Why is the Taliban threat have to be taken seriously? Lessons from 9/11


Why is the Taliban threat have to be taken seriously? Lessons from 9/11

As the world remembered 9/11 and especially the United States where all former Presidents came to mourn the event we the Indians also need to take important lessons. First and foremost is one should not forget important historic events for, they teach us far more valuable lessons than anything else. 
So let us review things briefly. 
There is a raging debate going on social media mainly twitter where our great citizens are debating on how should the Indian government conduct behavior and business with the Taliban and the new government in Afghanistan. Many argue that India should talk to them and try to do business as usual while others warn that the Taliban are not trustworthy and therefore the government must be wary of any talks and business with them 
Before we list some of the articles written in both favor and against these two sides, let us also put our own two cents. We think that on the surface the government has to do business/talk with the Taliban-led government but must not provide any kind of immediate legitimacy to the government. Second India is commanding a very important position at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC)  as chairman until 2022 which can be very well leveraged to deal with the Taliban. 
Finally, the government must be ready for all eventualities even if it’s walking and talking with the Taliban. What we mean to say is that the Taliban are hard-core war-fed criminals meant to die for their mission. There is no scope for leniency or too much diplomacy in their approach in the short or long term. They may change their attitude/tactics/strategy tonight or tomorrow or the day after tomorrow in a matter of time. This will be the main theme of our post for today. However, before we write on the main theme let us finish first with what others are saying. 
The secular and rational Indians opinion:
The first piece that we are using for a pro-Taliban talk is from Bhadrakumar who has written the opinion piece in the Indian Express [1] with very strong rational and logic. To counter this we have an opinion piece from former foreign secretary Shyam Sareen for the Print [2]. There is another strong piece from LG VSM Panag (retd) [3]. Finally, there is the article by Sheshdri Chari which is blunt and reminds us of 9/11 [4] . Noted foreign policy expert C Raja Mohan takes us to some historic background and talks about Masterly inactivity in his opinion piece in the Indian Express [5]. IN another piece he sounds optimistic and suggests patience in dealing with the Taliban and Afghan situation [6] .
We would also like to recommend reading an excellent paper by Carnegie India head in June 2020 before the present situation that will provide a good understanding of the subject, the Trump administration talks with Taliban and India’s options than [7] .
There is one another article that has to be read in the context of Suhasini Haider who surprisingly lists all the options available to India but stops suggesting which one India should follow [8]. Sharad Sabarwal former ambassador to Pakistan suggests a wait and watch strategy wrt Taliban and advising tpo watch the actions on the ground [9] .
OUR Take: We are of the opinion as suggested above that while we must engage the Taliban through talks we cannot afford to lower the guards at any moment of time. This is also suggested by LG VSM Panag in his article. However, our opinion is based on the history of the Taliban, Al Qaida, and ISIS which all have something in common which is their commitment towards extreme Islam, Sharia, and all that. After the United States captured and killed Osama Bin Laden, they seized thousands of documents that are now being unclassified. These documents convey the hard doctrine and philosophy of Osama Bin Laden and the people who follow him. They see the world in terms of Islam and had prepared the attack on America with the same in mind. Taliban, Al Qaida and ISIS plus Pakistan, and some other countries all are driven by the same agenda with certain outer changes here and there but the prime objective remains the same which is to dislodge the earth of all ‘Kafirs’ and host an Islamic world. We end by quoting an excerpt [10-] from one of the articles by Nelly Lahoud who has studied the declassified  Bin Laden documents in detail along with his two researchers that should give a clear understanding of the game ahead. And here we quote, ” On September 11, 2001, al Qaeda carried out the deadliest foreign terrorist attack the United States had ever experienced. To Osama bin Laden and the other men who planned it, however, the assault was no mere act of terrorism. To them, it represented something far grander: the opening salvo of a campaign of revolutionary violence that would usher in a new historical era. Although bin Laden was inspired by religion, his aims were geopolitical. Al Qaeda’s mission was to undermine the contemporary world order of nation-states and re-create the historical umma, the worldwide community of Muslims that was once held together by a common political authority. Bin Laden believed that he could achieve that goal by delivering what he described as a “decisive blow” that would force the United States to withdraw its military forces from Muslim-majority states, thus allowing jihadis to fight autocratic regimes in those places on a level playing field. 
The war has just started. We can win it if we are prepared for any eventuality with proper planning, vision, and actions. However, if we are complacent believing that nothing will happen then the cost will be too high for anyone to even think of. 
The only way to deal with the situation is to be and remain prepared for the worst scenarios. The country’s security set up must call top GAME THEORY EXPERTS now and create all such scenarios ( no matter how absurd and theoretical that may sound, if 9/11 can happen anything can happen) and look for responses on all these scenarios that lead us to fast and efficient victories without losing time, man and other resources. We are still a poor country with not many technological developments and the general mindset of the citizens is still weak. 

[1] https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/indias-interests-wont-be-served-by-demonising-taliban-7499797/
[2] https://theprint.in/opinion/pakistan-china-are-preparing-for-taliban-govt-they-dont-trust-so-should-india/729631/?__sta=vhg.uosvpxkskq.kqllkqs%7CYHII&__stm_medium=email&__stm_source=smartech&utm_source=ThePrint&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=IMO&utm_content=11Sep2021
[3] https://theprint.in/opinion/if-plan-a-is-talking-to-taliban-india-must-start-plan-b-too-prepare-for-worst/730056/?__sta=vhg.uosvpxkskq.kqllkqs%7CYHII&__stm_medium=email&__stm_source=smartech&utm_source=ThePrint&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=IMO&utm_content=11Sep2021
[4] https://theprint.in/opinion/biden-just-listed-taliban-terror-threat-as-non-priority-thats-invitation-to-second-9-11/731032/?__sta=vhg.uosvpxkskq.kqllkqs%7CYHII&__stm_medium=email&__stm_source=smartech&utm_source=ThePrint&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=IMO&utm_content=11Sep2021
[5] https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/afghanistan-crisis-taliban-takeover-pakistans-moment-of-triumph-india-must-bet-on-patience-7467450/
[6] https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/taliban-has-taken-kabul-delhi-must-watch-not-pronounce-doom-7456999/
[7] https://carnegieendowment.org/files/Chaudhuri_Shende_-_Afghanistan.pdf
[8] https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/taliban-gains-complicate-indias-options/article35898057.ece
[9] https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/afghanistan-crisis-taliban-takeover-indian-govt-7469082/
[10] https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/afghanistan/2021-08-13/osama-bin-ladens-911-catastrophic-success
Dr. Asheesh Shah


Asheesh Shah
Author: Asheesh Shah

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