-rape laws.

September 12 S.C.

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